October 21, 2009

Turning New Tricks

Taking an old and tired but respected torch song and turning it into the next James Bond 007 theme is just one trick in Michael Buble's latest bag. His Cry Me A River startles after hearing the same tune recorded by Olivia Newton-John a few years back on her Indigo disc. Who could ever have guessed the song could sound like this! An instant favorite once the jolt wears off.

The disc brims with cuts expected like Georgia on My Mind, which would do Ray Charles justice, and the title song orginally recorded by Van Morrison. However, it is the unexpected choices and arrangements that make the collection stand out.

Haven't Met You Yet surprises with its horn section similar to that found on Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. The following two songs move this album into greatness: All I Do is Dream of You sparkles while the gorgeous Hold On picks up on the relationship where his classic Home left off.

One of the biggest acts of magic is David Foster's production. Just when you think Michael needs a new producer and all you'll get another stylistic retread from past albums, David pulls off a remake of the Eagle's classic Heartache Tonight with such pananche. It's enough to make the listener think the tune always had this much swing. As fun as the arrangement and production are, it is the vocals of this new age Rat Packer that takes it to a new level.

The fun continues on- including an old song from Sandra Bullock's movie Two Weeks Notice: Baby (You've Got What it Takes) sounds absolutely terrific. The unexpected island influenced vocals on Startdust also startle, but ultimately the song is not as successful as with the opening cut. Lastly, the bonus cut, Whatever It Takes with Ron Sexsmith, surprises with its bromance anthem- maybe crossing over as a blatant bid for play at gay clubs. It is, in fact, a very tender song of hope with their voices playing beautifully against each other. Right about now, whether straight or gay, we all need a little hope.

In a tight economic market, gaining new listeners may be the biggest trick of all- and with a #1 debut on the Billboard charts, Crazy Love has just enough magic moments to pull it off.

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