Josh Groban: Josh Groban
Imagine making your acting debut on the finale of a popular television show, and then bringing the show to a stand still 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 to the stage. He was only 17 when asked to fill in for famous opera singer Andrea Bocelli on the 1999 Grammy Awards rehearsals, and has since released this self-titled CD.
Groban's operatic baritone will bring a new flavor to your CD collection, and although you may be skeptical (I know what you're thinking - Opera?!) this classical-pop CD isn't what you imagine.
When you look 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 and emotion defy the language barrier. "Alla Luce Del Sole" (The Light of the Sun) is a wonderful introduction to his voice. The powerful crescendo in the chorus shows his power and control, and his strength builds to the end.
"You're Still You" is the third track and is a wonderful, heartfelt song with a "pop" feel. Groban's voice soars with a passionately powerful tone amazing for such a young singer. He sings with so much emotion it makes him seem wise beyond his 21 years. This is an earnest and romantic song.
"Canto Alla Vita" ("Song to Life") is the first of three duets on the CD; here, Josh collaborates with the popular Irish group The Corrs. This song is upbeat, and Josh's voice blends perfectly with 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 is superb.
"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, as if we're seeing into his soul. It is unfortunate that, again, synthesized music takes away from his voice.
Josh's version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" has been described as a "neo prog-rock-opera" take on Bach's original. Josh collaborates with Lili Haydn, who not only sings but also plays the violin on this classic. Josh makes this song seem bigger and bolder than its original (and still precious) musical framework. The electric guitar gives an interesting contrast to the classic violin.
The only song I was disappointed with was "The Prayer," where Josh collaborates with Charlotte Church. Their voices do not blend well and the song leaves something to be desired. Church's voice sounds thin and weak next to Josh's deep vibrato. The lyrics, however, are beautiful, and Josh is as impressive as ever. The alternating between Italian and English is very appealing.
Every one of the 13 tracks offers material that is challenging and beautifully displays Josh's mature, warm voice. If I were to describe this CD in one word, it would be breathtaking.