CD Review: WISH YOU WERE HERE (The Ten Tenors)

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by Eve Meadows on April 24, 2018



I’ve always liked the tenor voice; from Pavorotti to The Three Tenors and everything in between I’ve been fortunate enough to have a wealth of choices. But then I was exposed to ten young Australian guys at a live concert over ten years ago, something changed because here was a group that radiated sexual, robust energy simply from the music itself, not by gyrating their hips or scratching their privates. Their voices were beautiful and powerful individually; when combined they produced a titanic effect that was greater than the sum of the individual elements. Often, the music had a driving rhythm and many songs built to powerful crescendos.

Their brand of comedy, opera, and pop — all rolled into one charming velvety package — has made them a worldwide sensation. Their flair for the dramatic combined with great arrangements by producer Steven Baker actually gives heft and significance to songs that one wouldn’t associate with an ensemble such as this. Take for example “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” made famous by Whitney Houston and written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the band Boy Meets Girl. In their latest release Wish You Were Here — a tribute to deceased artists, many of whom left too soon (Prince, Bowie) — the boys transform the song into a street corner doo-wop. And while there’s a huge dose of sentimentality, nothing comes off as maudlin. Jon English’s “Six Ribbons” becomes a bittersweet madrigal, and Freddie Mercury’s “We Are the Champions” becomes a tribal adventure. This album is magnificently produced within an inch of its life; I think the goal with these guys is to make their intended audience swoon, so aside from the rare moments of subtlety, everything escalates, upsurges, ascends and intensifies until you’re sung into submission. To that end, take a peek at the photo inside the CD: 10 good-looking guys staring at us with a come-hither look gather at a bar with drinks in hand. This album may be inspired by musical legends lost before their time, but saturated romance will always be their calling card.

photo by Dylan Evans Photography

Wish You Were Here – The Ten Tenors
Sony Masterworks
released March 2, 2018
12 tracks | 56:29
available at Amazon, iTunes, and Ten Tenors

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