JOE McElderry’s second album hits the shops a week today, and while fans are clamouring for their first listen of Classic, the Gazette has managed to get its hands on a copy.
At just over 40 minutes long it may be short, but it is a complete album.
I love Joe’s debut album Wide Awake, but while listening to this I have to admit I wasn’t waiting for a song to have a boogie to.
Maybe that’s because I’m another year older, but it’s more likely because these songs really suit Joe’s voice.
While classical, I would not say it’s also operatic. It’s like Joe has merged his two sounds together. X Factor meets Popstar to Operastar.
The balladeer is back and, with every listen, Classic gets better and better!
Here’s a track-by-track review of the album:
Canto Della Terra: It’s easy to see why the record company and Joe chose this passionate track as the opener. The powerful crescendos and Joe’s pure voice certainly create a lump in the back of your throat. It’s a far cry away from debut album Wide Awake’s opener Ambitions and introduces the album perfectly. It feels like Joe walked into the studio, laid down the tracks and that’s how they came out, without much being done in post-production.
She Was Beautiful: Featuring classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic, this track, from the film The Deer Hunter, showcases the melodic quality of Joe’s voice. And although I loved his poppy eclectic sound on Wide Awake, songs like this one do uncover Syco’s album was lacking ballads.
Over The Rainbow: The Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of this song is one of my all-time favourite tracks, so I have to admit I was terrified at the thought of anyone attempting to do this justice – but it just suits Joe’s voice down to a tee. But having said that, the uptempo acoustic version is no carbon copy, and the accompaniment gives it a more classical sound. It’s on this track you really hear the difference opera has had on Joe’s diction, there’s no chance of misquoting these lyrics.
I Dreamed A Dream: The song which any musical lover will have loved from first hearing it. I did find it difficult to see how this one would fit into the album. Thankfully, it is somewhat stripped back and the orchestra is so beautiful on this track that this is totally Joe’s version of the song.
Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro): Andrea Bocelli’s signature track is something huge to live up to – and I have to say Joe manages to pull it off. His rivals may have sang this in Popstar to Operastar, but Joe has definitely claimed this one, putting his own stamp on it.
Il Mio Cuore Va (My Heart Will Go On): Mostly sang in Italian, this version of the Celine Dion classic is very emotive and pure. But I do wish it was sung all in Italian though. But maybe the few English lines give his fans an opportunity to warble along.
Hear My Prayer (Nessun Dorma): I have never heard this version of Nessun Dorma before and I’m so glad Joe’s brought it to our attention. The lyrics are beautiful and Joe brings the power of Nessun Dorma to the track.
Solitaire: A cover of the Neuil Sedaka standard. Again, this track show’s Joe a true balladeer.
Dance With My Father: This is the song I think most X Factor and Joe McElderry fans have been desperate for the 20-year-old to record, since they heard him sing it at his opening audition on the programme which made him a household name.
I’m sure every member of the McElderry Massive will love his beautiful version. I especially like the string accompaniment.
Va Pensiero: This Verdi piece reminds me of the type of song which would have been sang at the pianoforte in an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. The song again shows Joe’s fantastic range and versatility.
To Where You Are: This is a stunning track, which suits Joe’s voice entirely. Had it not been for the next track this gorgeous, emotive song would definitely have been my favourite. I can’t wait for his tour to hear him sing this live.
Nessun Dorma: Talk about finishing on a high! This track is sure to have helped Joe be crowned the winner of Popstar to Operastar and relaunch his career. It’s probably the best-known opera song in the world, and to tackle this was a bold move. “I’m so glad he did and even happier it’s on the album. It’s packed with emotion and perfect notes – and will undoubtedly induce a few tears.