It’s a little difficult to review an album by an artist that has so much history behind it with preconceived notions about what it should sound like. The Bee Gees have covered all the bases of musical styles from country to rock to ‘R & B’. Barry Gibb does not stray too far from this mix. ‘In The Now’ ranges from slightly saccharin ballads to forceful hard rock with a lot of variety – all Gibb style.
The first two singles released, ‘In The Now’ and ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’ are strong in their own right and skillfully written and polished. One reviewer wrote that ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’ is akin to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Something Stupid’, which may or may not be a compliment. ‘In The Now’ is a forceful song, pitching forward with earnest bridges and breathy choruses. The rest of the album is a little more exciting with strong surprises. ‘Amy In Colour’ is a psychedelic surprise while ‘Meaning Of The Word’ is a melancholy somber ballad that reflects Gibb’s sad family history. In fact, *‘The Long Goodbye’, ‘Diamonds’ and the truly heartbreaking, *‘End Of The Rainbow’ will prove to be timeless tear-jerkers Gibb is famous for, but with more heartfelt reality.
However, there are plenty of upbeat rocking surprises such as the urgent rocker, *‘Blowin’ A Fuse’ and the obvious nod to Bruce Springsteen with the absolute crowd pleaser, *‘Home Truth Song’. All songs with some great solo guitar work to belt the songs home and give them that ‘jump start’ that past lead guitarists from the Bee Gees years never truly had.
Gibb’s vocals vary quite a bit from strong to wispy, but given his age, stature and style, they manage to work to bring the songs home. The band is top-notch and Stephen Gibb’s guitar work excels. With all songs written by Gibb and his two of his sons, the lyrics and structures are fairly solid, despite a few clunky clichés. The deluxe set contains three very good older songs, but seem out of step with the album’s theme.
Barry Gibb has been a song-writing machine and successful recording artist for decades and this album proves that he has probably reached his peak with twelve songs that cover all the emotional and musical bases. This album is a keeper.