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Music review: Noel by Josh Groban

Music review: Noel by Josh Groban

Music review: Noel by Josh Groban

16 December 2017

Reviewed by Jessica Morris

Singer Josh Groban is known for bridging the gap between classical tones and pop.

His version of You Raise Me Up went gangbusters after its release in 2003, prompting performances in front of Oprah and at the Superbowl. So when it comes to singing Christmas carols, it’s little wonder the baritone (with tenor tendencies) delivers it masterfully. 

In this deluxe edition of his 2007 holiday album, we are given 19 tracks of majestic, Christmas cheer. And even people who thumb their nose at ‘too much’ Christmas music will struggle to find fault with this release. Traditional favourites like Silent Night and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear are delivered with the love and awe they deserve, and backed by an orchestra and top-notch production, you will feel the embers of Christmas spirit begin to rise up in you again. 

Groban isn’t afraid to mix traditional carols with beloved operatic masterpieces, and his rendition of Ave Maria and nuanced delivery of Papa Petit Noel are stunning. Sure, opera isn’t for everyone (myself included), but he makes it work and each track flows seamlessly into the next.

If this wasn’t enough, pop Christmas songs are also included on the album and (wait for it), they’re actually good. Maybe it’s Groban’s angelic voice, or the way he delivers The Christmas Song with the same gusto as Oh Come All Ye Faithful, but you’ll find yourself singing along with a bravado that rivals any celebrity on the stage at Carols in the Domain.

Highlights include numerous duets – soul legend Brian McKnight joins Groban for an acoustic rendition of Angels We Have Heard on High, while country singer Faith Hill adds a lightness to The First Noel. He is also backed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a cinematic-esque version of O Come All Yeah Faithful and sings with Tony Bennett in Christmas Is Here.

Between all the Christmas carols and guest vocalists, it does feel it a little overwhelming. But if you’re going to celebrate Christmas, you may as well do it with enthusiasm and class – and that’s exactly what Josh Groban’s Noël will bring to your holiday season.

Play this and you’ll instantly be transported to a moment that celebrates the majesty and holiness of Christ’s birth, with a nod to the fun that comes with December 25 as well.

Noël (Deluxe Edition) is available on iTunes now. The 2007 version is also available at  Koorong.

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