The genesis of Why Try To Change Me Now? goes back years earlier to the deaths of Nina Simone and Ray Charles. Trainor says in the liner notes that he knew it was time for him "to look at the words and the people who sing them."
He does just that on the album, teaming with five singers, including Jimmy Scott. Scott’s voice barely breaks a whisper at some points, but his words still pack a punch. Scott lends his unique vocals to three songs.
The other singers are Jon Lucien, Kelly Rodrigues, Lois Smith, and Jacque Major. Rodrigues delivers one of the nicest moments on the album with a touching performance of Randy Newman’s "When She Loved Me." A doll sings the song in "Toy Story II" after being forgotten by her owner. The song, however, works on so many other levels. It is one of three Newman compositions on the CD.
With the goal of exploring lyrics, Trainor was careful to pick a strong lineup of songs. In addition to songs by Newman, there are compositions by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Cy Coleman, and Jerome Kern.
The warm and graceful "Song For Island Girl" is the only instrumental on the 12-track album. Trainor’s piano leads the way, but then makes room for Steve Marcus on saxophone and Vince Fay on bass. Trainor, who ties the album together with his playing, wrote both this song and "She Goes Home."
The arrangements are all tasteful, allowing room for several nice instrumental solos but never deviating too far away from the idea of highlighting the lyrics and the singers.
There’s something for nearly everyone on the CD. There are new songs and old ones, vocals and an instrumental, collaborations and solos.