Seth MacFarlane entered public consciousness through his work on Fox’s popular, long-running comedy Family Guy. Not only is MacFarlane billed as the creator and one of the head writers on the show, he also features as a prominent voice actor. After Family Guy‘s rescue from cancellation in 2006, MacFarlane’s stock grew at the network. Before long, he established himself as Fox’s own “Boy Wonder”. At one point, three out of four show on Fox’s animated Sunday night line-up billed MacFarlane as creator. However, many don’t know that while he’s often sang on his shows, Seth MacFarlane is also an accomplished musical performer.
Last month, Seth MacFarlane released In Full Swing, his fourth studio album. The 17 track record features the crooner once again returning to his swing and jazz based roots. The line-up features some deeper cuts than his previous albums, but still shows off some of the best of this classic musical genre.
His version of “Isn’t It a Lovely Day (To Be Caught In the Rain)” is absolutely memorable. Throughout the song, MacFarlane shows off not only his range, but also his ability to emote. His strong vocal performance on the track lifts his version to rank among the best covers of the often recorded tune.
Another strength of MacFarlane’s sound continues to be his backing instrumentals. In each of his records (and this one included), he surrounds himself with solid musicians. The songs on the album have a large, lush musical accompaniment. In the past, MacFarlane has utilized Nelson Riddle’s musical arrangements. The musical composer is best known for his classic collaborations with Frank Sinatra. As such, In Full Swing (along with MacFarlane’s other albums) resonate with a classic, finely tuned musical energy.
Well performed and catchy songs pack In Full Swing. MacFarlane’s vocal performance on tracks like: “That Face”, “Almost Like Being In Love”, and “Have You Met Miss. Jones?” carries the album to a smooth and easy conclusion. At no point does the record drag with weaker songs to skip. Rather, each enjoyable number fits smoothly into the track list.
MacFarlane is at his absolute best in this setting. It seems the only thing standing in the way of his musical career is his date of birth. His music style is courageously faithful to the greats of the crooner era like Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone and Mel Torme. Had he been born 70 years earlier, Seth MacFarlane could have most certainly found musical stardom in the years following World War II. Fans of big band era crooners like Frank Sinatra should definitely take a listen to MacFarlane’s work. He’s getting better with each album, and here’s to many more.
In Full Swing is available for download on iTunes.