Noel (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Reprise Records
- Silent Night
- Little Drummer Boy
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas
- Ave Maria
- Angels We Have Heard On High (feat. Brian McKnight)
- The Christmas Song
- What Child Is This?
- The First Noel (feat. Faith Hill)
- Petit Papa Noel
- It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
- Panis Angelicus
- O Come All Ye Faithful (feat. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Craig Jessop)
- White Christmas (DELUXE)
- Christmastime Is Here (feat. Tony Bennett) (DELUXE)
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Piano / Vocal Version) (DELUXE)
- Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (DELUXE)
- Believe (DELUXE)
- O Holy Night (DELUXE)
Initial thoughts: Josh Groban recording Christmas songs that are in his genre. He’s in his element here, as we are delivered a Broadway Christmas album that’s soothing, inspiring, encouraging, compelling, powerful, and dare I say it, life-changing! I don’t think I’ve heard a Christmas album like this at all (aside from Christmas albums from Peter Hollens and Michael W. Smith), and I mean this is the best possible way!
Reason to listen: Simply because of Josh’s classically operatic pop voice that’s unique and one of a kind! These tracks are God-breathed as well!
Reason to buy: Josh Groban is one of the most talented vocalists of the modern era. The album showcases Josh’s superb vocals as well as his passion and knack for creating moments of near flawlessness and perfection. For this reason alone, Noel is a must!
Reason to skip: Operatic pop may not be your style, so this album won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. So I’d imagine many will skip this album purely on the unfamiliar genre. But I say give it a chance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.
No. of carols: 16
No. of originals: 3 (inclusive of a John Lennon cover)
No of guest artists: 4 (Brian McKnight on track #5, Faith Hill on track #9, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Craig Jessop on track #13, and Tony Bennett on track #15)
Does it have heart?: Josh’s passion is evident across all of these tracks, “Believe” alone gives me goosebumps, and “The First Noel” is one of the best Christmas duets I’ve ever heard!
Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: Is the sky blue? There’s your answer! … In other words, yes this album does have one of the most Christmas-y atmospheres in the history of Christmas albums!
Uniqueness?: Yes, definitely- Josh’s voice in itself is unique (as a voice in the mainstream media in America!), so as a Christmas album, this is unique. Josh is at his vocally best here, and listening to this album is just as impacting and inspiring as watching God perform a miracle. This album needs to be heard and experienced to be believed!
Christmas message: A little less than half these songs are worshipful songs to Jesus. And with the enthusiasm being to the max, there does seem to be a great Christmas message here. Josh was also raised in a Christian household, so I’m positive that this had a great influence on the make up of songs on this album. The fact that “Believe”, an original, is as inspirational as it is, speaks volumes. As for Josh’s own faith, I’m not certain, but I’m quietly confident that he has at least a semblance of some sort of faith, in Christianity or something beyond himself.
Closing thoughts: If you’re not a fan of operatic pop, then stay clear of Noel, which is Josh Groban delivering big gospel and inspirational and Broadway moments of a holiday nature. If you’re willing to hear a very different Christmas album and be stretched musically in every way possible… then Noel is THE album to check out!
3 songs to listen to: The First Noel, Believe, O Holy Night
Overall rating: 5/5
Yes/no; why/why not?: A thousand times yes! Definitely listen to on Spotify- and be amazed! Then go buy the album! Actually, buy 5 or 10, and then give some away to your family, friends and enemies, so that you can be closer to them and you can bond over your love for Josh Groban!