The Performance, Dame Shirley Bassey's first studio album of new songs in two decades, features eleven tracks each written by a different songwriter. This romp about a woman tired of fairy-tale romance was penned by Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. "It's a relief, with all the tepid voices we have these days, to not worry if the artist can handle it," Wainwright told The Daily Telegraph October 28, 2009. "With Shirley, you've got to think about finales, climaxes, strong opening lines: there's nothing subtle about the process."
Producer David Arnold agreed. "She loves the big note," he said. "My job was almost like trying to make the journey interesting."