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Music Review: Josh Groban – Noel

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Josh Goban's Noel, a collection of traditional Christmas music with a time-honored feel and rich orchestration, was released on the Reprise record label October 9.

This is an eclectic mix of traditional hymns and carols, with only two songs straying from that overall theme. The holiday favorite "I'll be Home For Christmas" is given a contemporary, yet desperate sound as messages to and from those serving in the armed services are weaved between the verses and choruses. Grobin's deep passionate voice only adds to the gloomy feel of someone who is far away from the ones he loves during the holidays.

The second traditional but secular song is "The Christmas Song," in which Groban delivers a holiday greeting in a sedate way that I think only he can pull off. If any other artist would try to slow the tempo to this pace, it would be disastrous, but he is able to deliver it with enough emotion to pull it off.

The die-hard Groban fan will be particularly pleased with the CD; he stays completely true to form and offers no real surprises or out of characteristic turns. His full baritone voice blends beautifully with the intricate and complex arrangements as he delivers an album of reflective praise and meditative worship. Whether he's singing the better known "Silent Night" or "The First Noel," or the lesser known "Petit Papa Noel" or "Panis Angelicus" the album as a whole will serve as the perfect accompaniment to your holiday party or tree trimming and package wrapping activities.

A personal stand out track for me is the second track, "Little Drummer Boy." A favorite of mine from the time I was a child, Groban has a way of putting just enough polish on the classic to make it his own, without tampering with the classic and familiar feel of the song. There are no bells are whistles to the album, but there is beautiful music that will put you in the Christmas spirit and help you relax after a stressful day of holiday shopping, reminding you what the season is truly about.

In a recent press release, Groban commented on the subject of the remix of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" as well as the tone of the entire album. "I was inspired by all the Christmases I've been fortunate enough to celebrate with my family over the last 26 years. I was committed to making a classic Christmas album yet one that sounded different than anything that's been heard on a holiday record. David Foster and I were passionate about creating the perfect collection of songs."

Look for Josh Groban to make an appearance on the The Oprah Winfrey Show in November as well as NBC's Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center November 28th and Good Morning America November 30th. News and information as well as upcoming appearances and tour dates can be found at the artists official website and his Myspace profile.

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About Connie Phillips

  • http://kaliwetekid.blogspot.com Raimon Gonzales

    This is another two-thumbs up for Josh Groban! It’s a classic album to add the warmth of the season’s sprit. It’s a perfect gift to a loved one and family members. He really has the capacity to move the listeners with his vocal range and of course, with an amazing collaboration with David Foster and great musicians like Brian McKnight and Faith Hill. People would still buy this album in the years to come. It’s timeless.

  • Mari Sol (Manila, Philippines)

    This album is everything I want for Christmas! I was dying to get a copy on day one but waited (to make it more memorable) to buy it along with souvenirs of Josh’s oh-so-awesome Manila concert. That (2nd) night, October 18, Josh swept us away completely! Am still stuck in this sweet hangover and hoping Josh comes back to Manila soon (as he promised)!

    I’ve followed Josh from the start and waited for so long for a Christmas album, and this is well worth it! It’s only October but I’ve played it every day since. I’m especially glad the songs here bring back the Josh we heard and fell in love with in the first CD. FOR THAT, THANK YOU SO MUCH, DAVID!

  • hairdisc

    My sister and I are big Josh fans. So when we heard about his Christmas CD, we got very excited since we had already heard singles like O Holy Night and Believe (which are excluded from here). We thought , how could he go wrong? Well we were actually a little disappointed. As far as timeless goes, I’ll Be Home For Christmas sounds more trendy than timeless. In a day and age where most of us would like to think of a future of peace and understanding, this reminds us that we are not any where near that. The live version available on Itunes is much better. I also agree with the writer about Little Drummer Boy being the best track on here. I also like his duets with Faith hill and Brian McKnight. I don’t get the Christmas feel from some of the others. I’m not a big fan of Panis Angelicus even when it was recorded by Il Divo 2 Christmas’s ago! Barbra Striesand did a Christmas CD that does not have the Christmas feel as well. Better try Melissa Manchester Joy for mixing her originals Christmas Angel and the poignant There’s Still My Joy with tradition and originality.

  • mkqueenbee

    Sorry to hear that. I can’t stop listening to Noel. Home for Christmas is hard to listen to; however, we cannot forget our soldiers. It is reality.

    Hope you give it another try…maybe closer to Christmas.

  • Mervyn Magee

    I loved this album by Josh Groban, particularly “I’ll be Home For Christmas”. It brought tears to my eyes, and had such an emotional and sincere message. I always loved the Perry Como version too. Christmas is about sentiment and family, so what is wrong with that song. Pity he hadn’t sung Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” too. I also loved “Little Drummer Boy”, a great version of the song.

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