Album Review: Michael Bolton – Gems: The Very Best Of
US singing superstar Michael Bolton sees in a successful 2012 with the release of a greatest hits collection quite different to previous hits releases that the star has offered us in years past. Gems is a double CD collection that unites Bolton’s career spanning successes with a new array of classic numbers performed alongside some of the best in the music industry.
The Grammy Award winning soft rock balladeer has lived a very fruitful life in the spotlight over the past 40 years achieving eight Top 10 records, winning numerous awards and gaining a long list of number one singles including How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Love Is A Wonderful Thing and the iconic, Time, Love And Tenderness and on top of that he also secured himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
There have been a few collections of Bolton’s greatest hits released to date, quite a lot in fact. Gems is slightly different however and well worth the attention. The first disc comes with what would be expected with any greatest hits package. Throughout the first CD we are offered a collection of Bolton’s classic numbers spanning his five decades in the industry. All the obvious numbers are found on this part of the collection and guarantees a nostalgic listen. We are given eighties classics including Soul Provider and his cover of the classic Otis Reeding hit, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay as well as the stars first number one hit, How Am I Supposed To Live Without You which was also the nineties first number one record. Further into the first disc further nineties classics show face with Bolton’s signature numbers including the incredible Time, Love and Tenderness, How Can We Be Lovers and Love Is A Wonderful Thing as well as the track that secured Bolton with a second Grammy Award, When A Man Loves A Woman.
Moving into the second disc we are offered a track-listing of collaborations between Bolton and some of key players within the music industry performing tracks made famous by others but given the Bolton kiss of life.
Pairing with the late Eva Cassidy, Bolton lends his vocals to the Cassidy cover of Sting’s classic ballad Fields Of Gold while the beautiful I’m Not Ready unites Bolton with Australian songbird Delta Goodrem on a track that is both sentimental and vulnerable and sits gently within harmony heaven as the pair, over a piano led structure, pass vocals from one another with ease as the track takes the honor of fronting the latest collection.
No covers collection would be complete without a few obvious numbers and Bolton has included on of those within Gems. Leonard Cohen’s iconic song Hellelujah sits comfortably within the closing numbers of Gems and is a touching cover of Cohen’s signature number which has already been covered by so many in the past including Jeff Buckley and Alexandra Burke. Bolton’s cover enlists a well orchestrated string backdrop and a children’s choir proving to be one of the notables on the collection.
Throughout the package we are offered further collaborations with award winning musicians including Seal, Rascal Flatts, A.R. Rahman and Seal making Gems a versatile and surprise filled collection from one of music’s vocal greats.