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A falling star
on April 10, 2014
I was very disappointed in this CD for several reasons. I should mention that I absolutely LOVE the first album, "One Chance," which has everything going for it and highlights what's wrong with this one. I should also mention that I understand a lot of Italian and feel that the lyrics are part of the story, so when they are mistranslated, that also takes away from my pleasure in hearing the music. For example, the Italian title for "The First Time" is shown as La Prima Volta, but in the sung version, "prima" (first) does not appear anywhere in the song. It really bothered me to hear "The First Time" and "A Whiter Shade of Pale" sung in Italian. It just didn't work. In the first album, there were two songs in English, so one has to wonder why these songs were done in Italian in this album.
I also found that the singing in this album fell short of his first album. There was a lot of wobble in the extended notes, which suggested to me that he is either very tired or has lost the adrenaline rush that propelled him to excellence earlier on and now it's just a treadmill for him. In the first album, he displayed a great range of emotion and tone, but in this one the singing lacked those. It sounds like it was a "chore" for him and that goes against his professions of gratitude for being able to do what he loves. It certainly didn't sound like he loved making this album!
The production values on this were poor, as others have noted. The "backing" is in the foreground and Paul is in the background, so even with the volume turned up, he sounds far away and has much less "presence" than he deserves. At one point, it sounds like Paul actually turned away from the microphone and his volume fell off on the track. The backing sounded canned and the entire disc lacked the sparkle and vitality that made Paul a star or that characterized the first album. It was his passion for singing that set him apart from the more polished masters of the genre and touched our hearts. Regrettably, despite it's title, "Passione," this album is lacking that, and I suspect it's because he is now a product and not a person, being managed and marketed like any other product by his handlers whose commercial interests outweigh everything else. This was brought home to me in spades because the packaging identified it as a Costco edition. I suppose that's why I was able to get it for so low a price, but I would have gladly paid more and gotten an album more worthy of him.
I called this review "A falling star," because the album reminds me of what one sees when a meteorite hits the atmosphere -- a brilliant burst of light, followed by a trajectory that quickly fades out and is gone. Paul burst upon us out of nowhere and enchanted millions of us with the heartfelt quality and power of his singing, but with this album, all of that seems to be fading quickly and if so, Amanda's prediction of his being around for another 20 years is going to sadly come to nothing. I suspect that this disappointing album is a measure of his handlers, more than Paul, and how what used to give him pleasure to do has now become just another job.
I also suspect that being on tour so much and eating badly is part of the problem. He has put on a lot of weight from videos I have seen, and that indicates to me that he is probably not in good health and possibly has burned out adrenals, which would explain a lot of his loss of power. Still, it seems to me that poor judgment on the part of his handlers is contributing even to that if that is a factor in explaining the lack of vitality that used to be his hallmark. Too bad, if that is the case.