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'Closer' is Josh Groban's 2nd studio album, following on from his self titled debut.
Closer follows on from the first album in general format and style but begins to have more of Groban in it, as he took a more active role in it's production, writing or co-writing a couple of songs. The most notable being 'Remember When It Rained', a song that steadily builds in intensity to a dramatic crescendo.
Other highlights of the album include the opener 'Oceano', which Josh used to open each night of his tour and is a very special song, particularly live.
This album also includes the well-known anthem 'You Raise Me Up'. A song that was brought to fame by Josh, gave him great success and has since been covered by many other artists, including Westlife and Michael Ball. However, it is my opinion that Josh's is the definitive version.
If you are after an intro to Josh, I'd check out his latest album 'Awake' first, then follow up with 'Closer' if you like what you hear. :)
The bonus making of DVD is good fun.
Magnificent! My beloved and I were out to dinner last night and the bartender had one of Josh Groban's CD playing. We were both so taken by his voice that we went immediately to the store after dinner to purchase the CD. Only one copy of Closer was available and it's mine now. His voice and passion transcends any need to translate the lyrics of these beautiful songs. Few artists have spoken to my soul in such a way. Josh Groban is a true mystic; his music is not simply the expression of human love - what I heard last night listening to this CD was my soul fall into the embrace of God in Mystical Marriage.
Josh Groban is definitely the most talented vocalist I have ever heard in my entire life. Although I'm not Italian, nor do I speak any language that Josh sings, I've come to love those songs even more than the english ones. People constantly ask me why I listen to Italian songs if I'm not even Italian..and ofcourse, the answer is clear, "BECAUSE JOSH GROBAN SINGS IT!"
I've come to ignore the language barrier since Josh's talent can easily overcome any such hinderance. Closer is especially amazing in the choice of powerful songs which really emanate Josh's voice. For a 22 year old, Josh is definitely way ahead of his generation.
Closer is the second album from Josh Groban released in 2004 after his debut self titled album from 2001. He has an almost classical style to his music and has worked along many of the big names such as Charlotte Church, The Corrs and Lara Fabian while also having a starring role in Ally McBeal which was a big starting point in his musical success.
I first heard of Josh through watching Ally McBeal (thank you so much for re-runs!) where he played a choir singer facing the daunting task of singing in front of his class mates at his Prom. The powerful voice just grabbed me but it wasnt until much later that I decided to see what I could find out about him. Closer was about to be released and it contained one track I couldnt wait to hear Broken Vow. The original of this track is by Lara Fabian who I am also a big fan of and their styles are very similar. Josh and Lara have sung together many times although this is Joshs solo version. There were several ads on TV when the album was released but by the time I saw them, I was already singing along to most of the tracks.
One of the best ways I can show you how much Josh made an impact on my musical tastes is the fact that he is the only male in my all-female CD collection. Really this is quite an honour and I have also recently bought his debut album so cant wait to get stuck into it!
As I mentioned at the start, the album is quite classical and will probably not meet many peoples tastes. Another crucial factor some may face in deciding whether or not to buy this is the language barrier there are 13 tracks on this album: 6 are in English, 5 are in Italian, one in Spanish and one track is in French. One of the huge downsides of the CD is the lack of lyrics in the booklet but they are readily available on the internet which does help the situation.
1. Oceano (Italian)
2. My Confession (English)
3. Mi Mancherai (Il postino) feat. Joshua Bell (Italian)
4. Si Volvieras a Mi (Spanish)
5. When You Say You Love Me (English)
6. Per Te (Italian)
7. All Improvviso Amore (Italian)
8. Broken Vow (English)
9. Caruso (Italian)
10. Remember When It Rained (English)
11. Hymne A LAmour (French)
12. You Raise Me Up (English)
13. Never Let Go feat. Deep Forest (English)
Personally I do not speak Italian/Spanish and still in the process of learning French so my listening of the album used to be confined to the English tracks and the one French track. With my knowledge of French and knowing Hymne à lAmour as previously being sung by Patricia Kaas and Johnny Halliday, I was able to pick up the weaknesses in some of the pronunciation of the French lyrics. Josh has put his own spin on the track so it is quite different and the lyrics slightly adapted at the end. Josh has a strong voice and the accent on the French track is succeeded by the accordion. There are several climaxes in the song leading to a satisfying final note.
With my lack of understanding in the Italian department, the six tracks took a back seat and only were really played if I was busy and didnt change the track. Even though I have absolutely no idea what is being said, each have their own charm and each are a delight to listen to even if it is just to hear the astounding instrumentals or Josh singing his heart out. If I were to choose my favourite, Id have to say All Improvviso Amore. The track begins with a soothing start building up to an action type climax before turning to Josh and again slowing in tempo. The chorus picks up the pace which keeps the track going. It may sound strange but at times it reminds me of the tracks from the Disney film Aladdin. Im not quite sure why. Oceano was probably the first track I tried to learn the lyrics of but failed miserably as I was only going by listening rather than visually looking at the lyrics. There is a steady pace and Joshs voice never falters leading to a remarkable chorus which is quite powerful as he grasps every note.
So onto the songs I know the best the English ones. The first single release, You Raise Me Up has been hugely popular and is even featured on Classic FM TV if you are lucky enough to see it. At first, this track was my favourite it had everything I looked for in a song: a powerful voice, a ballad type style and complementary instrumentals. I can certainly see why this was chosen to be released it will grab anyones attention. Josh is accompanied a prominent piano and by a choir on the track. I think it is all female but it just gives the track a little something extra that may not have been achieved with the instrumentals used.
Never Let Go is one I wasnt so keen on when I first heard it as it seemed to have a very long introduction before the song began I was getting impatient 44 seconds was a long time! I usually skipped the track but after hearing the whole thing, I was hooked the song stayed on repeat for what was probably hours. Back to Broken Vow which as I mentioned before was originally by Lara Fabian. When writing the review of Laras album Lara Fabian released in 2000, I compared both tracks only the find that I preferred Joshs version to Laras. They equally have very powerful singing voices but Josh just somehow managed to evoke more feeling than Lara did. The only real noticeable difference is the adaptation of the lyrics of his and her to suit the gender.
I tend to link Tracks 5 and 10 together when I think of the album. Both English tracks have very similar styles and tempos with compelling lyrics but they are never high on my list to be played first. Contrary to this, my favourite out of all 13 tracks has to be My Confession. How one man feels about the woman he loves but he actually manages to put these feelings into words. Like so many people, this love was taken for granted and after it is taken away, it is realised what has been lost. The lyrics are expressive and it is probably one that many would listen to thinking about someone they have loved and lost. I wouldnt say this track really fits a certain musical genre it isnt really classical and certainly not pop but something in the middle of the two.
After taking the album as a whole and understanding the lyrics to the tracks (only the English and French still no idea what the Italian/Spanish ones mean), it is very clear that the album has a strong implication of support a person has for another yet the irony that it all ended because love had blinded them from seeing how much love and giving had been given to them. All that is now left is the memory of what once was. Its powerful, not only vocally but also lyrically and to me Josh is one of the best male singers that I have heard for a long time. I am extremely happy that I decided to take the plunge and buy the album which has broadened my musical tastes a little more through hearing (and trying to learn) the Italian tracks but giving my collection a lot more classical style to it.
Id say a very well deserved 4.5 (0.5 stars taken off for no lyrics and me not being able to understand the Italian tracks). Ill just round it up to 5 stars :)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 My Confession
3 Mi Mancherai (Il Postino) feat Joshua Bell
4 Si Volvieras a Mi
5 When You Say You Love Me
6 Per Te
7 All Improvviso Amore
8 Broken Vow
10 Remember When It Rained
11 Hymme a LAmour
12 You Raise Me Up
13 Never Let Go feat Deep Forest