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Album Review

Michael Bublé, 'Crazy Love'

October 12, 2009

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Pop
Michael Bublé Crazy Love
143/Reprise
ESSENTIAL “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)’’

What does it mean when a crooner of the Great American Songbook is at his best on original tunes? While the pair of songs Bublé co-penned might not stack up to the classics, they are still two of the liveliest numbers on “Crazy Love.’’ “Haven’t Met You Yet,’’ a paean to possibilities, rollicks and skips like a companion piece to Sara Bareilles’s “Love Song.’’ And “Hold On’’ is a classic overblown ballad. Drifting into other lanes works elsewhere, too. “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)’’ shows the Canadian singer knows his way around the retro-soul movement as well as the Rat Pack era, as he goes note for saucy note with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Bublé cannily transforms singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith’s midtempo rocker “Whatever It Takes’’ into a snazzy bossa nova that showcases Sexsmith on sweet harmonies. Oddly, a few of the standards, such as “Georgia on My Mind,’’ simply fall flat. When you’re going up against the likes of Ray Charles or Willie Nelson, you better bring the wow. The staples that do work - including “Cry Me a River’’ - mainly do so on the strength of Bublé’s swagger, since the arrangements tend to favor the predictable, from swinging orchestras to cocktail piano fizz. Exceptions include the elegant vocal interludes on “All I Do Is Dream of You.’’ (Out now)

SARAH RODMAN