Off Topic Messages

The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:18 pm

If you are mad enough to do your Christmas shopping on the high street rather than via the internet, you will be bombarded with Christmas music through speakers everywhere. But over the last couple of years, an extra voice has been added to those seemingly played on repeat in each shop. Alongside Elvis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Andy Williams...is Michael Buble.

I admit that when I first heard Buble, he bored me. Sure, he had a nice voice and a cute smile, but the arrangements were literally the same ones that Sinatra, Darin and others had used decades before. Slowly but surely that changed, and Crazy Love was a marked improvement over his previous efforts. The arrangements were novel and/or exciting - and the intro to his version of Cry Me A River has been used so often that it is now instantly recognisable. What's more, the vocals were more self-assured with a move away from pure swing to a style that often attempts to add rockier elements into the mix as well.

Harry Connick Jr must have been seething. When Connick was sleep-walking his way through a couple of dull albums of easy listening standards, Buble came along and stole the act he had a decade earlier - taking old standards and rethinking them in often slightly-left field arrangements.

Buble's Christmas album is considerably more successful than any of Connick's three attempts at seasonal LPs - his first one caused my entire household to rename him Harry Chronic for a number of years, it was so bad. What has made Buble's become what appears to be an instant Yueltide classic is that it does just enough to make the songs Buble's without taking away the original intent of the material. It is, basically, a 1950s Christmas album made in 2011. The material is, for the most part, traditional fare and the opening It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas sets the scene well with its lush orchestration.

The album stands out when compared to recent yueltide offerings that should have hit the mark with their intended audiences - with Bieber's Christmas album released at the same time seeming remarkably vapid - simply because it harks back to the albums that we all have grown up with and pays tribute to them. White Christmas is based on the Drifters version (that Presley was inspired by) but then includes a hard-swinging instrumental section. Blue Christmas is the highlight and is transformed into a brilliant New Orleans jazz-styled romp that is an absolute blast - ironically Connick had used a similar arrangement for Cry Me A River on his Come By Me album a decade or so earlier. As with other Buble albums, he is better when handling swing material, with the pop-style material being rather forgettable in his hands. But, luckily, there are only a couple of these tracks on the album.

It seems ironic that, despite the majority of these arrangements being newly written for the album, Buble has never sounded more like Sinatra - particularly in tracks like It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas and I'll Be Home For Christmas, although Sinatra never did anything like the arrangement of Blue Christmas here. Buble can be more difficult to watch, with it sometimes being very awkward to ascertain whether he is being sincere, taking the p*ss or tipsy. He seems at his most sincere here, and the album is a deserved success.

The album is extremely good, the arrangements often stunning, the material traditional and the vocals sincere. Such a shame, then, that commercialism over-rides all of this with the album being re-released in a deluxe edition with a couple of extra tracks in an attempt to get people to buy the thing twice.

Ah, the sound of cash-tills. Now, that's one of the real sounds of Christmas.

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Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:25 pm

nice post Peter.....

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:07 am

Thank you.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:36 am

Thanks Pete. Until you posted his Blue Xmas video I never even heard of him. He's good!

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:37 am

I think Sinatra would have loved this kid.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:48 am

Robt wrote:Thanks Pete. Until you posted his Blue Xmas video I never even heard of him. He's good!



That's a little bit amazing. The guy has been one of the best selling singers in the world for the best part of a decade.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:59 am

I like his xmas album

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:30 am

He's not bad. Any holiday music is welcome this time of year, and I can listen to just about all.

New to me thanks.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:49 am

poormadpeter wrote:If you are mad enough to do your Christmas shopping on the high street rather than via the internet, you will be bombarded with Christmas music through speakers everywhere. But over the last couple of years, an extra voice has been added to those seemingly played on repeat in each shop. Alongside Elvis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Andy Williams...is Michael Buble.

I admit that when I first heard Buble, he bored me. Sure, he had a nice voice and a cute smile, but the arrangements were literally the same ones that Sinatra, Darin and others had used decades before. Slowly but surely that changed, and Crazy Love was a marked improvement over his previous efforts. The arrangements were novel and/or exciting - and the intro to his version of Cry Me A River has been used so often that it is now instantly recognisable. What's more, the vocals were more self-assured with a move away from pure swing to a style that often attempts to add rockier elements into the mix as well.

Harry Connick Jr must have been seething. When Connick was sleep-walking his way through a couple of dull albums of easy listening standards, Buble came along and stole the act he had a decade earlier - taking old standards and rethinking them in often slightly-left field arrangements.

Buble's Christmas album is considerably more successful than any of Connick's three attempts at seasonal LPs - his first one caused my entire household to rename him Harry Chronic for a number of years, it was so bad. What has made Buble's become what appears to be an instant Yueltide classic is that it does just enough to make the songs Buble's without taking away the original intent of the material. It is, basically, a 1950s Christmas album made in 2011. The material is, for the most part, traditional fare and the opening It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas sets the scene well with its lush orchestration.

The album stands out when compared to recent yueltide offerings that should have hit the mark with their intended audiences - with Bieber's Christmas album released at the same time seeming remarkably vapid - simply because it harks back to the albums that we all have grown up with and pays tribute to them. White Christmas is based on the Drifters version (that Presley was inspired by) but then includes a hard-swinging instrumental section. Blue Christmas is the highlight and is transformed into a brilliant New Orleans jazz-styled romp that is an absolute blast - ironically Connick had used a similar arrangement for Cry Me A River on his Come By Me album a decade or so earlier. As with other Buble albums, he is better when handling swing material, with the pop-style material being rather forgettable in his hands. But, luckily, there are only a couple of these tracks on the album.

It seems ironic that, despite the majority of these arrangements being newly written for the album, Buble has never sounded more like Sinatra - particularly in tracks like It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas and I'll Be Home For Christmas, although Sinatra never did anything like the arrangement of Blue Christmas here. Buble can be more difficult to watch, with it sometimes being very awkward to ascertain whether he is being sincere, taking the p*ss or tipsy. He seems at his most sincere here, and the album is a deserved success.

The album is extremely good, the arrangements often stunning, the material traditional and the vocals sincere. Such a shame, then, that commercialism over-rides all of this with the album being re-released in a deluxe edition with a couple of extra tracks in an attempt to get people to buy the thing twice.

Ah, the sound of cash-tills. Now, that's one of the real sounds of Christmas.

phpBB [video]



This was what came to my mind when I watched a Christmas special with him (probably from last year?) a few days ago. No doubt that the man has a good voice...but it did seem a bit "boring".

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:10 am

Thanks. That arrangement is just amazing! I can imagine it being played at a party, and people hitting the floor for some real old-fashioned style dancing! Always prefer the New Orleans sound to any other kind of jazz that followed, so maybe I'm biased.

I don't hear Sinatra in him, not in this track anyway. Would have to hear the album. I had heard of him, but that's all: just heard of him. At this time of year, people prefer their holiday music old-school. I think that's just a plain fact. Now, of course, some of the classic R&B and rock arrangements have become real classics, too. Maybe even more than the classic stuff, in some cases. (The Spector album, Elvis's album, Motown, some great '50s cuts like the Drifters {don't forget "The Bells of St. Mary's"!}, the Beach Boys, and some soul Christmas material as well {Otis Redding's "White Christmas" is still startling: it captures the bleakest holiday anyone could even imagine} -- all of those are now classics.) But people will always gravitate to Bing, and Dino, Andy Williams, and their holiday classics.

rjm
P.S. -- Seems like the right time: a "high street" is more like "downtown" or is it like "Main Street"? I thought I had it figured out, but now I'm not so sure. Back when I lived in Huntington, NY, they played Christmas music in the street - which is called "Huntington Village." It has an old-timey "Main Street" feel. In the bigger towns and cities, we generally speak of "Downtown" -- and that tends to mean the hub of the town or city. That was in the '80s - when the music was in the street; I dunno if they still do it. Only place they have the music out here is in the malls. I sure would love to see carolers! (And the piped out music, too, while you go from store to store.) :smt114

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:25 am

Wow, that was terrific. I'm not familiar with his work but will certainly pick this up. I like his style.

Thanks so much for posting this!

Bob

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Thu May 02, 2013 3:52 am

His music is nice, but he uses a lot of autotune that he doesn't need.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 5:01 pm

episthebest wrote:His music is nice, but he uses a lot of autotune that he doesn't need.

He has been interviewed about that, and says that he only uses it on his pop recordings - almost as an effect - but not on his ballads and so on.

You can hear it on his new single.

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This is a live version of the same song, and you can really tell the difference.

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I like him, my wife can't stand him. That's the wrong way round, isn't it?

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 5:32 pm

The Pirate wrote:
This is a live version of the same song, and you can really tell the difference.

phpBB [video]



This performance from the Graham Norton Show a few weeks ago was not good at all.

He seemed to have a problem with his earpiece and wasn't comfortable.

Buble is a tremendous talent with a great voice.

Im seeing him this year at the O2 arena in London. :D

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 6:22 pm

Bodie wrote:
The Pirate wrote:
This is a live version of the same song, and you can really tell the difference.

phpBB [video]



This performance from the Graham Norton Show a few weeks ago was not good at all.

He seemed to have a problem with his earpiece and wasn't comfortable.

Buble is a tremendous talent with a great voice.

Im seeing him this year at the O2 arena in London. :D


Yes, agreed regarding the performance on Norton - but good for him for not being worried about it and just getting on with it rather than redoing it etc, which I'm sure is what most would have done. That said, he seemed very relaxed on Norton throughout the show!

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 6:46 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Bodie wrote:
The Pirate wrote:
This is a live version of the same song, and you can really tell the difference.

phpBB [video]



This performance from the Graham Norton Show a few weeks ago was not good at all.

He seemed to have a problem with his earpiece and wasn't comfortable.

Buble is a tremendous talent with a great voice.

Im seeing him this year at the O2 arena in London. :D


Yes, agreed regarding the performance on Norton - but good for him for not being worried about it and just getting on with it rather than redoing it etc, which I'm sure is what most would have done. That said, he seemed very relaxed on Norton throughout the show!


Yes, i enjoyed his interview with Norton and he was really funny.

Amanda Holden tried to steal the limelight from both Michael Buble and Jack Dee and she came over as really annoying.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 6:53 pm

I saw him to.
A month ago during the recording of a tv program where he was a guest on.
He had to go from the netherlands (here) to australia to then get back to Germany. His performance of this song wasn't good mostley cause of the lack of sleep i guess.

Checkout his performance in germany 2 days after i saw him, and what he says after his performance.


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Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 9:25 pm

It took Buble' some time to find his own identity and become less dependent on charts written for - and established by - Frank Sinatra, despite always showing promise and a good voice. His rise to fame and international success has been quite incredible, certainly in respect to his chart-runs and hit-making ability. He still frequents the standards, and rightfully so, although I get the impression that he's found a niche and is sticking with it. Especially when comparing his latest single, It's a Beautiful Day, to something like I Haven't Found You Yet. But I agree that he's a fine talent, most likeable and a wonderful performer. And with a bright future ahead, I might add -- especially if he remains creative and takes the occasional chance with his music. His version of Blue Christmas being a prime example of that. I'm looking forward to his contribution to Robbie Williams' forthcoming album of standards.

Re: The Curious Case of Michael Buble

Fri May 03, 2013 10:11 pm

sadly I think the new album is something of a let down, with the arrangements of the standards too close to what has already been done with them before. These aren't reworkings of Sinatra songs, but fine-tuning of them, and you kind of wonder what the point it is. Very disappointing. I saw the Norton show on its repeat, after I had bought the album and wondered for a moment if he was serious when he said it was crap. Obviously he wasnt, and there are some nice moments on the album, but it does feel rushed and almost clinical in its execution. Buble stated that his previous two albums had, in the main, been recorded "live" with the orchestra in the studio. Part of me wonder if that method was dispensed with here, hence the rather bland end result.