Illuminations

Studio Album by released in 2010
Illuminations's tracklist:
The Wandering Kind (Prelude)
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Bells of New York City
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Galileo (Someone Like You)
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L'ora dell'addio
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Hidden Away
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Au jardin des sans-pourquoi
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Higher Window
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If I Walk Away
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Love Only Knows
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Voce Existe Em Mim
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War at Home
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London Hymn
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Straight to You
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Illuminations review

Illuminations is not just another Groban’s album

Josh Groban has not turned thirty yet, but he has already got a number of brilliant albums in his collection, each having its unique beauty. Apparently, the artist, who possesses one of the modern world’s most colorful and remarkable voices, is deeply in love with music and saves no time or efforts on it. He was so much involved in the studio work in 2007 that he released two albums that year all together. However, the following new long player was ready after quite a while of waiting. We do not count A Collection (2008); and the follow-up, Illuminations surfaced only in the autumn of 2010, which means the making was a long process consuming particular vigor and effort. It is not an album that should be seen as a turning point in Groban’s career. The record has many things we could expect from the singer and few things that might seem surprising. Nevertheless, the vocalist himself stated in numerous interviews prior to the release of Illuminations that during his work on the album he reconsider some detains in his song-writing approach and sing in a somewhat different manner.

A lot of serious tracks on Illuminations

Josh Groban's Illuminations kicks off with quite an audacious track, an instrumental piece called The Wandering Kind (Prelude). The trick is that Josh penned the main theme when he was only twelve. But when you are listening to this piano passage you do not even want to know who wrote it or when it was written, so nice it is. The first consistent song here is Bells Of New York City, a sad number putting a veil over some memories or associations one would be happy not let inside the mind. It seems like after settling down in New York the singer keeps missing his home soil. Galileo (Someone Like You), looking like a praise song to the established astronomer, is much more life-inspiring. The track does not give a single hit that it is about that very scientist, but it does build pleasant pictures of walking in the starlit sky. However, the majority of the Illuminations tracks bear a serious message and hardly sound like Christmas themes or love ballads. Hidden Away, for instance, in the beginning seems like a simple song with a simple and sweet tune, but the lyrics are about how difficult it is to find a way for self-expression and be honest with oneself and the people around.

Music adjustments caused by the lyrics

Another uneasy song with a text to think about is War At Home, a dedication to all those families whose members go through military campaign and struggle with the consequences. Besides, Josh Groban once again demonstrated his desire and actual ability to sing in foreign languages as he did it in Italian ((L’Ora Dell Addio) and French ((Au Jardin Des Sans-Pourquoi). Then what is it that makes Illuninations differ from the records the American singer used to offer before? The instrumental part of these compositions turned plainer and almost completely stripped off percussion and outlined basses. The average tempo is pretty low, while Groban’s voice grew more melancholic and depressed. The synthesis of classic and pop music started to reveal some influence of folk as well. It is highly likely that Josh applied all these adjustments as he wanted the listener to focus on the lyrics of the new songs many of which touch upon serious matters. Nevertheless, Josh Groban remains what he was with his voice still easily picked up out of a multitude. Illuminations is a CD only this guy could make.