Operatic crooner, rock producer a perfect match?

Okay, on paper, it sounds pretty damned weird — operatic crooner Josh Groban rolling the dice on his just-released fifth album, “Illuminations,” by partnering with veteran Metallica-Beastie Boys producer Rick Rubin. A true “Really?!” kind of moment: Not the kind of career move you’d expect from Billboard Magazine’s 14th top-selling artist of the 2000s.

Add to that the man’s new songwriting partner for six tracks — Semisonic’s brainy Dan Wilson — and you could have a recipe for surefire, fan-offending career disaster.

But this, of course, completely underestimates the transformative power of Rubin, who helped revive the log-dormant careers of Neil Diamond and the late Johnny Cash. So the end result is still Groban, intoning with his trademark almost-Elizabethan phraseology on “Galileo,” “Hidden Away” and “Higher Window.” But there’s a new bare-bones quality to the work — even symphonic numbers such as “L’Ora Dell’Addio” and “Voce Existe Em Mim” — that gives him a longer creative leash, and an excuse to (very nearly) rock out.

Will the teamup make Groban hip with a whole new younger audience? Stay tuned — from the sound of the sweeping sonnet “Love Only Knows,” it could easily happen.

artsBackstage PassDan WilsonJosh GrobanPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

SFMTA cuts wellness program for Muni operators during pandemic

BackFirst provided preventative care for chronic disease plus help with diet, exercise and stress

In Brown Type: New survey finds engagement and trend to progressivism among Asian American voters

The 2016 election and ‘Trump effect’ have fired up the voting bloc

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, liberal giant of the Supreme Court, dies

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who championed women’s rights — first as a… Continue reading

Four officers found to have committed misconduct escape discipline

Four officers who should have been punished for misconduct escaped discipline because… Continue reading

Breed says limited indoor dining to resume if COVID-19 data improves

Restaurants could open for limited indoor dining as early as the end… Continue reading

Most Read