Il Divo
The Promise


1.5
very poor

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
March 13th, 2009 | 10 replies | 3,499 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Remember when Il Divo were original? No? Me neither...

You know what I hate most? Wasted talent. People who have good capabilities but decide to simply use it for a few extra bucks instead of using these talents to make something exception. “Popera” act Il Divo are a perfect example of my biggest pet peeve in music. These four men are exceptionally talented vocalists and quite obviously classically trained, but instead of using this talented to help perform classic operas by Verdi or Mahler or whomever, they decide to “operize” pop songs. This is the type of group suburban mothers love to listen to, and perhaps that is being a bit too harsh, after all my Mom likes Iron & Wine, Bob Marley, and she even liked a Streetlight Manifesto song I played once. What I’m trying to purvey is that Il Divo make inoffensive, background fluff that truly wastes their talents. While this was passable on their previous two recordings, their latest “The Promise” comes across as just downright unlistenable. This is perhaps because of one glaring, personally disgusting track.

The details are a little too personal for an album review, but tragedy has given Jeff Buckley’s classic version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a very close place in my heart. This is one song that absolutely begs for subtlety to allow for the understated beauty of the piece to shine through. Of course Il Divo are about as subtle as a sledgehammer and decide to make a grandiose operatic ballad out of it. It made me incredibly angry when I first listened to it, I called it a butchering and kindly asked my parents at the dinner table to change the song. Understanding my connection with the song, they obliged, and even still, as I write this review I skip over this song. I won’t even pretend to know how the whole song goes, I can’t bring myself to listen past the first few minutes. If it didn’t hold such a dear place in my heart, perhaps the song would be tolerable, I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care to know. The rest of the album irks me in a similar fashion, but with far less vigor do I dislike those tracks.

Again, I feel to avoid a rant I must stress that these four men are very strong singers; they have great voices. However, most of the time they put it to ill technical use by singing vary standard pop chords. That is to say, the vocal melodies and harmonies never really test the singers which is very unfortunate. The album would have been far more rewarding if the group decided to stretch out their pipes and let us see their full talents. Then again, challenging doesn’t equal record sales, does it? And that is exactly what this album is all about. Instead the listener gets the indistinguishable throw away pieces like “Enamorado”, “Angelina” or “La Luna” which all follow the same pattern of starting quiet then growing into sweeping, and crappy, string and timpani/drum crescendoes. The album closer is a prime example of why this group is a complete waste of time. “Amazing Grace” is a powerful song, or should I say was, before everybody else on the planet did a rendition. If it was a rendition with a little more originality then great! Unfortunately it’s a tired rehash of every other version of the song, and is the next likely candidate for an Amnesty International infomercial. That’s the last thing I need, Il Divo trying to convince me to adopt a starving child, ham-fisted bagpipes and all.

This album simply pains me to listen to. So I’ve stopped listening to it and decided to pump some Godspeed to depress the crap out of my ears. This album is just a tasteless attempt at commercially accessible ‘popera’. Instead of using the vocalist’s talents for an interesting take on mainstream pop, something that juxtaposes the obtuse styling of opera with the accessibility of pop; we are left with dollar bin throw-away trash. I probably wouldn’t even use the CD cover as a coaster, I would be too embarrassed when my friends came over. “Il Divo? Oh that, it’s my Mom’s. She likes them, I guess. They can sing, sure, but I’d much sooner bang my head against the wall a few times. Or you know, listening to some Verdi or Mahler.”



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
March 13th 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

ugh, I'm not totally sure why I decided to do this review, but here it is. I just wanted to do a negative review so... voila!

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 13th 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

ps. who the heck did the track listing on this thing?

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
March 13th 2009



3762 Comments


It was probably copied straight off Amazon or something. Can't say much about these guys other than I've never had the slightest interest in listening to them at all properly, even though mum borrowed a copy out of the library once.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2009



20855 Comments


LOL at the track listing. Sounds like the review suggests the whole album is worth $0.99.

rasputin
March 13th 2009



14516 Comments


[quote=Streetlight]borrowed a copy out of the library once.
[/quote]
That pretty much explains everything.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
March 13th 2009



3762 Comments


Everything exists in the library.

taylormemer
March 14th 2009



4913 Comments


Operatic pop get's worse then this in most cases.
Review feels too ranty as well.

ninjuice
March 14th 2009



6759 Comments


You can fix the tracklisting yourself when you review the album btw.

Digging: Robin Skouteris - The King of ArtPOP

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2009



7314 Comments


Good review i pos'd.

“Amazing Grace” is a powerful song, or should I say was, before everybody else on the planet did a rendition. If it was a rendition with a little more originality then great! Unfortunately it’s a tired rehash of every other version of the song


Listen to Dropkick Murphy's version from the album The Gangs All Here. Needless to say it kicks the shit out of this version (it's the only song from this album I've heard).

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 15th 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I know ninjuice, I didn't notice it and just pointed out how silly it was, I have no plans on changing it, too much effort for this album. Taylormere, thanks for the opinion, it was my first really negative review and I was trying to avoid ranting, the second paragraph really does kind of rant.



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