Josh Groban has sung lots of different types of songs in his career, but most of them have one thing in common: high notes. Groban has a rare ability to raise his sumptuous baritone above the clouds in a way that feels majestic. To deliver the sentiments of something like “You Raise Me Up”, his signature song, or the 1960s Broadway showpiece “The Impossible Dream”, which he interprets on Harmony, it helps to have a range that soars without straining.
Harmony is his most pop-directed record, and he draws smartly from the more elegant side of late-20th-century pop: Kenny Loggins, Robbie Williams, Sting and the monarch of elegant pop, Joni Mitchell. The songs are plushly orchestrated, with a few surprising touches like a tropical-flavoured cover of the Elvis Presley hit “It’s Now or Never”. Compared to past records, Groban uses high notes sparingly—and, as a result, more effectively—and the last track is startling: “The Fullest” features gospel titan Kirk Franklin interjecting “Yeah!” and “Don’t give up!” as well as a gospel choir, all of which draws out new levels of spontaneity in Groban’s grand singing.