Hot off the Press

Michael Bormann | Love Is Magic

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist –

Michael Borman Love is Magic“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue …” How accurate this couplet is in reference to the “best of” or catalog albums, being released in dozens each year with some previously unreleased tracks or the other bonuses? Most certainly, the rhyme is nothing far-fetched when it comes to the new release of Michael Bormann, one of the best voices in Teutonic hard rock, known from performing solo as well as fronting such acts as Jaded Heart or Rain. A rundown on last eighteen years of his thirty-three-year long musical career is titled Love Is Magic (Best of Ballads) and, consequently, focuses on more mellow part of his works. And as in the couplet, there is “something old and new” indeed, and “something borrowed” too – 15 songs in total, two of which were never released before, and two cover versions. There are also some re-recordings/modifications to another few tracks, all these flavors to be picked up by the skilled ear of Mr. Bormann’s avid fan.

The album starts with the piano-based power-ballad “I Wanna Hear Your Voice” (taken from 2008 Captured Moment, Bormann’s third solo album). Next is “Singing For You.” The song’s title should ring a bell if you cast your mind back to the 2007 release by Mark Sweeney (ex-Crystal Ball), to which Bormann essentially contributed as a producer, songwriter and an instrumentalist. In comparison with Sweeney’s mellow original, Bormann’s rich-sounding acoustic rendition of the song is slightly country-ish genre-wise and less polished.

And while you have to be Bormann’s fan to recognize the origin of the third track – it’s “Can’t Stop Missing You” from the singer’s 2002 self-titled solo album, enriched with wailing guitar sounds – with the fourth “Help” you don’t need any knowledge in melodic rock specifically. And yet, you’ll still find yourself amazed at how different a well-known Beatles classic can actually sound, with Bormann’s very emotional vocal performance and his breathy but warm voice falling into place with this re-arranged, slow version of the evergreen (similar to cover versions of “Help” delivered by Bon Jovi during their early-‘90s gigs).

A love song “Two Of A Kind” comes from 2006 Conspiracy album, the second in Bormann’s solo discography. This track features him sharing the microphone with a female singer relatively unknown at the time of its release (now Anette Olzon, known also as Anette Blyckert, is a well-recognized name because of her involvement with Nightwish). It’s followed up by the new track “Somebody Like You”, the sixth on the album – and although both are drastically different in terms of lyrics, music-wise it comes close to Poison’s 1988 hit single “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.
“The Best Is Yet To Come” is again the 2002 self-titled record revisited – a slow, bluesy track and a real showcase to Bormann’s vocal abilities. The expected throwback to Bormann’s days in Jaded Heart (and their brilliant albums Trust and IV, respectively) comes with “Love Is Magic” and a dramatic, soaring power ballad “Way Back Home.” Towards the end of the record, there’s also a couple of tracks from Michael’s last solo effort D-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t (2010) – “Was Mir Fehlt” (a male/female duo, sung entirely in German), the acoustic “Think Twice” and “Don’t You Tell Me,” an independence manifesto and an excellent soft rock track music-wise. And more – an atmospheric, sensual ballad “I’d Die For You”, initially released on 2006 Stronger album by Bormann-fronted act Rain and soppy “Go Goin’ Gone,” again from the singer’s 2008 solo album. And as for the grand finale, Michael delivers “Überleben” in his native German language. It’s another previously unreleased track, and in spite of obvious language differences and certain “roughness” of German phonetics, the song’s mellow and melodic enough to fit the rest of the predominantly English-language material.

Apart from being one of the best German rock vocalists, Michael Bormann’s also one of the busiest; hence, it’s difficult to name Love Is Magic (Best of Ballads) a “definitive” representation to his vast discography. It’s more or less representative to his solo career, with a few musical treats for his fans in between. Nevertheless, the compilation can sugar the pill in the case of listeners waiting for a brand new material, and what they’ll surely appreciate is Bormann’s fresh approach to his catalog as well as the potential of the new tracks and covers included. It’s a good soundtrack to spending a romantic evening by the fireplace with your loved one or unveiling your inner hopeless romantic, but most of all – it’s a very pleasant listening altogether, much recommended for every hard rock fan.

Genre: Hard Rock

Band:
Michael Bormann

Track List:
1) I Wanna Hear Your Voice
2) Singing For You
3) Can’t Stop Missing You
4) Help
5) Two Of A Kind
6) Somebody Like You
7) The Best Is Yet To Come
8) Love Is Magic
9) Way Back Home
10) Was Mir Fehlt
11) Think Twice
12) I’d Die For You
13) Don’t You Tell Me
14) Go Goin’ Gone
15) Überleben

Label: RMB Records

Website: http://www.michaelbormannpage.de/

Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10

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