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June 2003

Michael Bublé
Michael Bublé
Reprise

Like Frank Stallone, Michael Buble is a Darin-Sinatra wannabe. The important difference is that the Vancouver crooner injects his finger-poppin' covers with a cocky hint of tongue-in-cheek irreverence. A Paul Anka protege who made a local splash three years ago with the self-produced Babalu (complete with a thundering, big band rendition of the Spider-Man TV theme), Buble has learned a whole lot about Vegas-style showmanship from his mentor and compatriot. On his eponymous second album, recorded for Reprise and produced by David Foster (another savvy Canadian), Buble swaggers through 13 familiar tunes. He nods to Anka with a silky "Put Your Head on My Shoulder." Sinatra is saluted with snappy versions of "Come Fly With Me" and "The Way You Look Tonight" (Buble's "Summer Wind" sounds, though, more like Bobby Rydell). He channels the on-the-rocks savoir-vivre of Dean Martin on a hip-shakin' "Sway," enlivens Van Morrison's "Moondance" with Sammy Davis schmaltz and, in what is surely the album's oddest outing, morphs into Vic Damone for George Michael's "Kissing a Fool." Unlike the younger, similar Peter Cincotti (who knows how to sing-and swing-from his heart), Buble is all veneer. Ah, but what a glossy, fun-lovin' veneer it is. And, as copycats go, he sure does it his way.

Originally published in June 2003
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