It’s Christmas Eve and I bet you a lot of stockings have Michael Buble’s new album ‘Love’ int hem/ Do people still do that, though? Buy physical music? Buble is a crowd-pleaser, for sure, and his new disc is a safe gift – you just know whoever you give it to will love it.
i didn’t much like this album, and tat even surprised me because I have loved his records for the most part. I thought this lacked something – energy. Ir felt perfunctory. I felt he was uninspired and to my ears, it showed. And I can’t figure out why – David Foster is producing, and one of my favorite pianists Alan Broadbent is on the helm as well. Why else would they do ‘suspenseful’ arrangement of ‘My Funny Valentine,’ one of the most romantic songs ever written? And he couldn’t even make ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ syrupy sweet. I like Charlie Puth and his song here ”Love You Anymore’ fell flat (I had to listen to it a couple of times to be sure) There is a bright spot in ‘La Vie En Rose,’ but maybe because he duets it with Cecile McLorin Salvant, and she is fantastic. I know Buble has gone through a lot the past couple of months, so I will give him a pass.
A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of a YouTube hole, I was recommended this video my Michael Bublé, which is a behind the scenes/making of video of him recording the song Sot’ter Celo de Roma (On An Evening In Roma) a song that was popularized by Dean Martin, who was my Dad’s favorite singer. It’s such a great pop song: witty and fluffy and fun. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else, and had tears in my eyes instantly – recognizing that great feeling of listening and seeing something that was so beautiful it brought a tearful smile to my face.
Needless to say, that is my favorite track from Bublés new album, ‘Nobody But Me.’ When he first came to the scene, I was skeptical, thinking yet another Sinara clone, but when you listen to him more, you will see that he seems to be more Bobby Darin than anyone else – and in a lot of circles, Darin trumps Frank. Bublé is that rare breed – he is as good an entertainer as a singer. I saw him in concert at Radio City Music Hall and was blown away by his charisma and showmanship. And yes, it doe not hurt at all that he sings well. On his new album, he proves himself worthy of my praise – he is a fantastic pop singer who sometimes sings in jazzier setting. Although here, he sings in mostly pop arrangements. In the title track, he even has a rap interlude, and it fits very well with the big band arrangement, proving you can mix the old with the new seamlessly. Other standout tracks for me include ‘My Kind Of Girl,’ where he pays tribute to Matt Monroe and ‘Nobody Cares For Me,’ which he dedicates to Nina Simone. But you see his personality really shine in Sot’ter Celo de Roma.
That personality shines through in “Bublé at The BBC,’ an hour long show he did in the UK. It’s sort of a mini concert (Adele did it as well when she released her last album) He sings his hits along with songs from the new album. He also engages in light banter with BBC presenter Claudia Winkleman, and like Adele, did a bit where he disguises himself in Central London, this time at the Electronics Department at department store John Lewis on Oxford Street. His performance is in fine form, and he does a bluesy gospel arrangement of ‘Always In My Mind’ that is unforgettable. But the best number for me was his heartfelt ‘The Very Thought Of You,’ which he says was hsi Nana’s favorite song. That tune has been in my radar of late – Kristin Chenoweth’s version on her new album haunts me day to day – and he essays an emotion that is very close to my heart right now. If I wasn’t a bigger fan of his before, then I am now.