Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Josh Groban Illuminations - First Listen

Josh Groban's first album in 4 years, Illuminations released this week. I downloaded it Monday night from Amazon and listened on the plane ride home from Atlanta. I have to say, I'm really impressed. I'd say the time that was taken to make this album was absolutely worth it. Wandering Kind, an instrumental prelude sets the tone of the album - its just a very pretty piece, with piano and strings and it gets you ready to hear the story that Groban has to share. I can actually see this used by a figure skater for a short program piece.

I really connected with Hidden Away, which is the first single, moreso when I saw the video for it. That song, along with many on the album are very personal - that vibe is carried throughout. Bells of New York City was another one that I loved immediately. It almost sounds like a Christmas song with the vocal and the melody, and Groban has said that its written based on the way the fall/winter in NYC makes him feel. You can tell through the song how much he loves the city. I've always been a fan on all of his albums of the foreign language songs because they are so pretty. I don't try to translate them as things can get lost in translation, so I prefer to just listen. There are only 3 on this album - L'Ora Dell'Addio, Au Jardin Des Sans-Pourquoi, and Voce Existe Em Mim, the first song he's sung in Portuguese.

I think the song that speaks to me the most is Higher Window. I don't know why, but its just simple and beautiful. It gives me chills when I listen to it and I think if I hear it live, it'll be one that will bring me to tears. I see this one with him on the piano, maybe alone, maybe with some percussion. I also really love If I Walk Away, and the last track on the album, a cover of Nick Cave's Straight to You ends the album and story perfectly. If it has to end, I can't think of a better way. I really would like to find a track or 2 on the album that I like, but will have to grown on me, and I really can't. I think all the tracks are just incredible.

The tracks feature Groban's rich baritone and the album really reminds me why I fell in love with him in the first place. This album tells a story and comes full circle - yet the individual tracks stand on their own. I feel like after 10 years, this is the album that I've been waiting for from him. His first album will always be my favorite because you really can't hold a candle to Alla Luce and Gira, followed quickly by Awake, but this one certainly gives both of those a run for their money as to where it falls in my favoritism list.

You can get Illuminations on Itunes, Amazon, and anywhere that sells music. I highly recommend you do so.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished my own review of Illuminations and I'm with you every step of the way here.

    I'm a sucker for albums that seem like one giant complete thought, and this one really has that.

    Also, I'm so proud of this boy. Seriously. Wasn't it just yesterday he was shaking like a leaf singing for Oprah? *pinches his cheeks*