Awake came closer to putting me to sleep than any other album so far from the 26-year-old tenor heart-throb Josh Groban.

Most artists go through their early years trying to find “their sound”. However, Josh found his sound from day one, and the more he experiments the more he loses what drew people to his music in the first place.

His first, self-titled, album from 2001, while rough, was heartfelt and showcased his unusually rich and well-trained opera-quality tenor voice. 2003's Closer, his second album, showed a great deal of maturity in his song-writing, instrumental development, and vocal refinement, and was a near-perfect blend of the sincerity and skill that first drew attention to him, and the experience that comes with practice.

Unfortunately, his third album, Awake, released in 2006, features more “pop”-influenced songs meant for top 50 radio play than his previous slow ballads, foreign-language songs, and operatic style. This change has Groban spending more time in the high end of his vocal range—even often in falsetto--and much of the deep, rich, resonating quality of his voice is lost. The tracks “You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)” and “In her Eyes” are particularly guilty of this. Even his foreign-language songs on this album seem carefully constructed to be more “approachable” to the average listener, and lose much of their depth.

Even the songwriting itself has, literally, a strong “top 50” influence—for this album, Groban collaborated on music and lyrics with many other artists including John Ondrasik of “Five for Fighting” and Dave Matthews. While Awake is entirely adequate in execution, much of the sound that sets Groban apart from any other young up-and-coming singer is missing.

Awake does have a few stand-out tracks, particularly “February Song”, which is very classically Groban. “Weeping”, an African anti-apartheid piece performed with “Ladysmith Black Mambazo”, is fantastic and uses Groban’s voice to its full potential.

Awake is by no means a bad album. . A listener who had never heard anything by Groban before would be quite pleased. When it stands alone, it’s quite a decent disk and enjoyable to listen to, and is still far better than the vast majority of what receives widespread airplay these days Only when compared to his first two albums does Awake sound a bit lack-luster, and a little, well, tired.

Track list:

1) Mai
2) You are Loved (Don't Give Up)
3) Un Dia Llegara
4) Febuary Song
5) L'Ultima Notte
6) So She Dances
7) In Her Eyes
8) Solo Por Ti
9) Now or Never
10) Un Giorno Per Noi
11) Lullaby (with Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
12) Weeping (with Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
13) Machine (with Herbie Hancock)

A*wake" (?), v. t. [imp. Awoke (?), Awaked (); p. p. Awaked; (Obs.) Awaken, Awoken; p. pr. & vb. n. Awaking. The form Awoke is sometimes used as a p. p.] [AS. awaecnan, v. i. (imp. awc), and awacian, v. i. (imp. awacode). See Awaken, Wake.]

1.

To rouse from sleep.; to wake; to awaken.

Where morning's earliest ray . . . awake her. Tennyson.

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us; we perish. Matt. viii. 25.

2.

To rouse from a state resembling sleep, as from death, stupidity., or inaction; to put into action; to give new life to; to stir up; as, to awake the dead; to awake the dormant faculties.

I was soon awaked from this disagreeable reverie. Goldsmith.

It way awake my bounty further. Shak.

No sunny gleam awakes the trees. Keble.

 

© Webster 1913.


A*wake" (?), v. i.

To cease to sleep; to come out of a state of natural sleep; and, figuratively, out of a state resembling sleep, as inaction or death.

The national spirit again awoke. Freeman.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not. 1 Cor. xv. 34.

 

© Webster 1913.


A*wake", a. [From awaken, old p. p. of awake.]

Not sleeping or lethargic; roused from sleep; in a state of vigilance or action.

Before whom awake I stood. Milton.

She still beheld, Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep. Keats.

He was awake to the danger. Froude.

 

© Webster 1913.

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