It's been long enough since I first heard his music that Josh Groban's voice is as familiar to me as if he were an actual acquaintance. And while I'm still a fairly loyal fan, I also am quick to say that his second studio album, Closer, is still my favorite--the last two were more pop, less crossover. He did always say that his music was pop, but I guess I didn't believe him until later.
One of the things that makes Closer so nice is the amount of songs in other languages: they have a mellifluousness English doesn't always have (but does it really have as much greater a percentage of other languages as I think?). That also gives a degree of exoticism, if that's the right word. Around the time I was first hearing this album, I happened also to be reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time, so some of the songs took on a Middle-Earth feel. "Mi Mancherai," to this day, reminds me of Elves and Rivendell, however ridiculous that comparison is. "Oceano" and "Si Volvieras A Mi" are so beautiful and encapsulating that they are worlds of their own, so why not Middle-Earth-like worlds?
But the funny thing is that I usually cite two songs as my favorites of his, and both of them are in English. They are "Never Let Go" and "Now or Never." They also sound a bit similar, don't they? Very atmospheric again, with a certain type of vocals (sorry I can't explain that part more--I'm not a musical person). They both tell a story, but one where you are left to fill in the details. The lyrics of the first song could in fact very easily fit into The Lord of the Rings: they're about holding on, about strength from love (not necessarily any specific kind of love), fate, paths and journeys, that sort of thing.
That's the type of song I like from Josh Groban. I like his voice, but I want it to be shown off in a way that some of the more pop-style songs don't really do. And I want enough atmosphere and emotion that a single song calls up thousands of images in my mind.
I suppose that's why, more often, I find myself mixing up the songs from his albums. Instead of listening to one album all the way through, I'm growing more likely to just listen to one from this album, one from that one, then back to that album, and so forth. I guess we all respond to different types of music, don't we?