Josh Groban

Josh Groban

If you are familiar with music with a young, male operatic voice, then you are probably thinking of Josh Groban.

He is a well-known classical singer who specializes in classical, rock, and pop music. He has had two albums rank #1, four singles rank #1, and sold 23 million copies around the world.

Instrumentation

Although the album overall fits within the genre of classical, there are some songs that are different than others based on the instrumentation. While some songs like Cinema Paradiso (Se) lean towards the classical operatic genre, there are more pop-oriented songs like Alla Luce del Sole and the galactic Canto Alla Vita which employ synth programming by Felipe Elgueta and Rhys Fulber. There are also songs that are somber, with an orchestra and piano, such as Gira Con Me.

Alejate has a very Latin aesthetic to it, though I did think that it was a bit muffled in the sound production. I don’t know if it was supposed to be a part of the synth programming, though it was a bit distracting.

In Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, there is the synthesis between the old classical rhythms of Sebastian Bach’s piece and the electric guitars that appear later in the song. As expected of such a classical work of music, it provides the best buildup out of all the songs of the album.

While Groban maintains a low, baritone throughout the album, Let Me Fall provides the opportunity for him to really expand his range.

Lyrics

There are a variety of languages in this album, which include Italian, Spanish, and English. Of course, Groban did not write the non-English lyrics himself, rather they were written by Guido Morra, Lucio Quarantotto, Alessio de Sensi, and more. He does manage to use all of these languages very well throughout the album, almost as though he was a native speaker of all of them.

The major theme of this album revolves around religion and God, which is especially evident in the cover of Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and The Prayer. There is also the song To Where You Are which deals with talking with a deceased loved one.

Other songs deal with personal interactions. Home To Stay deals with the separation and reunion with a former love and how he makes observations about her life after leaving. You’re Still You is about unconditional love.

Some of the songs are covers, with Vincent about the life of Vincent van Gogh originally a song by Don McLean.

There are plenty of guest musicians that make appearances throughout the album. In Canto Alla Vita, the Corrs provide the English-language backup pop vocals while Groban provides the operatic Italian voice in this musical celebration of life. Lily Haydn joins Groban in Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring in this hybridized dedication to humanity.

Feel

I do not know the lyrics to the Italian-language songs, but Alla Luce Del Sol is a great song to introduce the entire album.

Cinema Paradiso definitely earns its name, because it definitely feels like this song is part of a soundtrack of a classical movie from the Cinemascope era.

While Vincent originally did not fit within the opera genre, even without considering the subject matter of the song, Groban provides a tragic story of this man in what may be the most appropriate genre.

Un Amore Per Sempre always sneaks up on you when you least expect it around midway. It is a testament to amore when this song exemplifies it from the soft beginning to the buildup.

Just as it began with an epic song, it ends with the very famous The Prayer with the duet with Charlotte Church. They definitely complement each other in this duet. The refraining lyric always hits it home:

Lead us to a place/Guide us with your grace/Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Josh Groban/Charlotte Church – The Prayer

Considering how this album was released in 2001, and remembering watching this duet in music class in elementary school, it really made me retrospectively look back and think “What more could have been done in those 20 years?” It has made me feel a mixture of emotions. I feel sadness and regret for not doing more in those 20 years and for holding Kingdom Hearts as being more important than this vaguely remembered song during those elementary years; but I also feel awe at how fascinating this song was. As such, it has made me think more about my future and not to take the next 20 years for granted.

Does It Tie Up Well?

This album embarks the listener in quite an adventure, though one that is soothing with no sense of arduous endeavor. Nothing feels disjointed and everything comes to a satisfying conclusion.

Recommend This To…

  • Everyone. What do I mean “Everyone?” EVERYONE! This is especially the case if you plan on getting more into Josh Groban, since this album does not overwhelm you.

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