bublehollywoodcroonmania.jpg

Artist: Michael Buble

Album: Hollywood Deluxe EP

Label: Reprise

Release date: October 25

Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Buy

Download: " End Of May "

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Michael Buble Hollywood Review Driven Almost Entirely by Nepotism, Greed

bublehollywoodcroonmania.jpg

Artist: Michael Buble

Album: Hollywood Deluxe EP

Label: Reprise

Release date: October 25

Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Buy

Download: "End Of May"

The Canadian croonsmith Michael Buble is so popular, talented and dreamy that he could record himself snoring and immediately moisten a million undergarments. This sort of fame can be like a creative prison for some artists, who feel as though they must deliver the product their massive audience has come to rely on. Think if Dick's started using ghost chiles instead of pickled relish on its burgers. People would be fired up.

Such is the trick Buble attempts with "End Of May," the standout track on his soon-to-be-released Hollywood EP, which will also be available as a companion disc in a deluxe edition of his 2009 smash, Crazy Love.

First, an important disclaimer: "End Of May" was originally written and recorded by my baby brother, Tim Seely, late of Willis and the Actual Tigers. It was included on the Actual Tigers' 2001 album, Gravelled & Green. The track that's available here is Tim singing, not Buble; the Buble version has a Secret Service-esque watermark that'd get me deported if I found a way to leak it. If the Hollywood EP sells like it should--Buble is the biggest pop star in the world; if you don't believe it, take a trip to the Philippines and see for yourself--Tim, who rents a home on the Fremont-Ballard border ("Frelard"), should be able to pay off his credit cards with a few dollars to spare.

There are seven other songs on Hollywood, but "End Of May" is the only song that matters--to the Seely family, anyway. So take this review with not only a grain of salt, but the entire Salton Sea. Or, better yet, take it at face value, because Buble, whose crowd often requires that he seduce them with scooby-doo-wah scat, "classy" pop and vocal histrionics, does Tim's track a solid by hardly messing with it at all (he subs piano for acoustic guitar; that's about it). In fact, when I first heard Buble's rendition, for a second I wondered if the advance copy I received accidentally had Tim's version on it instead. The arrangement is extraordinarily un-Buble in its simplicity, leaving his naked vocals to shine through. And shine they do.

"End of May" is spare, heartbreaking, and beautiful--perfect for a rom-dram. If anyone ever makes a sequel to Beautiful Girls, and the plot revolves around Timothy Hutton's divorced (sorry, Annabeth Gish) key-tickler going on a quest to find grown-up Natalie Portman (totally worth questing for) in Manhattan, Buble's "May" will doubtless be playing when they meet by chance on the ice rink near 30 Rock (a big step up from the makeshift rink near the ice-fishing shack in Knight's Ridge), letting the stars in their eyes say everything that needs to be said.

Better yet, Buble is a man of his word. When we wondered aloud why, upon receiving confirmation that Buble had indeed cut "End Of May," it didn't make the original Crazy Love, he called to pledge that his version would one day find the light of day, because it was "one of the most beautiful fuckin' songs ever." Amazing what a difference a word can make: Buble's casual f-drop instantly endeared us to him, and the restraint he shows with his lovely "May" cover betrays an artist who might be able to serve his audience ghost chiles, and convince them that they're not only edible, but magically delicious.

 
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