January 30, 2003

Test Spin: Josh Groban

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Lonely, acne-afflicted opera fans, here is your messiah! I never thought the entertainment industry could produce anything more psychologically damaging to a young mind than the Child’s Play movies. And yet, after giving Josh Groban in Concert a spin or two, I came to the nerve-chilling conclusion that in the entire history of the music industry, there has never been a product so blatantly and unabashedly terrifying. Groban, a 21 year-old “opera prodigy” has attracted much attention lately. As a vocalist, Groban does sport a nice vibrato. Unfortunately, his musical talent seems to end there.

Songs like “The Prayer” a duet featuring Angie Stone (goodie!) and “For Always” which sports musical accompaniment conducted by the lauded composer John Williams (shame on you, John), are short, unremarkable jaunts that feature Groban climbing scales. Yet, his full range is never tested. It is as if Groban’s microphone and a PA is doing all the work. Unlike his operatic peers, Groban’s voice sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to a made-for-TV movie or something by Disney, perhaps. His rendition of “O Holy Night” is enough to make the Pope himself renounce Christ.

At least as much text has been dedicated to Groban’s appearance as has been given to his voice. His “boy-next-door” charm in combination with that utterly obnoxious voice leads me to believe that Groban has done for Opera what Avril Lavigne has done for Punk Rock. That is to say, he has hurt the music’s credibility. Simultaneously, his shrill call has damaged the fillings in my teeth. Mr. Groban, tell your secretary to expect my bill.

Archived article by Nate Brown