Josh Groban: The Collection
American singer-songwriter Josh Groban released his latest album in 2008, a 2 CD collection of some of his greatest hits, and favourite songs. It would be easy to describe ‘Josh Groban: A Collection’ in one word ‘AMAZING’, but that wouldn’t do this Grammy nominated talent justice. The album was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, with South African singer Vusi Mahlasela, and the Soweto Gospel Choir guest starring on the track ‘Weeping’. The excellent song writing easily conveys the story behind the songs, and those songs performed in the beautiful Italian language just add to the magic. Josh is commonly described as a Tenor, and his voice ripples with power and emotion, whether he is singing a ballad, or something with more of a beat. This enables him to cross the classical/pop barrier. But enough with the summarising, here is my pick from an album full of standout tracks.
• ‘Remember When It Rained’: This is a melancholy, reflective track that Josh co-wrote. It begins with a swirling string section, continuing into a soft vocal/piano combination. The title implores you to ‘Remember When it Rained’, and with lyrics such as ‘wash away the thoughts inside’ and ‘tears of hope run down my skin’ it’s not hard to get caught up in the emotion of the song.
• ‘Weeping’: Previously unreleased this song makes its first appearance in Josh’s greatest hits collection. This is the song featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir and Vusi Mahlasela. The music features traditional African drum sounds, vocal chants, and has all the makings of an anthem. It would also be right at home on a movie soundtrack. Overall a very pleasant pop song with a melody that’s easy to listen to.
• ‘Oceano’: Rain, Water, and melancholy tears seem to be regular subject matter for Josh Groban, but to his credit no two songs sound the same. The first track of the album has a somewhat haunting mood, which rises and falls like the sea. Josh’s voice responds well to this, as if he is himself picturing a sometimes quiet, sometimes stormy sea. There are also several interludes of ocean sounds adding to the overall effect.
• ‘You Raise Me Up’: Perhaps one of the worlds most popular cover versions, it has been a hit in America, the U.K, and Ireland. Josh Groban recorded the song in 2003, which hit number one in the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, and was nominated for a 2005 Grammy award. Facts and figures aside it is a truly beautiful arrangement of the song. As with many of his songs, Josh starts off with a soft vocal tone, which builds in power along with the music. As the song builds in power, backing vocals also provide an added wall of music in the chorus.
All in all this is a beautiful collection of songs in terms of voice, melody, production, and the beautiful string and piano arrangement. But this isn’t where the story ends. As a bonus Josh has also produced a bonus disc of seasonal songs, including Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, and Ave Maria. Josh tackles these classic songs with the same flawless vocal control exhibited throughout the whole album, creating a tone and atmosphere that wouldn’t be out of place at choral concerts in venues like Westminster Abbey.
I’ve not really listened to this style of music much in the past; more fool me! It’s certainly something I’ll be paying closer attention to in the future. Josh Groban is an outstanding artist in the classical-pop genre, and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future. Why not check him out for yourself at www.joshgroban.com