Entertainment » Music

Buon Natale: The Christmas Album

by Brian Callaghan
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Nov 6, 2013
Buon Natale: The Christmas Album

The best thing about most Christmas songs is that almost any recording artist can sing them and sound OK. Occasionally, some sing them so well they claim a classic song as their own, such as Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" or Whitney Houston's "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

It takes a real stinker of a holiday CD to merit a "Bah, Humbug!" but Il Volo earns that exclamation and then some with their new disc, "Buon Natale: The Christmas Album". The album, performed by the young trio of Italian tenors is the musical equivalent of a truckload of coal in your stocking.

While Il Divo is a younger, sexier, quartet version of the original Three Tenors, Il Volo is a less attractive, less talented version of Il Divo.

Their song selections are the fatal aspect of this Christmas collection. Rather than sticking with slower, operatic, traditional songs like "Away in a Manger," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Do You Hear?" they cover too many pop songs ill-suited for their voices.

Not sure if they're opera singers or pop singers, on "Buon Natale" they smush both styles together and hope for the best, but with dreadful results.

Not sure if they’re opera singers or pop singers, on "Buon Natale" they smush both styles together and hope for the best, but with dreadful results.

Their Christmas Medley of "Jingle Bell Rock," "Let It Snow" and "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is worse than a five-year-old piece of fruitcake. Their poor phrasing and questionable grasp of the lyrics, makes Il Volo sound like Donny Osmond with an Italian accent.

Their version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" with its calypso beat belongs on a comedy album, and not for the right reasons. "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" has horrible pronunciations and the group's faux operatic style kills its natural bounce.

Even the classic Christmas songs are nothing special. "Ave Maria" lacks passion and sounds watered down. "O Holy Night" is nothing special, and "Silent Night" is completely overproduced. This is one song where less is usually more, and not content with slaughtering the English version, they sing it in German a few songs later. "Panis Angelicus" is better suited to their voices and musical style.

Listening to Il Volo sing "White Christmas" is like listening to Ricky Ricardo trying to speak English. A good producer would have prevented most of these missteps.

"Buon Natale" is a Christmas album so bad it would probably make even the most devout born-again Christian wish the baby Jesus had never been born.

"Buon Natale: The Christmas Album"
Il Volo
Geffen Records


  • , 2013-11-07 05:48:00

    Brian, it’s very unfortunate you have ZERO taste in exceptional music. Il Volo is a tremendous group and the guys have the most amazing voices to be heard in music today. I have been to 2 concerts and own all their albums including Buen Natale. I do not expect that everyone likes the music. However you better darn will respect the years of study they have but in and the incredible voices these guys have. As a "critic" if that is actually what you are or you just pretend to be. Your utter lack of respect and the demeaning way you make fun is beyond only being unprofessional, if you actually are that either, and utterly without foundation. You must have very limited musical background to assassinate this album and their music. Why don’t learn something about what your talking about and until you do... Keep quiet !

  • , 2013-11-07 09:50:27

    this review has to be a joke this person obviously doesnt know good music when he hears it i understand that everyone has there own opinion but this is just rude and an insult to these three talened men.

  • , 2013-11-07 10:18:27

    I won’t even address the talents of Il Volo, but rather your talent at getting everything wrong. You used Il Divo as a comparison and got all the information wrong. Il Volo is younger than Il Divo, sexier and much more handsome. Unless you are gay would you know a handsome young man if you saw one. Only one with no taste at all would be so negative about three young men all 20 years old and under. None of those men are opera singers. Please learn the difference before critiquing any other operetic pop group.

  • , 2013-11-07 11:03:26

    Hi Brian, you’re obviously deaf and blind, poor you, how can you hold this job with such disabilities? Not very well as we can see. I don’t celebrate these festivities, but I can hear and see well so far, I also like Il Divo, but come on, only one of those guys has a decent voice, the one from Spain, the others are so weak. Il Volo are "awesome" and have been since they were 14 and 15 years old, maybe you should go on Youtube and educate yourself a little bit more about them. Or maybe, it’s just a matter of taste, some people just have bad taste, maybe these songs on this cd should have been sung by Justin Bieber or Britney Spears, then you would have loved it and would have written a briliant review :0)

  • , 2013-11-07 11:03:44

    You should definitely not be writing reviews on music as it is obvious that you have absolutely zero ability to recognize true talent. Who are you to bash il volo? They are WORLD renowned and their popularity is rising, they tour the world frequently and have been on countless shows, and other celebrities have praised them on their amazing abilities. The genre is called pop opera, you idiot. It’s real. They didn’t mash them together and "hope for the best". Since you compared them to il divo, you should know this but your ignorance is showing. For the record, they are much sexier and talented than il divo. This album is one of their best, and since they are italian, they obviously have accents. Deal with it, they’ve been speaking English for a short time and it’s impressive. So why don’t you take your little and loud comments and shove them where the sun don’t shine. Idiot.

  • , 2013-11-07 11:53:39

    I don’t know who you are Mr. Reviewer, but you are so off base. You must be deaf to write that their medley is worse than a 5 year old piece of fruit cake, what a clever line that is. There are no words for this IL VOLO fan to help you see the light. Your jaded opinions mean nothing. Your nose out of joint review is not worth the paper it was printed on. "O Holy Night is nothing special?" Are you joking? Please have your ears examined by a professional soon. Have a Buon Natale!!

  • , 2013-11-07 12:02:56

    Dear, Mr. Comemierda... I mean.. Mr.Callaghan, There is one thing to make a review or a critique about a musical artist, movie, book, etc. But then there is a thing called bashing and that is what you did. You obviously do not have any taste in music. You say their music "lacks passion, sounds watered down, and they are the musical equivalent of a truckload of coal in your stocking?" Can you answer this? Which three pop-opera singers won an Italian singing competition at very young ages, who peaked at number 6 on the Italian Albums Chart, and received the Gold certification by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry after completing their very first album in 2010? Who performed on countless televisions shows including American Idol, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Talk, Ellen and Rachel Ray? Who was at number 3 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart, at number 4 on the Top Latin Albums chart, and at number 1 on the Latin Pop Albums chart? Who was nominated for TWO Latin Grammy Awards? Who performed the song "El Triste" at the 2013 Latin Billboard Music Awards as a tribute to singer José Jose? Did I mention, every single human being was on their feet during that performance? Whos cd went gold and platinum in countries across the world? ILVOLO. And you say that they lack passion, sound watered down and that they are the equivalent of a truckload of coal in your stocking? I believe you were talking about yourself, Mr.Callaghan. YOU are the one that lacks passion for music, YOU are the one that sounds watered down AND YOU, Mr.Callaghan are the equivalent of a truckload of coal in a stocking. And coal is what you will receive because nobody should treat Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero the way you just did. They had worked their butts off to get to where they are today. I have met them countless of times, and those three boys will work harder than you ever have in your life! They have the passion of 1,000 burning suns. They adore what they do and most importantly they adore their fans. Isn’t that what passion is all about, Mr.Callaghan? I rest my case :) Have a wonderful day! xoxo -Cristina

  • , 2013-11-07 12:16:20

    Bitch. You smell like bullshit.

  • , 2013-11-07 12:17:25

    I am so sorry about my comment with the visitors here, this is to the "writer": you can stay in, as the name of your web: THE EDGE. Please QUIT your job. You did not deserve to write a music article again IN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Poor human being!!

  • , 2013-11-07 12:49:37

    I generally never comment, even on poorly written reviews, but this one called to me. I won’t cover everything, just a few salient points. All Springsteen does on "Santa Claus is coming to Town" is scream. If you call that singing well you are more limited than I imagined. Let’s not get into drugged and dead Whitney. Buon Natale is a much anticipated and enthusiastically received musical release from three very humble and talented GENTLEMEN. Three more things you lack humility, talent, and a gentlemanly spirit. If this album was so horrible, would it have debuted at #2 on the Billboard Classical charts with only a U.S. and Canadian release? Wait until the rest of the world gets their hands on this CD. "O Holy Night" is the most beautiful rendition that I have heard in any language. The power and majesty in the voices of Gianluca, Piero, and Ignazio add color to a song that most people ignore because it has be sung so much. Define overproduced, what exactly does that mean? That a song has melody, harmony, and stirs the soul. If that is your definition, then yes it is very overproduced. Since you are lacking in historical, cultural, and musical knowledge, I am sorry to inform you that "Silent Night" was originally sung in German and sounded pretty much as you hear IL VOLO sing it with the added "overproduction". Finally, your last sentence was purely in bad taste and highly offended this Christian. In parting, thank you for voicing your irrelevant opinion and I pray that your stay in the afterlife includes nonstop IL VOLO. Passionate ILVOLOVER-LiJoy

  • , 2013-11-07 13:21:56

    Dear Mr. Brian Callaghan I have been an ilvolover for as long as I can remember. I can very much say that I am a big fan of them and will always support them. But there is a limit to how much you can criticize someone and degrade them. You categorized them as tenors which was your first big mistake. Piero Barone and Iganazio Boschetto are both tenors but Gianluca Ginoble is not. Secondly, you also described the album as being "equivalent of a truckload of coal in your stocking". Well Mr. Callaghan, I can assure you that about 90 thousand fans would immediately disagree with you. These three gentlemen have sold out Radio City Music Hall, they have won awards and have brought joy to the hearts and lives of thousands of people. I can very much assure you they will make this holiday season very joyous for many families and fans. I apologize if you do not appreciate them as much as I do. These gentlemen have certainly been a ray of sunshine on my life; and for the lives of many others. I would hope that one day you could see how talented they truly are, and maybe you’ll change your mind about them.

  • , 2013-11-07 13:25:36

    i don’t have much to say here other than you are a fucking moron. to say that they are no suited to sing some of these classics is one thing (completely false by the way) it is another thing to say that aren’t talented enough. Their voices are beyond amazing, they’ve performed along side the greats and never fail to deliver. you must be some untalented piece of crap and thats why you’re writing music reviews, which you suck at too by the way.

  • , 2013-11-07 14:52:25

    My Comment on facebook about covers it except I forgot to say that also as a Christian, I am highly offended at your last comment. We will NEVER wish that Jesus had never been born! He is the reason that these highly talented young men are together and sharing their incredible talent with the world. I hope sometime in the future, your senses will come back to you. As for Il Volo You guys are THE BEST and don’t forget, " WE ARE LOVE"

  • , 2013-11-07 15:30:49

    Hi Brian, I disagree with your review entirely. I am loving Buon Natale. In particular: "Notte Stellata" (The Swan) -- I find it incredibly beautiful, almost other-worldly. My yoga teacher plays it during Relaxation, and I listen to it before I go to sleep. I love the whole album, and I find "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" particularly poignant and sung with so much feeling because the boys have been away from home for so long. They are so young and have been away from Italy for months recording, touring, make appearances, and donating their time to worthy causes. They are sweet, personable, approachable, and lots of fun. Please listen to the album again and perhaps change your opinion. Merry Christmas to you and Il Volo. Ciao.

  • , 2013-11-07 18:28:28

    Mr. Callahan I really cannot say much more that has not already been addressed however the next time you record an album in Italian, I hope the Italian reviewer critiques your pronunciation. These boys didn’t know a word of English 4 short years ago and now they speak it fluently along with Spanish. They sing in French and German as well. You should be ashamed of yourself for such a scathing review. To say that you didn’t care for it is one thing, but to throw them under the buss was mean spirited and pointless. I am assuming you are a twenty something dickhead who listens to Kanye West and his ilk. That’s a shame.

  • , 2013-11-08 00:46:23

    Hi Brian, In reading your very scathing review, it is obvious that you don’t "get" them. They are not opera singers, don’t sing opera, but they do have operatic voices, especially tenors Piero and Ignazio. Gianluca has such a smooth, rich baritone voice. The three boys enjoy singing all types of music. It is hard to classify them. Your comment that they "smush" styles with dreadful results was dreadful. They don’t "smush" styles; if anything, they integrate styles with beautiful results. They are in a class by themselves. They have a stated goal to try to introduce the young people of this country to their type of music. They have magnificent voices, exquisite harmonies that soar into the ether, sending chills down my spine and healing vibrations into my body. I love their Italian accents and find them to be endearing and precious. Their diction and pronunciations are clear as a bell; one can understand every word. I think it’s amazing and applaudable that they can sing in five different languages. Not too many of the current pop singers can do that. By the way Ricky Ricardo was Cuban. Il Volo is a once-in-a-lifetime group. The combination of beautiful voices, harmonies, good looks, charisma, and genuinely nice guys is so rare. The pictures in the album insert with lyrics and credits are worth the price of the album alone! Really! They are so personable. I’ve met them twice after their concerts, and they were so approachable, friendly, and fun even though they must have been very tired and were getting on their bus to give another concert the very next day. Your last sentence about even the most devout born-again Christian wishing the baby Jesus had never been born was both mean-spirited and totally offensive. This album was long-awaited and anticipated, with many of us counting the day until it was released. Listening to it has been my early Christmas present to myself. I was devastated by your review. Couldn’t you have come up with at least one nice thing to say? Couldn’t you have found at least one good thing and perhaps something constructive? These boys are young and emotional. I’m sure they worked very hard on this album along with the muscians, producers, etc. I hope Il Volo can rise above it and not let your hurtful opinions get them down. I highly recommend this album and hope that your review does not deter even one person from buying the album. PBS will be airing their Christmas special in a few weeks, and all the fans are very much looking forward to it. Ciao. Irene

  • respiro, 2013-11-08 05:24:53

    Everything you said is simply wrong wrong wrong.

  • respiro, 2013-11-08 05:28:15

    Why doesn’t the article have a thumbs down button? Because I would click on it all night.

  • , 2013-11-08 13:22:21

    I assume that you don’t get Straight No Chaser either. I feel very sorry for you Brian but worse you are doing you readers no service at all by putting such cruel statements on your site. Their producers are from Italy and from Chile and are Oscar winners. So if you are going to slam someone, try to at least be in their league. You can comment on Oscar winning producers and composers when you are one.

  • , 2013-11-08 21:28:48

    Re" Buon Natale: I disagree with this: "The album, performed by the young trio of Italian tenors is the musical equivalent of a truckload of coal in your stocking." Change coal to gold so it reads: I think it’s the equivalent of a truckload of GOLD in my Christmas stocking. I already have one copy of the album, but if someone wanted to give me another, "all the way home I’d be warm!" I can always use an extra one to have in my car so that "I don’t miss a thing" and can "bring them to my senses", and it will be "a beautiful day". Love to all including you Brian. Irene P.S. Only Piero and Ignazio are tenors; Gianluca is a baritone.

  • , 2013-11-08 21:38:26

    Hi everybody: Dollars and cents. I am concerned that The Edge on the Net’s review of Il Volo’s Buon Natale will affect sales of the album. For those of us who love Il Volo, remember this is only one reviewer’s opinion, and heaven knows that kind of music he likes personally. As for me, Il Volo can sing the White Pages of the Telephone Book, and I’m sure I’d love it. They can sing! Anyway, don’t be afraid to buy this album and give gift copies, as well. Ciao. Lori Hilton

  • , 2013-11-09 23:25:00

    Heaven or Hell. Brian’s idea of Hell would probably to be forced to watch Il Volo videos throughout all eternity. My vision of Heaven would be to watch Il Volo Videos, and nobody would have to force me! Ciao.

  • , 2013-11-09 23:29:11

    Keep calm. Buy the album: Buon Natale. Make it the best selling Christmas album. Our best revenge of this impossibly hateful review by Brian.Irene

  • , 2013-11-12 19:56:38

    Re Buon Natale Review in Edge on the Net Dear Brian, I am visualizing Gianluca, Piero, and Ignazio with you face-to-face, word-for-word, reading your review of their album. I’m not sure what they would say to you, but I think they would at least politely listen to you, giving you their full attention. They have good manners, something which you are sorely lacking. Would you, however, have the courage to face them with your unfortunate mean, hurtful words? I would like to ask why, why? Maybe you’re just jealous because they are so successful and so very much adored and beloved by their fans. In any event, I know the album is selling well, and everyone I know is loving it.

  • , 2013-11-13 16:13:26

    To Brian: Friedrich Nietzche once said there are certain types of people who can’t improve their own place in the world, and so they devote all their energies to tearing down others. He called them "tarantulas". Is this really the kind of person you want to be?

  • , 2013-12-06 11:18:05

    How many comments has Brian received in his entire reviewer life? 1 or 2? Now he has plenty thanks to Il Volo! Brian, you WON! You are popular! You are so GOOD!!Great. Now go to bed and dream on! Tomorrow you will be the same nothing!

  • , 2013-12-08 15:34:52

    Good day, I got the Il Volo Christmas CD, listened to it, and then saw your review..by the way, did you know that a study found a couple of weeks ago that as much as 30% of reviews on the internet are fake? Also, I only believe only half of what I read (or less) - so this critique of a critic’s critic is dedicated to the 20% left; I found that your review was a little well...off ...or a little odd..even the pop singers I cant stand can at least count on me being fair about what they are able to do musically; I found that the Christmas Medley was the exact opposite you said, I think its one of the best songs on the album, Gianluca sounds positively "Michael Bubbléesque" its well linked together, and short enough that you dont get tired of it (perfect for the radio, Montreal stations are you getting this???) I would also add I find that they hit the Ave Maria straight out of the ball park, its a hymne to the Virgin Mary, its not like you can "rock it out" so I dont get the "watered down" comment - but its ok, you are entitled to your own opinion; you mentionned their "misprononciation", but apparently you confuse having an accent with misprononciation (and to be honest, I barely heard any, so whats with the Ricky Martin comment) but if you are the type who doesnt like well executed songs, even though it doesnt go off the beaten paths, its ok, you are entitled to your own opinion..also, by the way you go on, I would also add when listening to a CD, its best not to have crappy speakers, which might actually explain one of your comments; or maybe they had an issue at the recording and mixing of the CD - in that case, I would blame Gianluca who probably broke the VU needles mid-recording again LOL (what did the VU needles ever do to you?) Sorry. I use to be a sound tech. Joking aside, if you are the type that doesnt like powerful balladeers and a unique group (an operatic-pop boy bound that sound even better live than on the CD, contrary to about every pop singer out there), you are entitled to your own opinion..Merry Christmas and Buon Natale!!

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