Monday, May 9, 2011

cd review - Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison has appeared in six Broadway shows, originating parts in three musicals (Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza and the 2008 revival of South Pacific) and was nominated for the Tony Award for his performance in The Light in the Piazza.  Of course all of this was before he became a household name by starring as Spanish teacher and glee club director Will Schuester in the hit tv show Glee.  That part has earned him Emmy, Golden Globe and People's Choice Award nominations as well as got him a record deal.  His first album under that deal is released tomorrow and here is an early review of the album.

"Matthew Morrison" is the name of Matt's debut album, not exactly that creative of a title but fortunately Morrison has got plenty of creative talent behind the scenes of his debut solo cd.   The tracks on this recording have some of the best pop writers around today, the music represented covers a wide breadth of types of pop music and the adult contemporary genre and the recording boasts duets with Elton John, Sting and Morrison's frequent Glee guest star Gwyneth Paltrow.  The recording features top producers including Steve Kipner, someone who has had a vast career in the recording industry, both producing and writing hit songs and albums.  His style pairs nicely with Morrison's voice and the songs selected for the cd.

Morrison has a clear strong voice which comes through perfectly on the recording.  He also has great diction and the cd allows him to show off his range as well.  There is absolutely none of that "Broadway star" or even "tv star" attitude or pretense that gets in the way of Morrison shining on this cd as an actual singer and recording artist.  In fact, if you heard a track from this cd on the radio you would never think it was someone who was on a tv show or had done Broadway shows - and I mean that as a compliment - Morrison comes across as a pop/rock singer on these tracks which, I believe, is exactly what his intent was.

The upbeat "Summer Rain" starts off the cd.  This is a song that I imagine will get a lot of airplay as it is that perfect song for the beginning of summer.  Morrison actually co-wrote the song, which shows he is adept at songwriting as well.

I really like "My Name" which has an arrangement that reminds me of some of the ballads by the UK groups Take That and Oasis, it also has interesting lyrics about who someone really is.  I also like his duet with Elton John, which is a perfect pairing of two of John's hits, "Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man." 

"Hey" and 'Don't Stop Dancing" are nice upbeat songs that I can see getting plenty of air play.  And "It's Over" is a lovely song about the end of a relationship that Morrison co-wrote with his Hairspray composer Marc Shaiman.

And while I like the duet of "Over the Rainbow" with Paltrow, it is the one song that doesn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the material.   I'm glad he decided to forgo including any duets with his Glee co-stars, since so many of those recordings already exist.  And Morrison does play his signature ukulele on a few tracks as well, but it blends seemlessly with the arrangements.

The cd is a nice balance of upbeat dance songs, ballads and the three duets.  With top productions values, including perfect arrangements for each song, a nice collection of song styles and great duet partners, Morrison should be very happy of his fortune.  I'm sure this recording will go to the top of the charts just like every one of the other Glee recordings has done in the past.

Amazon's version of the cd includes an exlusive song.

Matthew is going out on tour this summer - tour dates are below and check his website for more details.    Matt's official site

Tracks on Matthew Morrison -
1. Summer Rain
2. Still Got Tonight
3. Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot
4. My Name
5. Hey
6. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
7. Don't Stop Dancing
8. It Don't Matter To The Sun
9. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters/Rocket Man
10. It's Over
11. Arms Of A Woman (Amazon exlcusive)

Amazon link for the cd of Matthew Morrison [ Exclusive Version]

Amazon link for the MP3 download Matthew Morrison

Amazon MP3 clips: (coming soon)

Matthew sings "Summer Rain" on the Ellen Degeneres Show -

Album sneak peak -

Matt on Regis and Kelly -

Tour Dates:

Date                City                             Venue                                     
June     18        Minneapolis, MN        Orpheum Theatre
            19        St. Louis, MO             Fabulous Fox Theatre
            21        Rosemont, IL              Rosemont Theatre
            22        Columbus, OH            Palace Theatre
            23        Detroit, MI                  Detroit Opera House
            27        Philadelphia, PA          Mann Center for the Performing Arts
            28        Newark, NJ                 New Jersey Performing Arts Center
            29        Boston, MA                Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre

July     1          New York, NY            Beacon Theatre
            2          Atlantic City, NJ         Caesar's - Circus Maximus
            6          Washington, DC         DAR Constitution Hall
            7          Greensboro, NC         War Memorial Auditorium
            8          Duluth, GA                 The Arena at Gwinnett Center
            10        Tampa, FL                  David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Perf. Arts
            11        Orlando, FL                Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
            13        Boca Raton, FL           Mizner Park Amphitheatre
            14        Jacksonville, FL           Moran Theater
            16        Grand Prairie, TX        Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
            17        Austin, TX                   Bass Concert Hall
            19        Phoenix, AZ                Comerica Theatre
            20        San Diego, CA            Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay
            23        Los Angeles, CA         NOKIA Theatre

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