Michael Ball’s “Centre Stage”

I do get tired of Michael Ball‘s albums. He basically spews out about three a year with the same songs over and over.  Especially from musicals, as he is a West End star and acts as such in the recording studio, never making any real concept albums.

To discuss Ball’s vocals is a bit of a moot point.  He’s a baritone.  He belts. He’s powerful.  He’s emotive. He’s over the top. You can pilot a plane through his vibrato, and so on.  He is very pleasent to listen to, has a beautiful tone and thus the material he records verges on tragic as it’s such a waste of a huge talent.  But there you are.  This is what we get from Michael Ball, and we have to make the most of it.

Among the mess that is his discography, it’s a good idea to find a definitive album and stick to it.  For me, this musical album is my pick among them all.  The only factor that makes Ball’s albums different from one another is which songs he covers, and this album has a good selection.  It has its standard Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers but it has some unexpected musicals in the mix.  The inclusion of Blood Brothers, Sweeny Todd, and Riverdance are a nice touch but the icing on the cake is the stunning ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables, a song that Ball would have heard every night but would never got to perform.  I haven’t heard a better rendition of the song.  Lesley Garrett also makes an appearence to give this album a little bit of extra class.

As is always the case with these kind of albums, every song has been covered so many times that they lose value and meaning, but Ball seems to invest a bit of himself in most of the songs which will always give Ball a step up over his contemporaries.  As long as you skip over some of the more eye rolling tracks (‘Music of the Night’; ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’) this album has every chance of being quite a refreshing listen.

Score: **********

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4 Responses to “Michael Ball’s “Centre Stage””

  1. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

  2. Michael Ball does not release three albums per year, one per year usually but the new one just released is the first one for two years. Of the fifteen or so albums recorded since 1992 there have only been two albums of musical theatre material. I would also disagree that there is no difference between albums for example Centre Stage, This time it’s personal, A love Story, Music and Back to Bacharach are all different from each other in style and performance. His vibrato has been really reigned in, in recent years and there is much more control and restraint.

    The new album released 9th March has six new tracks recorded with a 72 piece orchestra. Michael’s voice is clear and strong and the orchestrations are sublime.

  3. Hello Jo,

    Do not take my reviews literally. There are times when I am clearly using hyperbole to demonstrate my opinions.

    I hope you did determine, however, that I *do* like Michael Ball, and I especially love his crazy vibrato!

  4. No Poblem 🙂

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