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BWW CD Reviews: Nadim Naaman's WE ALL WANT THE SAME Pitch Perfect But Lacks Passion

Nadim Naaman is a London theatre star that has really made the West End his home address. He made his West End debut as Rolf in THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the London Palladium. Since then, he has been the cover Raoul in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Anatoly in CHESS, Armand in MARGUERITE, and Andrei in THIRTEEN DAYS. He also performed in the cast of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 25th ANNIVERSARY at the Royal Albert Hall and has sung backing vocals for Elton John, Rod Stewart, Britain's Got Talent, and the Madagascar 3 soundtrack. He is currently playing Charles Clarke in the UK professional premiere of Maury Yeston's TITANIC at the Southwark Playhouse and will be joining the West End cast of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS in September. Additionally, on August 23rd his jazzy soft rock and pop debut album WE ALL WANT THE SAME will be released.

Each of the 11 tracks on the album are written by Nadim Naaman, except "That's How It Goes," which he co-wrote with Will Barratt (JERSEY BOYS, SWEENEY TODD, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, LES MISERABLES). Each of these compositions are composed with sincere artistry. The accompaniment to each track is beautiful and highly fascinating on a majority of the tracks. I am especially fond of the riveting and rapidly undulating piano on "That's How It Goes."

On the disc, Nadim Naaman's well trained and superbly polished voice is on prominent display. To say it is anything less than gorgeous would be a severe disservice to his instrument. Pitch for pitch, he is technically flawless. Every note is ideally rounded and sung with pristine clarity. For me, the downside is that his voice is so clean that it is often hard to emotionally relate to. Unfortunately, there is nothing emotionally raw or affecting about most of his performances, giving the whole album a sterile aura in spite of his faultless timbre. Nadim Naaman has the skill of Josh Groban, but in his future endeavors will need to up the ante on tangible passion and conveying the emotionality of the songs he performs for recordings.

Like the vocals, across the recording, the lyrics are not always the best they could be. Often they come across as generic. There is nothing truly special or novel about his observations of life, love, dreams, and inspirations in his lyrics. His best work is with his resonating poetry on "July 7th (For a Lost Son)." The song was inspired by the 2005 London bombings and radiates the feelings of loss and despair.

The best tracks on the album are the two duets: "That's How It Goes" with Will Barratt and "Sorry" with Siubhan Harrison (FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, LES MISERABLES, GREASE, WE WILL ROCK YOU). On both of these tracks, Nadim Naaman comes to life emotionally, singing with an engaging lively pizzazz. Likewise, his collaborators' vocals are freshly invigorating. Both of these tunes are captivating and emotionally stirring.

"Not With You Anymore" has pop-laden hooks that seem informed by a 90s boy band sensibility. The

ballad "Now" is pretty and vaguely reminiscent of Edwin McCain. "We All Want the Same" is an up-tempo toe-tapper. The song "The Man That I Can Be" has the same catchiness and phrasing of Shades Apart's "Stranger By The Day." Other numbers, like "Sail Away," are nicely jazzy. It's not that these songs are bad, they just are so clean and perfected that they almost read as mechanical. Sadly, this intense precision simply makes the songs dull and uninteresting. As much as listeners may want these tunes to be radio friendly hits, Nadim Naaman is currently finding his footing and should be able to craft more memorable and poignantly affecting songs for his future albums, which I look forward to.

Auburn Jam Music will release Nadim Naaman's WE ALL WANT THE SAME. Limited edition signed copies of the album are now available to pre-order and album previews can be heard at nadim.auburnjam.co.uk. As of August 23, 2013, the album will be available via all major online retailers.

Additionally, an album launch gig is scheduled for Sunday, September 8,2013 at The Union Theatre, Southwark, where Nadim will perform songs from the album, and songs that inspired the album with a live band and special guests from the West End. Ticket information is available here.

For information about other theatrical recording releases, click here.

Album photography by Mug Photography. Images courtesy of Auburn Jam Music.


Cover art for Nadim Naaman's WE ALL WANT THE SAME


Poster for Launch Gig


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