STYLE: MOR / Soft Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 105384-17865 LABEL: Reprise 093624964964 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2011-02-21 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Brendan O'Regan
The American crooner is, of course, one of the best selling acts in the States. Josh's latest is of the usual high standard. The voice is warm and elegant, the arrangements are superb and the production quality is virtually faultless, not surprisingly as Rick Rubin was at the helm for this album. But of course, the songs are where such an album will rise or fall. Most of the material here was written by Groban and collaborator Dan Wilson. The album starts with instrumental interlude "The Wandering Kind" and straight away it grabs the listener with its catchy melody and Groban's fine piano playing. The first song, "Bells Of New York City", is the one that is going around in my head constantly, and I'm not complaining. After this one starts you know this isn't an album for the casual listener - it commands attention in the most attractive of ways, especially if one is in a romantic mood. "Galileo (Someone Like You)" is a love song by Declan O'Rourke and it's fast becoming a standard - no doubt Groban's version will help in the process. Its spiritual imagery is just one of its assets - "I'll look up high/And thank the guy/Who puts the rainbow in the sky". It's not the only song with a spiritual flavour - "Bells Of New York City" speaks of singing "one song for joy and one for redemption", while "Higher Window" suggests "There is a light from a higher window/Shining down on us tonight". I'm not so sure however about Nick Cave's song "Straight To You" - "Heaven has denied us its kingdom/The Saints are drunk howling at the moon". However "London Hymn" with its classical chorus is certainly a blessing: "May the restless dead find sleep and may the light of our remembering guide them to an everlasting peace".
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Josh Groban, the internationally renowned recording artist who has sold 25 million records to date worldwide, now releases his latest album Illuminations.
Working alongside veteran producer Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers), this album was three years in the making. Josh wrote and recorded Illuminations in bursts around his busy schedule.
Stepping out of his usual creative zone, Josh has embraced Rubin’s vision of a ‘fine art’ Groban record, marrying the warmth of the sweeping American roots of Groban’s writing and the grandeur of classical settings by matching the live, one-take performances by Groban and the intimate, core acoustic band with colourful orchestral arrangements.