Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
File under Easy Listening
on 16 December 2003
I bought this album in high expectation having heard a track played by Michael Parkinson on his radio show, and you can usually rely on the man's taste. However, on this occasion, and having listened to the whole CD several times, I am left slightly disappointed.
Michael Buble can certainly sing, of that there is no doubt, and, yes, a youthful Frank Sinatra (from the mid 1940s, long before his classic period with Capitol Records) does immediately spring to mind. And you cannot fault the arrangements, of the big band numbers at least, because the original Billy May, Don Costa, Johnny Mandel workings have been used.
However, to my ears, the voice, and the instrumental performances of the songs chosen, are far too smooth and polished, so that, in places, it sounds dangerously close to boy-band or Pop Idol finalists covering the big band and other classics.
The first two tracks are fine; Van Morrison's "Moondance" lends itself well to a big band treatment, and he makes a brave stab at Peggy Lee's immortal "Fever", with some good light and shade in the vocal, although the trademark double bass line sounds too restrained and electric for comfort.
Things go downhill after that; for example, there is no alternative to George Michael's higher register on his "Kissing A Fool", and Buble sounds as if he's mumbling through most of it. The Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" sounds out of place in the company of the other songs; I do like them, but there is so much Barry Gibb on this track they might as well have stuck the original on.
The rest of the album comprises fairly faithful renditions of well known 50s ballads and big band numbers, with Freddie Mercury's pastiche of the period "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" thrown in as well.
It is all very pleasant, and I can safely play the album at the end of the day, or when folks come round and you just want something on as background. It would have been nice, however, to have heard a bit of edge or adventure to the interpretations; I note from the sleeve notes that the strings and brass/horn sections (apart from the odd solo) are programmed, rather than real, and the whole thing sounds like it.
Sorry to disagree with (most of) the reviews but it leaves me unstirred. It's easy but not outstanding.