Illuminations

Illuminations

3.4 47
by Josh Groban
     
 
Josh Groban breaks new ground with his long-awaited fifth studio album, Illuminations. The album is the result of Groban's unexpected but stimulating collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, known for his work with Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks, and many others.

This partnership saw both Groban and Rubin stepping out of

Overview

Josh Groban breaks new ground with his long-awaited fifth studio album, Illuminations. The album is the result of Groban's unexpected but stimulating collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, known for his work with Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks, and many others.

This partnership saw both Groban and Rubin stepping out of their respective comfort zones. Groban tapped into a new range of expression with lyrics drawn straight from the heart. The lead song "Hidden Away," one of six co-written by Groban and Dan Wilson (of Semisonic), provides an emotional center, highlighting the natural gifts of Groban as a singer and writer.

"These are my stories," says Groban, who co-wrote eleven of the thirteen songs on the album. "For every one of these songs, someone's going to know it's about them. I'm going to get a text message about every one! This is a very personal record."

Elsewhere, Groban makes his first foray into singing Portuguese on the vibrant "Voce Existe Em Mim (You Exist In Me);" returns to the more familiar Italian language with "L'Ora Dell'Addio" (a lush collaboration with the great composer/arranger Walter Afanasieff and lyricist Marco Marinagneli); paints a loving portrait of the Big Apple with "The Bells of New York City;" and offers his own, highly personal take on Nick Cave's poetic and passionate "Straight to You."

"Josh is a one-of-a-kind artist and he works in a genre I have never worked in before," says Rubin. "So there was a great excitement discovering our 'way in' to get to his essence and make a fine art album unlike any he has made before."

Rubin devised a setting to maximize the spontaneity of the performances, recording live with Groban playing piano and singing alongside acoustic guitarists Matt Sweeney and Smokey Hormel. Organist Spooner Oldham also plays on several tracks. Orchestrations were crafted by David Campbell and James Newton-Howard, while Brazilian great Carlinhos Brown created the dynamic setting for "Voce Existe Em Mim (You Exist In Me)," powered by an all-girl drum corps.

Illuminations was three years in the making. "I was given the very lofty task of having more responsibility on this album than I've ever had," says Groban. "The bar was set high from the beginning. That's why it took so long. But I can say that more of me went into this record than anything I've done."

The Barnes & Noble Exclusive edition includes a 36-page booklet with photos, a $10 gift card to Josh's online store, and the ability to unlock a streaming concert! From the Label

Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2010
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0093624964964
catalogNumber:
524833
Rank:
3862

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Illuminations 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Tardiscrewmember More than 1 year ago
though at the time of this review only a single (Hidden Away) is out and not the whole album, the single blew me away. Plus, Josh Groban is like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with age!
congwen More than 1 year ago
It seems that many customers here gave their reviews based on what they have heard from the 4 preview songs. I would say, if you are really a big Grobanite as you claimed to be, please give him the respect and patience he deserves; at least review on a complete album, not just 4/13 of it. That said, I'm giving my review after the fourth listen to the whole album (for people wondering how it is possible by Nov. 15, please check Josh's Facebook page). Two words, ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. If I didn't listen to the whole thing, I would probably agree with many other reviewers. "Hidden Away" was, in my opinion, mediocre at best; "Voce Existe Em Mim" is better for its refreshing drums, but I can see why some people dislike it. "Higher Window" is good to listen, but not too special. "L'Ora Dell'Addio" is a beautiful piece with that familiar operatic flavor, again, not too special. With these thoughts, I pressed the play button for the album... And was totally awe-struck after 3 minutes of listening. I used to be very skeptical about people making a big deal of track ordering, but this album just shows me that track orders do matter. Even though I think "Hidden Away" is a weak track, I don't want to skip it when I'm listening - this album just has that nice flow, making me want to listen from the very first minute to the last. When I fit the puzzles of preview songs into the big picture, they sound better than they used to. The album demonstrates how a good album should be - a collection of songs built around one concept, but each has its own flavor. (I wrote about the songs, but the review exceeded the character limit, so I had to delete them...) My favorite songs in the album: Bells of New York City, Galileo and War at Home. This is one of the rare albums where I cannot find any song I dislike. Even with my long time favorite "Closer", I can pick one or two. In this sense, I should probably list "Illuminations" as my favorite Josh's album so far. True that the songs seem not to have that mind blowing power as some old Josh's songs do - and I think they are not supposed to be. The songs in "Illuminations" are more introspective, and more refined. They take more times of listening, but once they are awake, they will grow on you. I find it rather sad that some people regard Josh merely as a singer. If you only want to listen to good voices, you can find a bunch out there. What makes Josh special is his passion and emotion. Surely we can't go through what Josh has been through, but if there isn't his experience and emotions in those songs in the first place, how can we get these out of them and be moved? The older albums were artistically beautiful, but this one definitely has more soul in it. In this recording, I really hear the maturing of this musician. Yes, I mean musician. Have I mentioned that he wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 13 songs? This album is a showcase of his musicianship, and a well executed one. Combining the skillful song writing, the brilliant voice, and the smart arrangement, Josh delivers yet another great album. Overall, I'm more than content to see that Josh becomes an outstanding musician. Accomplished as he is, he's still venturing to new territory - in the music world, this is what keeps a musician young. "Illumination" is a brave and thoughtful move, and deserves to be appreciated and embraced. So, go your own way, Josh, and I will follow you!
Josie227 More than 1 year ago
So far with this & the song previews at his official site I am not loving Josh's new stuff. The lyrics seem to be sound enough & I can appreciate he co-wrote most of the songs & the orchestration sounds very good, but not loving Josh's falsetto parts. Voce Existe Em Mim drums sound like a high school marching band & tear down Josh's voice. Overall, just ok. I do hope he returns to David Foster as that was some of his best work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will always like listening to Josh Groban's music...but the real problem with great singers is the trouble they get into when they want control over their choices of music. Humans grow and change and they want their music to reflect that...however, great producers,like Foster, should be the ones choosing the music,and the singers should come in and just sing their best. We, the listeners, are not going through the life changes Josh is going through, so who cares about this music? His upper register is having problems,especially the falsetto. Please, Josh, go back to the wonderful innocence and exquisite mystery of your first albums. Get rid of this producer...go back to Foster and let him pick the music.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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lauraf94 More than 1 year ago
I recently saw Josh in concert, and although his live performances are even more spectacular than his recordings, his voice is matched by no one. His soothing, rich baritone voice melts your heart as you hear some of the most beautiful songs ever sung by him. Josh Groban is my favorite artist of all time, and YOU MUST OWN THIS ALBUM.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Betsy1776 More than 1 year ago
I am terribly disappointed with this CD. If I could return it and get my money back, I would. I like Josh Groban and have purchased several of his previous CD's. This CD sounds like an amateurish, feeble attempt, by someone with an iffish talent trying to make it. It's pretty sad when someone who works for or with him doesn't tell him how awful something sounds before it is released. I am embarrassed for him. If I could give this review a minus rating, I would. And next time I will be sure to listen to one or two of the songs and read the reviews before I make a purchase. I won't trust the artist anymore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This creates a totally different mood than his past work (which has always been excellent). He seems to give more of himself both in the writing and in the performance. His singing is always beautiful but I think there is more emotion and power throughout this CD. His falsetto is crystal clear, right on the mark, and adds excitement to the songs. I love his classical work but hope to hear more of this style as well. Beautifully done - Congratulations!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After having a couple favorites listening the first time around, there are those songs on this album that have quickly become favotires as well. Very well done showcasing the simplistic artistry and creativity that this voice can express. I absolutely love this album!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this album. The words in each song paint a beautiful mental picture. Every line is descriptive, heart felt and the music draws you in. This album does carry a slightly different tone from his previous albums,as it seems to sound more melancholy, but I like it. The drums in Voce Existe Em Mim are amazing! Personally, I think Josh did a marvelous job with this album and I definitely recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
on my headphones (old school). Bells of New York is a beautiful song; also Galileo - I love the ending - I do not agree with the reviewer about Josh's falsetto. However, he is having trouble supporting the notes containing a long e - those particular notes are reedy and breathy and too bright. I must admit, I am usually moved to tears by at least one of his songs - that is not happening this time, but that needn't be a criterion for enjoyment of this wonderful album. L'Ora Dell'Addio - excellent. I can do without Hidden Away, but the rest of the album is great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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ICPForever101 More than 1 year ago
this album stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with many of the other comments, HELP David Foster!!!!!! I truly respect Josh's desire to 'branch out and do something he has been wanting to do' -- but Josh has such a voice that is angelic when singing traditional songs and ballads -- that is his TRUE calling! I have been a fan since the beginning of his career, I will however, put this CD on the shelf. I can HONESTLY say that I did NOT LIKE ONE OF THE SONGS! Such a dissappointment to the fans. Josh is capable of GREAT things, and this ALBUM is not one of them. Sorry, but please go back to David Foster, he is one of the seven wonders of the world.
Eve89 More than 1 year ago
When Hidden Away was released as a single I was extremely excited for this album. I pre-ordered it and couldn't wait for the release date... and then it came. I just have one question now: why, Josh, why? I am a huge fan, but not of this. I can say that I sincerely love one song and like three on Illuminations. The rest I give full permission to disappear from my iTunes. I would like the old Josh back, oh, and David Foster. In the meantime it looks like I'm going to have to wait three more years for Josh to fully redeem himself. And don't even get me started on the Hidden Away music video, which fully destroyed my initial appreciation for the song.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago