Imagine making your acting debut onthe finale of a popular television show, and then bringing the show to a standstill with your amazingly rich singing voice. Sound like a fairy tale? Well,that’s exactly what the talented Josh Groban did with the heart-wrenching”You’re Still You” on the final episode of “Ally McBeal.”Although this was one of his first national appearances, he was no stranger tothe stage. He was only 17 when asked to fill in for famous opera singer AndreaBocelli on the 1999 Grammy Awards rehearsals, and has since released thisself-titled CD.
Groban’s operatic baritone will bring a new flavor toyour CD collection, and although you may be skeptical (I know what you’rethinking – Opera?!) this classical-pop CD isn’t what you imagine.
When youlook at the jacket, don’t be intimidated by the Italian name of the first song.Although you may not speak Italian, you will find that Josh’s strong voice andemotion defy the language barrier.
“Alla Luce Del Sole” (The Light ofthe Sun) is a wonderful introduction to his voice. The powerful crescendo in thechorus shows his power and control, and his strength builds to theend.
“You’re Still You” is the third track and is a wonderful,heartfelt song with a “pop” feel. Groban’s voice soars with apassionately powerful tone amazing for such a young singer. He sings with so muchemotion it makes him seem wise beyond his 21 years. This is an earnest andromantic song.
“Canto Alla Vita” (“Song to Life”) isthe first of three duets on the CD; here, Josh collaborates with the popularIrish group The Corrs. This song is upbeat, and Josh’s voice blends perfectlywith The Corrs’ lead singer. The background synthesized rhythms can, at times,detract from the vocals, which is a shame, but apart from that, the duet issuperb.
“Let Me Fall” is from a Cirque de Soleil trapeze act.Josh brings the right touch of grief to the song and sings with pure emotion, asif we’re seeing into his soul. It is unfortunate that, again, synthesized musictakes away from his voice.
Josh’s version of “Jesu, Joy of Man’sDesiring” has been described as a “neo prog-rock-opera” take onBach’s original. Josh collaborates with Lili Haydn, who not only sings but alsoplays the violin on this classic. Josh makes this song seem bigger and bolderthan its original (and still precious) musical framework. The electric guitargives an interesting contrast to the classic violin.
The only song I wasdisappointed with was “The Prayer,” where Josh collaborates withCharlotte Church. Their voices do not blend well and the song leaves something tobe desired. Church’s voice sounds thin and weak next to Josh’s deep vibrato. Thelyrics, however, are beautiful, and Josh is as impressive as ever. Thealternating between Italian and English is very appealing.
Every one ofthe 13 tracks offers material that is challenging and beautifully displays Josh’smature, warm voice. If I were to describe this CD in one word, it would bebreathtaking.