Michael Bublé, by this point, with 30 million record sales, could release anything and still sell out the O2 for a week. Nonetheless, the Canadian crooner has returned with a new full length album that, in many ways, conforms to the general Bublé formula. However, Nobody But Me is unique compared to his previous releases, in that the singer himself has a hand in the production of his ninth studio album.
Despite this difference, Bublé began the release process with the radio friendly title track, ‘Nobody But me’, as the album’s lead single. ‘Nobody But Me’ attempts to act as the album’s ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’, or ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’, with its accessibility and infectious melody. It even features a short rap verse from The Roots member, Black Thought, which is a totally unfamiliar trait of a Michael Bublé song. Although it has not charted as well as many of his previous singles, the song remains the album’s best original song regardless.
However, the other two originals do not quite hit the mark. Both ‘I Believe In You’ and ‘Someday’ are generally forgettable. The latter was written by Meghan Trainor and Harry Styles, and certainly delivers the generic pop song that one might expect from this partnership of songwriters. The ballad also features vocals from Trainor, further contributing to the current, generic chart sound.
The album’s strengths lie with the big band and American Songbook numbers, as is the case with the majority of Bublé’s catalogue. Our first experience of this as a listener is the second track, ‘My Kind Of Girl’, made famous by Matt Monro in 1961. It is the first hint at that trademark, big band Michael Bublé sound. Notably, Bublé changes the original lyrics: “She even cooks like an angel cooks”, to “I’m cooked after just one look”, in order to adapt the song to the politically correct nature of the 21st Century. In an interview leading up to the release, Bublé claims that he “could not bring (himself) to sing” these lyrics in 2016, as he deems them to be too “dated”. Nevertheless, Bublé manages to keep the charm of the early versions of the number, and it is definitely a high point of the album.
Other high points include covers of Dean Martin’s ‘On An Evening in Roma’ and Ray Noble’s ‘The Very Thought of You’. On the first of the two, Bublé delivers the first verse beautifully in Italian, continuing the vocal masterclass as the lyrics change to English. The latter of the two demonstrates Bublé channelling his inner Sinatra, something that he does without fail on every album.
Furthermore, the final track is another one of the strong moments of Nobody But Me, taking the form of a touching cover of The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’. This version is almost unrecognisable from the original, as Bublé produces a much tenderer interpretation, with stripped down instrumentation. Consequently, it presents Bublé at his best, showing off his unbelievable vocal ability.
Overall, Nobody But Me offers few surprises and the original songs are catchy at best. However, the big band covers deliver as always and his vocal performance is as tremendously strong as ever.