Josh Groban, "Hidden Away"

68 Billboard Rating

"Hidden Away" finds operatic singer Josh Groban flirting with his usual grandiose style but choosing not to seal the deal. With basic piano chords and a contemplative opening verse, the lead single from the singer's Rick Rubin-produced fifth album, "Illuminations," starts out similarly to Robbie Williams' "Angels" and Groban's past hit "You Raise Me Up." As the listener braces for the choir and soaring mood to arrive, however, all that comes instead are a distant timpani and muted guitar strums. Groban's voice isn't supported by the restraint: While the appealing clarity of his vocals is still present, his high-drama vibrato results in a more theatrical sound than the intimate setting demands. Groban's fans may enjoy the starkness of "Hidden Away," but the conscious decision to scale back makes the song sound like the small-room version of an arena-ready original.

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