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To be honest, this is not the sort of album I would normally go for and in fact it was my mother who purchased this after watching Joe McElderry on the reality TV show 'Popstar to Operastar'. I, like many others, knew of Geordie Joe after his X-Factor win but I had never really liked his style enough to buy any of his music. This second album is heavily influenced by Joe's time learning to sing like a classical opera singer for the ITV reality show and it generally moves away from the up-tempo pop style evinced in his first album 'Wide Awake'.
I normally do not listen to much opera music. I know a few classic songs and have a few classical albums in my collection but I'm no expert. I was unfamiliar with the song 'Canto Della Terra', the first track on this album before hearing Joe sing it. I was actually surprised by how much power and emotion Joe's voice has when undertaking a song that demands such a dramatic presentation. Joe has a sweet, soft voice but he pushes it to the limits here, expanding the parameters of his ability. The song is presented well and it actually sounds like a professional classical singer who has been doing this for a long time. I like the fact that you would not guess Joe's pop and X-factor background if you were just presented with this song without knowing who the singer was. He does a great job at handling the tricky but beautiful language too. It's a powerful opening to the album.
'She Was Beautiful' features Milos Karadalgic. I find this track exposes Joe's youthfulness somewhat as his voice sounds very young on the verses to the extent that I couldn't imagine him singing the dedication in this song to anyone else but his mother. It's a gentle song that will probably appeal to older listeners.
'Over The Rainbow' is sang in a sort of Reggae style that makes the song feel more contemporary and which suits Joe's sugary but sexy tones. It's easy to sing along to and enjoyable. It feels like a much happier and more mainstream version of the original song and I think it was a good choice of style. This isn't an original style though - I've heard it sung this way before (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole for example).
'I Dreamed A Dream' must be one of the most covered songs ever and here Joe gives us his version. I find his approach rather feminine and he reminds me of a tenor in a Handel opera. I'm very familiar with this song after loving the music of Les Miserable for many years and this for me lacks a little bit of expression in the delivery which means the emotions are not always evident. It feels like a noble delivery rather than an emotional one. It's as though Joe is trying to sing the song so well he has forgotten what the words actually mean. It's a fair attempt by someone who is not trained in muscial theatre but it has been sung much better, in my opinion.
'Time To Say Goodbye' is beautifully performed. When Joe performs in this second language he seems to have a looser, more expressive delivery. I really enjoy this one and his voice is in turns gentle and explosive.
'Il Mio Cuore Va (My Heart Will Go On)' is a version of Celine Dion's Titanic theme. I have to say that although I'm not a soppy kind of person every time I hear the Celine version of this I am moved to tears. Joe's version unfortunately feels very clinical and emotionless. The classical arrangement means there is little room for Joe to be truly expressive and this time he seems cautious about singing the Italian. When it comes to to the final chorus he sings it in English and it feels like he has just burst out of his restraints.
'Hear My Prayer (Nessun Dorma)' is probably better known for the Pavarotti version but Joe sings it in English and it refreshes the song and exposes the beautiful lyrics for those of us who had never known them before. I really like this version and I think the poetic terms and heavenly choir really suit Joe's artistic style. The end of the song is very dramatic and has a more modern feel to it which is excellent. It doesn't sound like a kid trying to sing big opera - it really suits Joe and he does this well.
'Solitaire' is a very emotional and meaningful track. Joe's voice translates empathy and respect and he sings this very well.
'Dance With My Father' - I remember Joe having an affinity for this track when he was on the X-Factor and I'm pleased he has included it on this album. His familiarity to this track and the original artist is clear here as his voice is very emotive and honest.
'Va Pensiero' - another song I was unfamilar with prior to hearing it on this album. This song feels quite lively and is involving with a choir helping Joe to deliver the goods.
'To Where You Are' is the classic Josh Groban song and it feels very different sung here by Joe. His voice does not have the toughness or force of Groban's and I would say that this is probably what makes the song special. Joe's soft, loving, boyish tones are perfect for this song and it feels very emotional. One of the most effective songs on the album.
Bonus Song: The original Italian version of 'Nessun Dorma' is included as a bonus. It's performed very well but I prefer the English version as I feel Joe connects with the lyrics more.
Overall this is a nice but typical easy listening album that is also rather surprising on many accounts. I would not have imagined that Joe McElderry could have taken on such big opera songs and made a success of them. I also like that many of the tracks were new to me or at least they felt new because Joe sang them in a different style. There are a couple of songs which don't work for me but overall it's a good album to relax to or to chill out to.
Album : Classic.
Who is Joe McElderry?
This is my first music review but I wanted to share my mixed feelings about this album with you.
This young man hails from the city of Newcastle in the North of England. Entering the X factor show he was competing against hundreds of other young hopefuls to win the X factor competition in 2009 with his clear crystal voice. Following his win he went on to produce one DVD album. This year he entered another show called from 'Pop star to Opera star' competing against some well known popular singers culminating in him also winning this competition too.
Following the win he went on to produce a DVD entitled Classic which is loosely made up of classical/easy listening songs.
Why did I buy this album?
Following reading a few reviews extolling his clear voice and angelic singing and the classical songs he sings I decided to buy this album mainly for use in the car. I have a very stressful job and at the end of my shifts I like to listen to music on the journey home to help me unwind. The drive home in itself can be very stressful with the traffic in London driving at a snail's pace. When I have finished work my shoulders are nearly reaching my ears with stress and tension so I find nice relaxing music helps me unwind so by time I reach home I am calm and relaxed.
He was coached by the International opera stars Katharine Jenkins and Ronaldo Villazon so with such brilliant performers I had great expectations for this album.
The album contains 12 songs including one bonus song? Why they call this a bonus song I do not know probably just a gimmick. The following tracks are on the album.
1. Canto DellaTerra. ( Italian)
On first hearing this song I could not distinguish whether it was sung in English or Italian. His voice sounds tinny and not very nice in fact I would go as far as saying it sounds like the actors or singers in a stage show with the awful tininess you get from their microphones. So for me I found this one a bit off putting to say the least. It is in fact sung in Italian. I would rate this song as 4/10.
2. She was beautiful. (English).
This song is quite sweet he manages to hit all the notes on cue however there is still this tininess sound which is annoying me now. I do not feel Joe really has the depth or strength of voice or maturity to really be an opera star at this stage in his life. At times he sounds as if he is being drowned out by the orchestra. Rating 5/10.
3. Over the rainbow. (English).
Now this song has a very upbeat tempo almost in reggae style. It is a well known song and his style is very good. I think that he excels in this song the score is very good indeed and it is quite a catchy tune and sounds quite nice. 8/10.
4. I dreamed a dream. (English).
Dreadful absolutely awful. I did not like his voice in this song at all. I guess after hearing Susan Boyles version of it, Joe's version just does not cut it. It is totally wrong it just sounds so wrong on many fronts. 2/10.
5. Time to say goodbye. (Con te Partiro) Italian/English
Joe sings this remarkably well it certainly is weak in some parts being drowned out by the musical accompaniment however the ending is phenomenal and he manages to hold his ending note with brilliance and clarity. 8/10.
6. My heart will go on. (IL mio Cuore Va). Italian.
Joe sings this in a fairly reasonable way although by this stage of the album I am quite disappointed and disheartened by it. It is sung in Italian but really is not clear enough as he is drowned out by the orchestra. It is an ok song and he performs quite well in places. 6/10.
7. Hear my prayer. An adaptation of Nessun Dorma. (English).
Although it is quite good I did not like that you could hardly hear lyrics to the song although he does an admirably by hitting the top notes with ease. I would have much preferred Nessun Dorma sung in Italian. 7/10.
8. Solitaire. (English).
Well what can I say it seems that the slightly modern songs seem to suit Joe far more than the more classical songs. He performs this very well indeed. 8/10.
9. Dance with my father. (English).
A good version of this song and Joe excels in singing this. His voice is quite still rather weak in this song but he sings it beautifully. More modern musical scores are definitely his forte. 9/10.
10. Va Pensiero. (Italian).
Sung in Italian it is a beautiful song and Joe does give it some justice but in a few years when he has developed more depth it would be great. This was also drowned out at times by the orchestra and the choir. 7/10.
11. To where you are. (English).
Unable to decipher the words they are not clear enough at all at times being drowned out by the orchestra which seems to be a recurring feature of the album. It would have been a much better song if it had been clearer. 6/10
12. Nessun Dorma. (Italian).
Sung in Italian quite well and with quite some strength and they call this the bonus song for some bizarre reason probably because this is the best song on the album. 9/10
I think Joe McElderry is a very talented young man and he does have a wonderful voice but despite the coaching by two of the leading opera singers of the day I feel he is not quite ready to have produced such an ambitious album of this genre. I feel that in a few years time when his voice has developed more with more strength and depth and some more coaching he could produce some excellent work. He is not quite there yet.
I have played this both in the car, on a Dvd player with music surround and through the PC and it is still the same Joe being drowned out by the orchestra. Although I have a good stereo system in the car it probably sounds the worst on it than indoors. I have jiggled about with it with the equalizer to try and make it sound better and more to my taste but it just doesn't get there.
Don't get me wrong it is an album of easy listening music but it is just the wrong time for him but I guess producing it off the back of the pop singer to Opera star which I guess is the main reason for producing this album in order to make a fast buck.
In most of the album he is drowned out by the City of Prague Philharmonic orchestra which incidentally is very good indeed. I bought this album from Sainsbury's for £7.99 which was reasonably priced but would go further to say I do not think it was one of my best purchases.
You can buy it from Amazon for £6.99.
Sorry Joe for panning it for you but come back when you are more mature and your voice is stronger and I think you will sound so much better. I think you should stick to what you are good at for the moment. But hey what do I know I am only an ordinary Joe! Only 3 stars from me for this album Joe.
Classic is the second and latest album from X Factor winner Joe McElderry. The CD was released in the United Kingdom in August 2011 and so is very recent. The album comes under the classical genre. The album is currently available to buy from Amazon for price of £6.99 which I think is good value for money.
~ * Track listing * ~
1)Canto Della Terra 2) She Was Beautiful 3) Over The Rainbow 4) I Dreamed A Dream 5) Time To Say Goodbye 6) Il Mio Cuore Va (My Heart Will Go On) 7) Hear My Prayer (Nessun Dorma) 8) Solitaire 9) Dance With My Father 10) Va Penisaro 11) To Where You Are 12) Nessun Dorma
I knew it!! I said all along after going on 'Pop star To Opera star' (to try and save his singing career) , Joe Mcelderry would be back with a classical album! How right I was!
When Joe was on the X Factor, I always thought that he didn't quite have the 'pop star' think and always said that he should be in musicals rather than in the charts. So if I am honest, I think that this is the direction he should have gone in in the first place. It's more 'him' rather than the pop star he was trying to be.
Whilst I wouldn't call classical music my favourite kind genre, I do quite like it when I listen to it. I quite like the songs 'I Dreamed A Dream', 'Nessun Dorma' and 'Time To Say Goodbye' - they are such great songs - so full of emotion.
However, whilst I do like these songs, it is a shame that the same classical songs get repeated over and over by different artists. I have already heard some of the songs by Katherine Jenkins and Jackie Evancho (as well as by numerous other classical artists) and whilst it does make a nice change to hear a male sing these songs, it does make me wonder aren't there any new classical songs out there - they all seem to be covers which is annoying. Although , I suppose it is a good job that I like these songs - even if I have heard them lots of times.
Joe sounds very good on this album; he has a really 'relaxing' voice which makes it a great CD to listen to. He has the kind of voice which you could listen to over and over again without getting bored of. He has a great classical voice and sounds much better than the 'squeaky' notes he was making on some of his songs from his last album, e.g. the song Ambitions.
It is nice to hear an album where the focus of the songs are on the actual voice and the real music (orchestras etc) and not artificial computer-ised music like a lot of songs in the charts right now.
All in all I would recommend this album if you are a fan of Joe.
Thanks for reading!
Xd-o-n-z-x / xdonzx
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Canto Della Terra
2 She Was Beautiful - Joe McElderry, Milos Karadaglic
3 Over The Rainbow
4 I Dreamed A Dream
5 Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)
6 Il Mio Cuore Va (My Heart Will Go On)
7 Hear My Prayer (Nessun Dorma)
9 Dance With My Father
10 Va Pensiero
11 To Where You Are
12 Nessun Dorma