While I’m not big into schmaltzy big band music, I do like a good crooner now and again. As a big fan of Chris Isaak and Harry Connick Jr., I didn’t see an embrace of the music of Michael Buble as a big stretch. He’s got a heckuva voice and who doesn’t like a guy who views Frank Sinatra as a musical hero?
So, with Buble’s latest chart-topping album Crazy Love, we find just how dynamic and versatile the Grammy-winning Canadian is when it comes to picking material. There is some great stuff here, many of them jazz and pop standards. And then there’s his amazing interpretation of The Eagles’ 1979 hit “Heartache Tonight.”
Of course the title track, “Crazy Love,” a song Van Morrison did back in 1970 for his classic Moondance album, is given the smooth-croonin’ Buble treatment. And while great, it is still shadowed by the original.
On “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” Buble really shows listeners that at his core, he is a jazz singer. Keep that in mind when you listen to the pop standard “Stardust,” featuring background vocals from the a capella group Naturally 7.
And while he loves jazz, Buble easily embraces the retro soul sound of “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes),” performed with the 60’s-esque group Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
Fellow Canadian Ron Sexsmith joins Buble on a cover of his smooth, bossa nova-esque song “Whatever It Takes.”
“Cry Me a River” sounds like a song from a James Bond soundtrack. It’s sultry and full of possibility. Buble is clearly having a great time singing this song.
“All Of Me” starts unassuming and jazzy in a classic sense and then builds and comes back down, all the while Buble’s voice is firmly in control of the material. Impressive.
The first 15 seconds of “Georgia On My Mind,” with the menacing orchestra, soon brighten into the classic made famous by Ray Charles all those years ago.
And while the covers are aplenty, Buble co-wrote the bouncy, engaging pop track “Haven’t Met You Yet,” which has an almost Beatlesque vibe.
Buble sounds decent on “All I Do Is Dream of You” although not particularly inspired. But a song like “Hold On,” a song Buble had a hand in writing, starts off rather spare and slowly builds to a busy climax. The orchestration starts to drown him out a bit and it’s all unnecessary. It’s his voice we want to hear.
And overall, Crazy Love is album I want to hear again and again.
Grade – B
About the author: Andrew Griffin is the editor of RedDirtReport.com. Visit the site here.