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Italian lyrics create confusion

After releasing popular singles such as ?To Where You Are? from his 2002 album and ?You Raise Me Up,? from 2003?s Closer, pop artist Josh Groban attempts to surpass his past success with his 2006 album, Awake, released on Nov. 7.

Groban attempted a hands-on approach by co-writing 4 out of 13 songs in the recent release. Similar to his previous albums, Groban sings in Italian, Spanish and English.

Awake features the hit, “You Are Loved,” which stars Groban?s Broadway-style voice in a ballad with a tired and unorginal melody. Although catchy, it feels the same as every other similar pop song.

The instrumentation includes keyboard, drums, and violin to support Groban?s anthem. Groban tries to combine a rock beat and gentle orchestra and the cross between genres is not smooth.

Although the vocals show genuine talent and the lyrics are encouraging, they lack true depth, when he promises, ?I will shine to guide you.?

Groban starts off the album with “Mai”, sung in Italian. The harmonically complex and major melody complements his well-articulated Italian. Groban exhibits his tremendous vocal control and tenor range.

The range of instruments used clearly strengthens the song. Mai incorporates violin, cello, French horn, trumpet, guitar, mallet percussion and piano.

One of the downfalls of Groban?s work is that he offers no translations for his Spanish and Italian work. Although the melody is strong and magnificent, his lyrics are altogether inconsequential to English?speaking audiences, excepting purists.

Some of Groban?s English even confused me, as his lyrics are often bizarre. This includes a South American inspired song, ?Weeping?, with a positive and upbeat major chord progression. Guest artist Ladysmith Black Bambazo’s background vocals fail to revive the odd song, which tells of a demon of fear crying in the night.

The song would make more sense if I knew the story behind it, but as it is, the lyrics contains too many variables. The strange words do not relate to the musical tempo and mode.

Overall, I enjoyed the two first songs, but not much else. Groban?s vocals are worthy of five stars, but his lyrics are jumbled and sometimes meaningless. He is better off singing classics like ?You Raise Me Up.?

Groban will perform at the Save Mart Center at 8 P.M. on April 4, 2007. Tickets range in price from $57-157.

To purchase tickets, call the Save Mart Center at 485-TIXS (8497).

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