Josh Groban: Awake
By Chuck Taylor
Reprise certainly had its work cut out for it five years ago when it aimed to break a young pop-classical singer named Josh Groban. Sixteen million copies of two albums later, it would be simple enough for the 25-year-old to rest easy with more of the same. But on "Awake," Groban bounds forward via a handful of innovative collaborations with Dave Matthews, John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, Herbie Hancock, Imogen Heap and, most notably, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whom he met while touring in South Africa. There's still plenty here to soothe and seduce his sweeping fan base. "Don't Give Up (You Are Loved)," breathtaking Italian "Un Giorno Per Noi (Romeo Y Guilietta)" and melancholy "February Song" are destined to join his greatest hits, but this collection proves that the momentous talent is just finding his footing. Already No. 1 at amazon.com based on pre-orders a week before release, "Awake" is a retail and artistic titan.