Over Production Puts Some of `Closer´ Over the Top
The Plainview Daily Herald
November 20, 2003
Jason Johnson, Herald Music Reviewer
Artist: Josh Groban
Album: “Closer”
Genre: Classical vocalist
Release Date: Nov. 11, 2003

I must apologize. I had all intentions of writing a thorough, in-depth review of this album, but when my 9-month-old came down sick with the flu last week, it really limited the amount of time that I got to spend with this CD.

It´s a shame too because it´s a good CD on the surface, but I feel the more I listened to it, the more and more I´d find within the songs. I finally got a chance to listen to it a few times through so I´ll see what I can put together here.

By the way, before we get too far into this I want to address the fact that Josh Groban is considered a “Classical vocalist.”

Don´t let this term throw you off or make Josh seem too “high brow” for your listening tastes. Yes, I would say Josh fits this category, but more so I see him as a Classical crossover artist. There are Classical elements to his songs, but most of them really appeal to the mainstream audience.

Now, let´s continue on to the current release “Closer.” I found it to be decent, but didn´t have the impact of his previous CDs. The material on the previous albums was of higher caliber in my opinion and the production was a tad better.

A lot of these songs go from being dramatic to being completely over the top. Sometimes it´s to the point that the background almost seems to drown out Josh´s voice. Hey, there´s a reason why it´s called background or accompaniment.

On the other hand, I can´t stand it when artists have the music so low and quiet that the vocals overpower the song (Christian artists are notorious for this). I just wish David Foster, Josh´s producer, would´ve found some middle ground on some of these mixes.

This is why I really prefer Groban´s “In Concert” release from last year. There are no studio add-ons to taint the stage performance captured on that CD/DVD combo set. Speaking of “In Concert,” owners will recognize “Broken Vow” from that set that makes its return on “Closer.”

“Broken Vow” was one of my favorites from “In Concert” and was obviously a favorite of others as well since Josh decided to record a studio version.

The rest of the tracks on “Closer” fall somewhere in the middle. There are some great songs like “Oceano” and “Caruso” on here, but as mentioned before the production really keeps them from reaching that next level.

So, would I let the overproduction keep me from buying this CD? No. It´s more of a slight annoyance, not something that completely ruins the listening experience. It´s still a great release for Josh´s second effort and would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who appreciates great music.

The High Spots: Josh delivers 13 tracks of vocal genius.

The Low Spots: Unfortunately the production can be distracting at times.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Other Recommendations:
Josh Groban - “Josh Groban”
Josh Groban - “In Concert”