Monday, January 16, 2012

Landau Eugene Murphy jr., That's Life

So I bought myself the debut album of Landau Eugene Murphy jr. In case you didn't watch it, he's the guy who won America's Got Talent last year singing crooner classics. Now, normally I don't watch "reality" shows, but I will occasionally watch AGT simply because it's usually not trying to be anything it's not and it offers such a wide variety of entertainment. So, I was watching an episode with some family when Landau came on and... I was blown away.

Now, I'll admit, I'm a bit of a sucker for crooners. Granted, I'm not the hugest fan, but I definitely enjoy it quite a bit. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennet, Cab Calloway... You get the idea. Great singers of great music, all. Landau definitely belongs in their ranks. When he first got on stage, I immediately heard people call him the "Black Sinatra", which I thought was a little unfair. Mostly because I think he's much better than Sinatra. Yeah, Sinatra's a good singer, I don't deny that, though I do feel he's overrated. But that's a different review.
So, yeah, Landau blew me and the whole country away with his amazing voice, and eventually went on to win. And now his first album is out (came out a few months ago) and it is everything you could want from the guy and more. There are 11 tracks, all of the songs he sang on AGT as well as a few others. I like 9 of the songs. Now, I'm not saying that only 9 of the songs are good, I think all 11 songs are well done, I just didn't care for two of them. I'm not quite sure why, but there it is. However, the rest of them I am crazy about. You've got Landau's amazing voice accompanied by a terrific band that's the perfect compliment to him. Now, let me say something about his singing. His singing is not the most "refined". What I mean is, I've heard plenty of other singers who have better voices, in the sense that they have more training and come out more polished than Landau's, however, most of the time they also come out less sincere. Landau's voice is more honest. You can feel that he's putting his heart and soul into his singing. While other singers who may have "better" or more well-trained voices will often sound almost mechanical in their perfection. That detracts from the song. Landau, on the other hand, makes up for any lack of polish by the sheer energy and enthusiasm he adds to his natural talent. It makes for an engaging listening experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. And, man, can he hold those notes at the end of a song. Oof, it gives me shivers.
As for the songs themselves, they have the perfect build up. Both Landau and the band start off slower and quieter and build up louder and adding more instruments at just the right pace, working up to a crescendo at the end of the song that is simply incredible.

Bottom Line: Landau is an amazing singer. Is he the best crooner of all time?... ehhhh... I don't know. That's a question to be asked by future generations, I think. However, he's definitely up there, and he should be counted as one of the greats. I can't wait for his next album, and you should go out and buy That's Life right now, if you haven't already.

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