Reviewed by Eric Saeger
With millions of units sold, this Naples, Italy-born baritone is at a crossroads, crooning in English on his fifth album after relocating to LA in what would appear to be a logical career move. This release has been widely flogged, mostly for a perceived lack of passion that was inherent when he sang in his own language, but come on, there’s Passion with a capital P and passion as defined by Vegas, by your basic American Idol fourth runner-up. Yes, the busted accent is pronounced, betraying a very tentative grip on the language, but that’s made up for by precise tonality and, best of all, a generous lack of over-the-top orchestration, whether he’s cozying up with Bryan Adams’s shlocky ‘Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman’, calling out the Arthur Murray crowd (‘Mambo Italiano’) or exploding into a swing track fit for Brian Setzer (‘Americano’). Sure, there’s a generic sheen to all this stuff, but what were his fans expecting, some sort of god-like transformative experience?