Awake

Awake

4.4 64
by Josh Groban
     
 

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Drawing on the gifts of artists like Dave Matthews and Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, and enlisting talents as disparate as Herbie Hancock and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Josh Groban reaches new heightsSee more details below

Overview

Drawing on the gifts of artists like Dave Matthews and Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, and enlisting talents as disparate as Herbie Hancock and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Josh Groban reaches new heights with his third album, Awake. Groban's large cadre of fans have eagerly anticipated this follow-up to 2003's Closer, and Awake doesn't meddle with its predecessor's formula. Once again Groban is paired with hitmaking producer David Foster, and he assays a varied set of soaring, lyrical songs in number of languages, some written by Groban himself. The guest stars, while never overshadowing the young crooner, add both variety and the deft touch of experience -- on the pair of South Africa-inspired songs with Ladysmith Black Mambazo (one co-written by Matthews) and on the rhythmically incisive "Machine," with jazz great Hancock on keyboard. Groban tries his own hand at the piano on the expressive "February Song" (co-written by Ondrasik), while other instrumental flourishes, like the evocative Spanish guitar that opens "Un Día Llegará" and the cello solo on "Un Giorno Per Noi" (Nino Rota's Romeo and Juliet theme), provide colorful support for the singer's rich vocals. Groban is at his most inspirational in the single "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)," offering comforting words for troubled souls, while a separately available special edition of the album features a pair of extra tracks as well as a "making-of" video on a companion DVD.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Longtime fans of Josh Groban should be pleased to know that the vocalist's third studio album, Awake, features more of the polished, well-crafted, and emotionally grand classical crossover pop he has become known for. In fact, the album is perhaps his most appealing and deviates little from his previous outings. Here listeners get a mix of original songs -- some co-written by Groban -- that trade between more classical/opera-oriented songs sung in Italian and more pop-oriented songs in English. Interestingly, the tracks co-penned by Groban are some of the most compelling, and showcase his knack for a kind of '60s Scott Walker baroque pop meets '80s Diane Warren adult contemporary vibe. This brings up the only problem with Awake, which is that as Groban's music has moved closer and closer to pop, the necessity of utilizing Italian becomes increasingly nebulous. Truthfully, barring any awkward translations, most of these songs would sound fine sung in English and generally come off as very good Italian pop songs. So, despite being quite listenable, from a mainstream pop point of view the use of Italian is great for lending the album a sheen of pan-European classical regality, but in some ways limits the emotional impact of the songs to only those who understand Italian. None of this really matters, though, to fans of Groban, who justifiably respond to his superb technique, silky tone, and bedroom eyes. It doesn't hurt either that he's brought along some unexpected guests this time around in the African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, appearing here on two tracks, as well as legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, who shows up on the angular and half-funky "Machine." It's also great to hear Groban dig into an adaptation of "Un Giorno Per Noi," Nino Rota's theme to Franco Zeffirelli's classic 1968 film Romeo and Juliet. The song, as Awake itself, is a grand collision of pop culture and co-opted classical themes from then and now, and perfectly embodies everything that has made Groban so successful.
Billboard - Chuck Taylor
On "Awake," Groban bounds forward via a handful of innovative collaborations.... "Awake" is a retail and artistic titan.
Los Angeles Daily News - Fred Shuster
Aficionados of classical-pop singer Groban's mellifluous voice will be impressed with his third album's skillfully made, richly varied set of new songs.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/07/2006
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0093624443520
catalogNumber:
44435
Rank:
5243

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Josh Groban   Primary Artist,Piano,Drums,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Tower of Power   Brass
Tom Scott   Horn
David Foster   Keyboards
Ian Thomas   Drums
Michael Thompson   Guitar
Glen Ballard   Keyboards
David Campbell   Conductor
Matt Chamberlain   Drums
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Marius de Vries   Piano,Keyboards
Nathan East   Bass,Bass Guitar
Anton Fig   Drums
Nick Lane   Horn
Robbie McIntosh   Guitar
Vincent Nguini   Guitar
Dean Parks   Guitar
Tim Pierce   Guitar
Frank Ricotti   Percussion,Vibes
Ramon Stagnaro   Guitar
Lee Thornburg   Horn
Greg Vail   Horn
Sean Hurley   Bass,Keyboards
Trevor Barry   Bass
Joel Shearer   Guitar
Michael Hart Thompson   Guitar
Eric Mouquet   Keyboards
Walter Afanasieff   Piano
Greg Adams   Horn
Vusi Mahlasela   Background Vocals
Bakithi Kumalo   Bass,Vocals
Chris Elliott   Dulcimer,Piano
Imogen Heap   Piano,Mbira
Anna Ross   Background Vocals
James Freebarin-Smith   Cello,Soloist
Fiona Hibbert   Harp
Blair Sinta   Percussion
Susie Suh   Background Vocals
Kaitlyn Barton   Tambourine
Tawgs Salter   Bass,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards
Jochem van der Saag   Synthesizer

Technical Credits

Nino Rota   Composer
David Foster   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Claudia Brant   Composer
Glen Ballard   Producer,Audio Production
John Brough   Engineer
David Campbell   Orchestral Arrangements
Scott Campbell   Engineer
Marius de Vries   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Orchestral Arrangements,Audio Production
Humberto Gatica   Producer,Engineer
Mark Hammond   Composer
Marco Marinangeli   Composer
Alejandro Rodriguez   Engineer
Guy Sigsworth   Vocal Producer
Simon Hale   String Arrangements
Eric Mouquet   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
William Ross   Arranger,String Conductor
Greg Adams   Horn Arrangements
John Ondrasik   Composer
Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff   Art Direction
Dave Bassett   Composer
David Channing   Engineer
Chris Elliott   Orchestral Arrangements
Imogen Heap   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Alexis Smith   Programming,Effects Programming
Andy Selby   Composer
Andrea Sandrei   Composer
Asher Lenz   Composer
Josh Groban   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Debbi Datz Pyle   String Contractor
Jeff Cohen   Composer
Ellen Wakayama   Art Direction
David Romano   Vocal Coach
Jason Boshoff   Programming
Adam Crossley   Composer
Thomas Salter   Composer
Gina Zimmitti   String Contractor
Tawgs Salter   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Gary Thomsa   Engineer
Matt Taylor   Art Direction
Larry Kusik   Composer
Jochem van der Saag   Programming,Engineer,Sound Design

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