Andrea Bocelli’s 16th album has been issued on a tidal wave of publicity, because of his 60th birthday and the fact it’s the first in 14 years with all-new songs. I genuinely admire Bocelli, whose achievements are even more extraordinary given he lost his sight as a child – something he never plays on. He doesn’t want a sympathy vote – he just wants people to enjoy what he does. And I do, but sadly this album, despite the starry names involved in it, such as Ed Sheeran and Josh Groban, rarely amounts to more than superior background music. It’s best enjoyed with a couple of glasses of prosecco, to supply the fizz the music lacks. For instance, Amo Soltanto Te, featuring Sheeran, is nice enough, but you forget it the moment it finishes. And, unfortunately for Sheeran, the next track, Un’Anima, begins with the wonderful melody from Fauré’s Pavane; the difference between talent and genius is well and truly rubbed in. Also disappointing is If Only, the last song written by Francesco Sartori and Lucio Quarantotto (who died in 2012). These two wrote Bocelli’s mega-hit Con Te Partirò, which I adore. This one isn’t a patch on it. It doesn’t help either that Bocelli is joined here by pop singer Dua Lipa, who is awful. This album will do well, and I have no problem with that. After all, Fall On Me, on which Bocelli duets with his son Matteo, features over the credits to Disney’s blockbuster The Nutcracker And The Four Realms. The video to this song, just released, has already racked up 20million hits! But if my life depended on recalling the tune to you, I would fail the task. The pick of the crop are the two songs featuring music by JS Bach, especially Dormi Dormi. I also, to my surprise, really liked Ave Maria Pietas, a dollop of religious gloop featuring the outstanding Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.
popular duet: Andrea Bocelli with his son Matteo