Groban's CD pulls listener "Closer"
November 12, 2003
By Jon Hueber
When the new Josh Groban album, "Closer," found its way onto my desk, I didn't know what to think. The picture in the press-pack and on the album cover showed a young guy in a T-shirt with severe "bed head."
I popped the disc in, ready for another DMB rip-off or at least a pale John Mayer, and my prejudice quickly abated. What I got was 58 minutes of a voice that could in no way belong to the shaggy kid on the cover.
The music arrangements were actually orchestral arrangements. No guitar, drums or electric bass.
In addition to English, Groban sings in three different languages on the album (Spanish, Italian and French, coincidentally called "the romance languages"). His powerful voice injected emotion into every song, making you believe every word he was singing. Some of the tracks have a distinct Latin flair that adds to his flavor.
The album is chock full of songs you would expect to see on wedding-reception dance cards. Every song is about love, and not just love lost.
There is a distinct "Broadway" tone to his music. Every song is sweeping and it tells a story. In some songs, I could picture it being the big show-stopper at the end of an epic musical with dancers and a chorus backing him up.
The songs create vivid pictures in one's head and can easily transport someone to places like the great white way, or a desolate beach at dawn, or a cold rainy night in front of a fireplace.
Standout tracks are "My Confession," "Broken Vow," "Remember When it Rained" and "You Raise Me Up," which is destined to become a wedding mainstay for the father-daughter dance.
The world-music band Deep Forest plays on the last song on the album, "Never Let Go," a fitting song for Groban to sing.
After an hour of listening to him belt away his emotions, one is left remembering the songs, as a good storyteller can do with a good story.
It's hard to let it go.