September 17, 2018 Josh Groban – Bridges (Album Review)
He is a truly exceptional singer, songwriter, TV personality, and an actor who has tackled Broadway and beyond. What is there that Josh Groban cannot do and do with style? If you know, please let us know! Otherwise, prepare yourself for Bridges, his latest musical offering, which arrives on Friday, September 21, 2018, thanks to Reprise Records.
If you love music, then you should know the name Josh Groban. A supremely-talented baritone, he is a Multi-Platinum, best-selling artist who crosses genres to place his touch on everything from Operatic Pop to Pop Rock and beyond, all with a classically-trained panache. Throughout his nearly two-decade-long career, Groban has released six full-length studio albums – from 2001’s Josh Groban to 2015’s Stages – and one Christmas album, 2007’s Noël. He’s won countless awards; earned a bazillion accolades; performed around the globe; been nominated for multiple Grammys and a Tony; performed on Broadway – most recently in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 – as well as alongside The Muppets; been recognized as one of People’s “100 Most Beautiful People”; and guest-starred on American Dad! So, really, what’s next for this multi-talented performer?
Coinciding with the debut of his brand-new Netflix series, The Good Cop, Groban will release his seventh (or eighth, if you like) studio offering, Bridges. The 12-track album – which also comes in a Deluxe Edition with bonus tracks – contains a gentle blend of original material, co-written by Groban himself, and beloved favorites that include covers of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Snow Patrol’s “Run,” as well as French, Italian and Spanish-language offerings. This is literally the whole kit and caboodle!
Bridges begins with Groban rising into the higher reaches of his vocal register for the beautifully poignant “Granted,” where he implores listeners to chase their dreams, embrace love, and never take a single breath for granted. This flows flawlessly into the sweet sincerity of the beautiful love ode, “Symphony,” anchored by delicate and moving acoustic guitar work with a gentle Spanish flavor. In turn, this moves perfectly into the reflective qualities of the piano-guided “River,” a gentle step along the water-side, a quiet moment to escape your daily troubles.
Groban goes full-out Spanish for the beautiful “Musica del Corazon” (“Music of the Heart”), which features exceptional Flamenco Guitarist Vicente Amigo. The composition is perfect, as is Groban’s Spanish – the man really can do everything flawlessly! Known for his arresting takes on classics and standards, next Groban tackles the esteemed “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” giving it his own sweeping, cinematic take complete with an accompanying choir and those luscious, honeyed vocals dipping into the valleys and soaring above the peaks of the Simon & Garfunkel classic.
For a stunning cover of Snow Patrol’s “Run,” he brings out the strings and duets with Canadian siren Sarah McLachlan. If you thought the original couldn’t get any better, you were wrong! Wasting not a moment, he turns to French for “S’il suffisait d’aimer,” originally popularized by Celine Dion. Here, the music is sweeping, and the vocals are some of his best on the album. This is complemented beautifully by the uplifting love song “Won’t Look Back,” another original offering that blends Pop sensibilities into Groban’s always classically-steeped talents.
Returning to his roots, he duets with the incomparable Andrea Bocelli on the soaring, all-Italian “We Will Meet Once Again,” a solid testament to Groban’s massive cross-genre appeal. Meanwhile, original love song “More of You” sees him accompanied by electronic atmospherics that lean more toward Pop than his traditional fare, but it works beautifully, and it will make you want to grab your most beloved and hold them tight.
Leaving no stone or style untouched, Groban dons cowboy boots and leans himself toward the Country spectrum on the reflective love song “99 Years,” an apropos duet with Nashville sweetheart Jennifer Nettles, one of a few select performers who can easily soar alongside Groban, vocally speaking. Ultimately, he returns to the classic symphonics and piano accompaniments on the massively powerful “Bigger Than Us,” an anthemic admission that feeling small happens to the best of us and it’s okay to admit when we need help. Here, guitars enter the mix and create a wall of sound that is as inspiring as it is uplifting, and the perfect note to end on.
Here’s the thing about Bridges: you’d better love a great love song, a cinematically sweeping symphonic accompaniment, and a truly killer pair of pipes. If velvety smooth, soaring vocal theatrics from one of the best in the biz are not your thing, well, why not? There’s a reason that Groban is one of the best-selling artists of our time and possesses such an astounding crossover appeal: no matter the genre or the language, the man can sing! Bridges is a great testament to this, a gentle blend of original material and already beloved favorites from the likes of Snow Patrol, Celine Dion, and beyond. If you are not already a fan there is no reason that, after just one listen, you won’t want to cross the bridge into fandom. (Bad pun very much intended.) Come on-board and join us! CrypticRock give Josh Groban’s Bridges 4.5 of 5 stars.