Saturday, April 02, 2022

Michael Bublé is at his Big Band Best On ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’

When it comes to big-band love songs, few crooners do them better than Michael Bublé, and ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’, the latest cut from the Canadian singer’s ninth studio album ‘Higher’, is another strong offering. 

His take on this classic 1939 swing number is brimming with that sense of unbridled joy that only a new relationship can bring, and its lyrics - a tale of an unforgettable meeting between an enchanted couple - are perfectly accompanied by a number of elements, from cymbal flourishes to gentle strings, a blaring brass section and Bublé’s rich, powerful baritone.

From the outset, a clear picture is painted for the listener. Here, to fall in love is to lose oneself in the grip of a spell; “That certain night / The night we met / There was magic abroad in the air / There were angels dining at the Ritz / And a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square”. 

The emotion inherent in such a momentous occasion is made clear by the steady background percussion and the energy of the instrumentation - together, they put a spring into Bublé’s step, giving ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ that distinctive sense of vitality often found in his music. This is carried throughout the whole three minutes and five seconds, and as the song reaches its climax it becomes ever more prominent. The vocals and backing start to pick up the pace, and it seems as though the song is bursting with glee; “Our homeward steps were just as light / As the dancing feet of Astaire / And like an echo far away / A nightingale sang in Berkeley…that night in Berkeley Square.”

These lines close the track, a rendition that teems with pure romance from start and finish, and that has arguably always been what Bublé does best. It will therefore be reassuring to both devoted fans and casual listeners that ‘Higher’ will not deviate from such a successful formula, and that in this collection of originals and old standards, there’ll be plenty more slow dances to be had.

Mason Hawker


Image: Michael Bublé, ‘Higher’ Official Single Artwork (PRESS)

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