18 Songs, 1 Hour 19 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For a major worldwide pop star, George Michael has a relatively small discography; the 27 years of his solo career that preceded the live Symphonica saw the British songsmith unleash just five albums. So every new record from him feels like an event—but in this case, it literally was an event. Michael's 2011 Symphonica tour found him backed by an orchestra, presenting lushly arranged takes on tunes from all across his discography. But despite the grand scale, one of the most striking things about Michael's performances here is their tasteful restraint. For all his range and power—he once briefly filled Freddie Mercury's shoes fronting Queen, for heaven's sake—he never pushes his singing over the top. If anything, this set solidifies Michael's position as one of the classiest pop stars of his generation, as he tackles a mix of covers (everything from jazz standards to the Elton John obscurity "Idol") and originals ranging from the soulful Faith-era ballad "One More Try" to the changing-times plaint "John and Elvis Are Dead."

EDITORS’ NOTES

For a major worldwide pop star, George Michael has a relatively small discography; the 27 years of his solo career that preceded the live Symphonica saw the British songsmith unleash just five albums. So every new record from him feels like an event—but in this case, it literally was an event. Michael's 2011 Symphonica tour found him backed by an orchestra, presenting lushly arranged takes on tunes from all across his discography. But despite the grand scale, one of the most striking things about Michael's performances here is their tasteful restraint. For all his range and power—he once briefly filled Freddie Mercury's shoes fronting Queen, for heaven's sake—he never pushes his singing over the top. If anything, this set solidifies Michael's position as one of the classiest pop stars of his generation, as he tackles a mix of covers (everything from jazz standards to the Elton John obscurity "Idol") and originals ranging from the soulful Faith-era ballad "One More Try" to the changing-times plaint "John and Elvis Are Dead."

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