Sunday, August 12, 2012

Josh Groban • Olympic Anthem

Josh Groban

Okay, while it is not really an Olympic anthem, when Josh Groban sings "Anthem" from the musical Chess, it does take on Olympic qualities. And since tonight is the final night of the Games of the XXX Olympiad, I thought I would offer up my last tribute, of sorts, to the games and the athletes. But back to the immediate topic, Chess was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, with lyrics by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice. and the song closes the first act with such beauty and strength, it is hard to top. This is Groban singing Anthem at a Concert version of the show at London's Royal Albert Hall in 2008.

I have admitted before and shall again, I am sure, that I am a fan of Josh's beautiful voice. His early music was a hybrid of sorts, with David Foster putting Classical compositions and Adult Contemporary arrangements in a food processor, and seeing what springs forth. In some of his later albums, Groban has taken more ownership of the music, writing some of it himself. Take, for example, the track "Machine" from the album Awake. It was written by Josh along with Eric Mouquet and Dave Bassett, and featured the immensely talented Herbie Hancock. The song had a nice jazz-fueled feel. After watching the Olympics and seeing great athletes like Michael Phelps, I thought this song would be appropriate.

There is a beauty to the song "Let Me Fall", first recorded as part of his eponymous debut album. The song was written by James Corcoran and Benoît Jutrasto be a part the Cirque Du Soleil show Quidam. This was typical of the early music, allowing Groban's voice to ground the ethereal and expansive music. This is another song I think is near perfect for the Olympic competitors.

I will end with another song I think just exceptional for the Games and those taking part in them. "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" was written by Thomas Salter and was off the album Awake. With the opening lines "Don't give up, it's just the weight of the world when your heart's heavy. I...I will lift it for you", I would think that is what many of the athletes competing in the Olympics will want to hear. This is the official music video for the song, which made it to #9 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

It is tough to argue with the amazing success of the man. In the last 11 years, he has sold of 21 million albums in the United States alone. You can purchase Awake on iTunes and Amazon. You can also purchase his self-titled 2001 debut on iTunes and Amazon. As of when I am writing this, both can be purchased much cheaper on Amazon, for under $7.00. For more about Josh Groban, visit his official website. He is also quite active and fun on Twitter, or you can "like" him on Facebook.

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