Two days to go until Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s second album together, titled Together Again, is released and despite some tracks being released already, anticipation amongst fans is palpable. Well, having listened several times now, I can unequivocally say that Together Again is a masterpiece and there are tracks that have been on constant replay since I first heard them.
A mix of well known favourites and newer songs, Together Again is that rare thing; the tricky second album that surpasses the giddy heights of the first. Both Alfie and Michael give tour de force performances and the song choices reflect a much more harmonious blend of their voices. Restrained when necessary, belting it out when the music requires, Alfie’s tenor and Michael’s baritone combine to showcase their contrasting styles perfectly, none better than on the opening track, a West Side Story medley. Having been done to death you would think that there is nothing new the pair can add to Maria. Wrong – Alfie and Michael sing this song as if their lives depended on it and, as a duet, manage to bring something new and refreshing to one of the most famous musical songs of all time.
Another famous and much recorded song to feature on the album is Stranger in Paradise, here mixed with This Is My Beloved, also from Kismet, the musical where Alfie and Michael first met and became friends. Although the show was an unqualified disaster, at least according to these two, it seems that perhaps enough time has now passed to allow the pair to want to sing the music again. For these reasons, this medley was one of the most hotly anticipated songs amongst fans (Alfie’s Stranger in Paradise was this week voted into our Best Live Song poll) and it doesn’t disappoint, particularly on This Is My Beloved, a song I wasn’t so familiar with.
Of the other tracks, highlights are The Prayer, Evermore and The Rose. The Prayer is just beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian. However, both Alfie and Michael excel and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in. Evermore is the newest song on the album, being from the live action Beauty and the Beast film released this year. Dan Stevens sings it for the film and the soundtrack features Josh Groban – my only quibble with this album is that maybe the boys missed a trick not getting Groban to guest. Perhaps a future collaboration might be on the cards? Having said that, Evermore as a song could have been written for the pair, especially as it is quite reminiscent of the music of Les Mis.
The best song on the album, vocally is John Farnham’s You’re The Voice:
The duo performed this to great acclaim whilst on tour in Australia recently and I can’t wait to hear this live when the Together Again tour gets underway in a few weeks – it’s a song that needs the audience to really participate. I can’t listen to this without singing along at the top of my voice, it’s going to be hairs on the back of your neck time in November / December.
Although You’re The Voice is fabulous, my favourite song and the one that sums up the appeal of Ball and Boe is Bring Me Sunshine. You can hear the joy and happiness from both Alfie and Michael and again, this will be amazing live. I’m sure Alfie and Michael will appear on Strictly Come Dancing this year and it would just make my year to see them sing Bring Me Sunshine with Susan Calman and Kevin Clifton accompanying. For those of you who don’t watch Strictly, Susan and Kevin’s quickstep to this song was a joy to behold.
To sum up, this album is an out and out triumph and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, get down to one of these HMV stores (click here) on Friday 27th to get a signed copy or click on the image below to order:
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