Album: To Be Loved
Artist: Michael Buble
Released: April 22, 2013
RATING: 3.5 STARS
From the baby-faced stare of the self-titled Michael Buble, to the seductively moody film-noir vibe of Call Me Irresponsible, the pop-Sinatra of the 21st century returns with an unashamedly sexed-up offering. Observe the suave confidence with which Mr. Buble appears to be ripping his tie from his throat, and the obvious absence of a wedding ring…which features quite prominently in almost every other photo in the liner notes.
Once I’d stopped laughing at the obvious marketing ploys, I approached To Be Loved with suitably low expectations.
In some ways, I was justified: the more successful Buble gets, the more he can smuggle his own staggeringly ordinary love ballads into an album that is otherwise full of beautiful classics. With the notable exception of the high-hitting single It’s A Beautiful Day (an arrogant rant by a rejected dude, that somehow turns out ridiculously fun), the original tracks by Buble and co. are largely forgettable fillers. Not to be cruel: they’re rather nice fillers, but fillers nonetheless. It’s big, swinging numbers like You Make Me Feel So Young, Come Dance With Me and Nevertheless (I’m In Love With You) that make the album solid. Add in an adorable rendition of You’ve Got A Friend In Me and you’re pretty set.
As always, Buble does best when he’s singing covers…solo. While old pals Naturally 7 provide a rich layer of harmonies in Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, Bryan Adams does nothing to help the tacky rhymes of original After All (“excited” and delighted” just don’t have class, sorry) and Reese Witherspoon by any other name would have been just as forgettable a Nancy Sinatra substitute in Somethin’ Stupid.
However, between the fluffy pop and guest vocals we didn’t pay to listen to, To Be Loved manages to give a hefty whack of sassy jazz, Sinatra suave, swingin’ brass and raucous refrains. Perhaps it’s only fair to stem the criticism and accept the album as the artist obviously intended it: to be loved.
While you’re reading this,
listen dance to: Come Dance With Me