Sunday, November 8, 2009

Album Review: Crazy Love by Michael Bublé

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My only exposure to Michael Bublé thus far has been a snippet of a ringtone with him threatening to scat until the person answers the phone. I liked what I heard of that and I like big band, so when I got the opportunity to review his latest album, Crazy Love, I jumped at the chance. I wasn't sure what to expect, other than a big band sound, but when the first song started, I knew I was in for a surprise. This isn't your run-of-the-mill big band album.

I have to tell you, hearing bass strings and horns in a Bond-esque cadence was not what I was expecting when Cry Me a River started. I like it, though - it reminds me of a marching band music, which is another love (I'm weird and geeky, I know. Get over it.). The notes are crisp and rich. Then the crescendo dies off and Michael starts in with "Now you say you're lonely" and I'm hooked. Michael manages to combine flow with staccato impressively. The action-movie theme continues throughout the piece, which only adds to the dimension and sexiness. I dare you not to moan a little "oooh" when he growls as he sings "now you say you love me" about halfway through the song.

All Of Me starts with the bouncy piano big band lovers love. You can't help but tap something along with it. Michael's voice blends in seamlessly and the bursts of horns are expected, rather than jarring. You can tell he's having fun with this one.

Georgia On My Mind starts with a few flats, which caused me to cock my head warily and really listen for what he was going to do with it. Gladly, Michael doesn't disappoint. He adds a bit of himself, while staying respectful of the classic tune. Michael brings the song into this century while keeping the feel of the original era, but bypasses the seventies camp, which I find many current artists unable to do. Well done. Definite points for Bublé on that one.

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Crazy Love gets the seventies camp that Georgia on My Mind was missing. I'm not sure if I'm turned off by it, or impressed that he can do a range of styles. Technically, he's right on and he's no less feeling in execution, so it may well be the arrangement that I'm not fond of here.

Haven't Met You Yet starts upbeat and suddenly plops me in the nineties. Bublé shows here that his sound stretches across genres and eras and I think I'm finding that's there's a little something on this album for most everyone that appreciates true musicality.

All I Do Is Dream Of You has a fun, fifties feel to it, complete with doo-wap and snapping at the beginning. Then he breaks out in a scat and my breath catches in my smile. A blast of a song that makes you want to sing and dance along. Two-and-a-half minutes of fun.

Hold On brings you back down to earth. This is a great first dance at a wedding song. It kind of makes me want to remarry Michael so we can dance to it. Not like we're a slow dancing type of couple, but the song totally makes me want to do it anyway. Awesome Love Stuff here. Hearing the song before and after it, though, I think it was misplaced in the album queue. The difference in feel is too different between this and the songs surrounding it.

I was so taken aback by the jump in sound, that I spent the first hearing of Heartache Tonight distracted and resentful that it broke the feeling of Hold On. Musically, I could hear that it's a great song, but my heart wasn't in it. After taking a break to cleanse my aural palate, I was able to listen to and appreciate the song for the fun, raucous party song it is. How Bublé manages to merge big band horns and crescendos with blues harmonica and guitar is beyond me, but it works here somehow and it's just a fun, fun song.

You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You has some great piano stylings. The trumpet seems a little off when it comes in, as well as the big band sound. Once it's into it, though, it sounds fine. At first, I thought it was the transition that needed work, but hearing the rest of the song, I'm thinking the beginning of the song was too muted. I like the song overall, but I'd love to hear it sung in the same vein Michael starts it in as well.

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Baby (You've Got What It Takes) is another fun song. The interplay between Michael and Sharon Jones is fun and unforced. Their voices blend well, and I find myself bouncing and bee-bopping along with the song. This is a great, feel-good, jam out while you clean the house song.

At This Moment is a highlight of the album for me. This song showcases Michael's talent for emotive singing. I keep wanting to say without being showy, but it is showy - but it feels sincere. I'm not sure that makes sense, but there you have it. If I weren't typing, I'd be closing my eyes and just enjoying. Great song. Great voice. It's official: I'm a Michael Bublé fan.

I absolutely love how Michael's voice emerges from the harmonious first few bars of Stardust. It's like it just wells up - fabulous. This is the crooning that makes me swoon for this genre. Yeah, I know I got all rhymey there. I don't care. Oh my -- the clarinet bridge! *catches breath* Oh yeah, this one's my favorite. *swoons*

Michael notes on the back cover "I loved this one [Whatever It Takes] so much that I sneaked it onto the CD as a little bonus for you!" I'm glad he did. You can tell he's just really enjoying the song and his talent on this track. It's got a nice, smooth sound. Seventies fans will enjoy it, though for some reason it doesn't feel so campy to me. Go figure.

All in all, a great album, and one I'm glad to have received. As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I didn't know what to expect other than a big band album. I am corrected. I wouldn't call this a big band album. This is a Michael Bublé album. There are too many genres and styles represented to categorize it that simply. But it is simply enjoyable.

*This is solely the opinion of 3 Stairs. Other people may have different experiences with this product. I received the album free of charge to do this review. *

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