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Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Italian tenor turns his gossamer vocal cords to uber-romantic songs delivered mostly in the Romance languages, with a couple in English tossed in for good measure.
Unlike a lot of classically minded singers who hope to broaden their audience -- and their bank balances -- Bocelli has a good feel for pop material. He won't supplant Elvis with his reading of "Can't Help Falling in Love," but his easy handling of syncopated rhythms and the occasional delayed phrasing a la Sinatra show he's not merely reciting notes on a page.
He's squarely in Josh Groban territory on "Amore" (due in stores Tuesday), no coincidence given the help he gets from Groban's mentor, superstar producer-arranger David Foster. "Amapola" is as ideal a romantic bonbon as anyone could hope for, Bocelli's delicate tone and dreamy delivery perfectly conveying the sense of longing.
Sometimes the orchestral backing slathers on too much syrupy sweetness; he's most effective in simpler arrangements with acoustic guitar and percussion with a subtle Latin jazz-pop slant.
A couple of big-name guests -- Christina Aguilera and Stevie Wonder (pretty much evident only for his harmonica work) -- bring more marquee value than musical enhancement, but it's really Bocelli's show, and in the woefully thin field of adult pop, he finds himself solidly at home.
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