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Album Review | POP

Michael Bublé adds truth, sparkle in ‘To Be Loved’


A lovely thing occurs on the Canadian pop singer’s latest album: He finds his true voice.

Bublé has always been good. On past releases, when the arrangements were as strong as his voice — which they weren’t always — he’s been a crooner of standards to rank with the best of them.

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The genial and dynamic performer has also almost always been successful, gaining a wider audience with each release and watching his last album, “Christmas,” become the second-best seller of 2011 behind Adele.

“To Be Loved” doubles down on the best elements of his last regular release (Bublé’s original songwriting, exploring soul sounds with the Dap-Kings), dramatically improves in its approach to the type and arrangements of the covers he chooses, and sparkles because of it.

Of the originals, “It’s a Beautiful Day” high-steps its way from a bad relationship with humor and heart, and the ecstatic testifying of “I Got It Easy,” feels like sunshine bursting through the clouds. All of the tracks with the Dap-Kings are a delight, but “Come Dance With Me” salsas to the head of the class. The standards exude a cheeky effervescence, with special kudos going to whoever arranged the horns to variously make them duet partners, commentators, and deliverers of emotional heft.

Several welcome friends drop by, including Bryan Adams and Reese Witherspoon, but Bublé’s proving he’s doing just fine on his own. (Out Tuesday)


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