Josh Groban



by Xenophanes STAFF
November 25th, 2010 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Josh Groban is Josh Groban on Illuminations, sans the tolerable songwriting...

Although his music can be described as “easy listening,” a genre whose albums one is more likely to see in a Dollar Store rather than a record store , Josh Groban has had a fairly illustrious career. With humble beginnings as a guest on the television series, Ally Mcbeal, Groban has come quite a long way, with each of his previous albums reaching multi-platinum status. Needless to say, the young man has made quite a name for himself, garnering praise from critics , and attracting a massive fan base. And how has he achieved all this" How could such a musician explode onto the charts, and attract fans from so many different ages and backgrounds

It’s the ***ing voice.

Josh Groban has an immensely powerful voice, and he truly knows how to use it. And quite honestly, with all of the missteps and misfires on his latest effort, Illuminations, that very voice is still just as solid. As a baritone/tenor, Groban has a very distinct voice with a lot of range, and a great deal of stylistic variety. It’s neither too raucous nor too reserved, making for a very solid tone, with a great handling of dynamics and vibrato. The vocals are the de facto reason to listen to Groban on Illuminations as you would be hard pressed to find someone so commanding and self assured. Literally, he is damn near perfect in this respect. That being said, for the first time in his career, Groban takes command of the songwriting, and the results are mixed.

While he may be a wonderfully talented singer, Josh Groban is a fairly weak songwriter. Penning eleven out of thirteen tracks on Illuminations, the guy’s knack for producing arid and impassive songs really brings down the overall quality. Never before have we seen he himself take up the bulk of the creative process, typically singing tried and true pieces, or more modern tunes written by others... In the past, he has sang classical, while often times dabbling in more “poppy” tunes as well. On Illuminations we find this dichotomy in disarray, with songs dipping into both influences, yielding poor results. The songs don’t mesh well into each other, as the album feels like half-classical, half-pop, and half-assed overall. It is in these bland and uninspired tracks that we find the real weakness of the album, as Groban has a lot to learn about songwriting. It’s a neat excursion into several different languages and styles, but as a whole, Illuminations seems like a collection of songs rather than a true album.

Josh Groban is a mind blowing vocalist, but he simply doesn’t come across as a true musical artist. The songs featured here, (as in the songs he wrote) just fall flat. They’re melodramatic and cheesey (“Galileo” is quite literally laughable), and seem so contrived. Yet it is difficult to criticize the man too harshly. He has his niche audience, made up of a wide variety of people from all walks of life, and they absolutely adore him. It really is great to see someone on the charts with such talent, as Groban really is an outstanding performer, but as an artist he is far too weak to be anything more than a novelty.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 26th 2010


screw you josh groban

November 26th 2010


So avant-garde, it doesn't even have a tracklisting.

Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2010


I can't say "fucking" in a review?

No you can't. But you CAN say fucking though.

Great review Xeno. You don't mention a single song by name (ordinarily this would be a problem, no?) but you pulled it off very well here. It might also be worth it to juxtapose the two non-self-penned tracks with the rest - just to identify any leaps/changes in quality, if any.

And like JustJoe I do wonder where the tracklisting went.

November 26th 2010


Oh for FUCK's sake

For the Dylan parody/homage on the cover, Groban must die by my hands.

November 26th 2010


record store ,
praise from critics ,

You've probably noticed that when you review you tend to put an extra space before your commas. Good review though! Btw, I can't believe you reviewed a Josh Groban album hahaha!

November 26th 2010


Josh Groban makes me want to smash things. His voice is more gratingly inoffensive than Michael Bublé's..

Good review bro.

December 9th 2010


I was at work and I heard him singing Straight to You by Nick Cave I was like WTFFFFF

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