Friday, November 15, 2013

Il Divo Be Illin' (Album Review: Il Divo, A Musical Affair)

It's a Friday night and I was up for some unwinding and relaxation, so I instinctively put on Il Divo's new album "A Musical Affair,"  their newest album which is a collection of songs from Broadway musicals. I glance at the track listing and rolled my eyes. The song selection is on the uninspired side: songs that we have heard over and over. Can they inject some freshness into these? Well, yes, I think they did a good enough job. The arrangements, though conventional, is not tinny, thanks to the lush sounds of The Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. These four gentlemen fill the big pieces well, and the soars are high that you cannot help but be swept away by them. At times, I felt like I was hearing songs like "Tonight," or "You'll Never Walk Alone" for the first time. I was especially enchanted by "Some Enchanted Evening," as they were able to splice some sentimental shavings into the song. But I feel the real star of the album is its roster of name guests. My favorite is Heather Headley singing with them on "Can You Feel The Love Tonight." I think Headley is one of those singers who can breathe life and nuance to the phone book. Even Nicole Schezinger comes out great on "Memory," as trite as that song is. The duet with Barbra Streisand is nothing new, as devotees of hers have heard that from her 2006 Concert album. And Kristen Chenoweth shows her soprano chops in "All I Ask Of You," making the lyric "And Christine , that's all I ask of you" a little more poignant. I always criticize albums with boring song selections, but in this case, I think even the too-familiar can work. As long as the familiar is a loved familiar.

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