Diana Krall...Harry Connick Jr....Josh Groban...Norah Jones...Michael Bublé. What to make of young, attractive musicians who seem rooted in the past? Are they tryin' to trick us by offering lite and easy-to-chew nostalgia?
Sorry, but that's a big loada hooey. Even though the visually-oriented marketing makes me a little nervous (especially in the case of Krall...though her "Peel Me A Grape" makes me forget for a while), it's not fair for me to say that I know what the motivation is.
Hey, maybe they just like the music.
This is surely the case with Michael Bublé. This live (mostly) CD and DVD showcases Bublé the singer and showman. He just might be a little too good for his 28 years. Now, the concert recording and behind the scenes footage on the accompanying DVD certainly could be a cynically constructed marketing vehicle for Bublé. After all, he's photogenic and the ladies seem to love him. But...that's not what I'm sensing. How Bublé came to love music from the Frank Sinatra/Bobby Darin era is hinted at by references to his grandfather. This comes across as genuine passion for the music, far beyond mere respectfulness.
I grew up listening to tons of Sinatra, Darin, Dean Martin and others so, yea, I could be falling prey to nostalgia a bit...but one thing is certain: Bublé can sing. The slow burn of "Fever" an "The Way You Look Tonight" is set against the uptempo "Moondance" and "For Once In My Life". There's also a beautiful version of the Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart".
The concert ends with "My Funny Valentine". Here, a bunch of Bublé's influences show up. I hear some Sinatra, Darin and (surprisingly) Chet Baker.
So is Michael Bublé the "real thing"? That's hard to say, but I've gotta give him some credit: he's putting a ton of energy into, as his grandfather said, 'bringing the music back'. That can't be a bad thing.
(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)