George Michael – Symphonica
Symphonica, George Michael’s first album in over ten years, has been eagerly anticipated. While its format as a compilation of live recordings may come as somewhat of a surprise to fans, this carefully curated collection of timeless hits does not disappoint.
Symphonica includes 18 of the songs performed by Michael on his 2011-2012 tour of the same name, on which he was accompanied by a full orchestra. Featuring seven of his own songs, alongside 11 well-known pieces by other artists, the recordings on this album have been cherry-picked to show off the singer’s extraordinary versatility.
Opening with Through, Michael goes on to belt out jazzy covers of the classics My Baby Just Cares for Me and Feeling Good, as well as an excellent smooth rendition of Sting’s Roxanne. Some of the best tracks, however, are the less predictable choices – his version of Terence Trent D’Arby’s Let Her Down Easy is beautifully tender and heartfelt, while Rufus Wainwright’s Going to a Town is an unexpected triumph. The contrast in mood between the uplifting, reflective and regretful adds variety, and the sumptuous orchestral backing creates a rich atmosphere.
While the songs featured in this deluxe collection are proof of his impressive vocal range, Symphonica demonstrates Michael’s showmanship more than his talent as a songwriter. While it could be said that there is little that is original about this album, fans needn’t be concerned – new material is on its way soon in the form of the singer’s fifth studio album, which is due to be released later this year. Symphonica is best enjoyed as a showcase of George Michael’s abilities as a performer and, as such, it is highly recommended.
Symphonica was released on 17th March 2014. For further information or to order the album visit George Michael’s website here.
Watch the video for Let Her Down Easy here: