Saturday, December 17, 2011

Michael Bublé -Christmas (Album Review)

Although Michael Bublé built his career by singing mainly Big band covers and Jazz standards by artists like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet, what sets him apart from other cover singers is the quality of his tone. Bublé is not just a singer but an artist who magically can turn these standards into his very own. He is in fact the king of Jazz Pop and so far he is peerless in the game.

Big Band, Traditional pop and Jazz sounds dominate his full-length Christmas album simply titled “Christmas”. His distinctive baritone is once again sexy, charismatic and full of swagger here. Although I must admit the entire set is filled with stunners, these are a few of my favorite things from this set.

“Jingles Bells” featuring “The incredible Puppini Sisters” stole my heart right away at the first listen. Hearing them sing takes us back to the Boogie-Woogie era of “The Andrew Sisters”. Their close harmony and Buble’s swinging not only complement each other also successfully revitalize one of the iconic Christmas carols ever. A lot of artists are doing retro nowadays that even doing retro has become such a retro thing but only a few manage to do retro proper. (Wow-that’s too many ‘retro’ in a sentence) The Puppini Sisters and Bublé reunite on another track, Frosty The Snowman”, which I find equally breathtaking.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey’s super-festive modern Christmas classic, is sprinkled with Bublé-ness and completely transformed into a tear-jerking ballad. Who would have thought… but it works.

What a treat to hear the two Canadian song birds singing together on “White Christmas”, a beautiful duet with Shania Twain. They both have this unique nasal tone in their voices and they sound great together. It also marks the return of Shania Twain, one of the most remarkable voices in country music. We have not heard from since 2002’s “Up!”

“Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad” , a rousing duet with the Mexican singer, Thalia, manage to capture the true Christmas spirit. Thalia’s Spanish singing not only provides a beautiful ethnic touch to this song also a nice little break from all that jazzing and swinging going on. Of Course, there are songs that I could do without such as “Silent Night” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. It is the arrangement that makes both songs a bit of a yawn.

I believe this album, like Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas (1994), will become one of those classic Christmas albums that people want to buy and play at every Christmas because of its timeless quality and sound.  It is a smart decision for Bublé because whatever current trend or popular sound there is in music, music-buying public usually want their Christmas music to be traditional, familiar and something that they can cozy up to. This festive season, two of the biggest names in modern music, Justin Beiber and Michael Bublé, both ironically Canadians, released their holiday sets and it would be interesting to see whose album will stand the test of time. For me, the answer is clear. 

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