Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jennifer Rush-Now Is The Hour (2010)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 12, 2017

Yes, now indeed is the hour, the day, the week and the month that I finally give this album its proper due! I had originally featured Jennifer Rush's most recent studio album of her long prosperous career in the same year that it was released, which also happens to be the same year that I got it. Seven years ago, it quickly went from a recommendation to a refreshing listen to an extreme addiction—almost all in one sitting! And now, seven years later, I'm still suffering from the 'addiction' part of it, if that's even the appropriate word for it! During this time span, "Now Is The Hour" has been a constant music companion, often accompanying me on my extended walks in the park or serving as that one 'go-to' album to indulge in simply for pleasure and leisure at home. It's been added to my iPod, taken off, re-added to my iPod, taken off again, then re-added so many more times that I've lost count! It's funny, because before 2010, I hadn't been a very devoted Jennifer Rush listener at all; her one 80's hit, "The Power Of Love", was the one song of hers that I even readily remembered. Well there's a bunch of hits here on this wonderfully-produced "Now Is The Hour" that I must rave about, and the one that deserves the spotlight first is Track #7's "Echoes Love". My absolute #1 favorite is like the sweetest and the most romantic electro-dance song I've ever heard! Jen's vocals delivering the poetic words above the happy melody just makes me smile every time, with the best part being the beautiful chorus where she confesses all of the things she'll do to have him and how his love echoes back to her. Actually, that's not the best part—that would be the spectacular 'Seduction s Radio Remix', which is honestly ZOUNDS better than the album original with the groovy bass line and the sparkly techno glitz added! Since I'm talking about dance grooves and such now, I should now put the spotlight on my #2 favorite: "Just This Way". Anytime these post-New Millennium songs have that distinctive 80's-sounding synthesizing going on, I'm gonna fall in love with it instantly, and that was definitely the case here! I'm getting some kind of summery "Miami Vice"-themed soundtrack feeling whenever I hear the instrumentals to this warming track about Jen wanting to remember everything good and lovely about a man exactly as he is now should they never get to see each other again. "Down On My Knees" and "Dream Awake": These are two more great electro-dance cuts that keep leap-frogging each other as my #3 and #4 favorites, but as of today, #3 is "Down On My Knees" (she's begging for mercy for the man to stay in her life) while #4 is "Dream Awake" (the thrill of really living and enjoying all of her romantic fantasies). Think it's Jen's more powerful vocals on the former than her more low-key vocal output on the latter that ultimately makes the difference with this pair. But they've been getting some stiff competition from one particular song that's grown on me so much to the point where I've made it a personal anthem for my life: "Head Above Water". It's the glitzy, military-style march of a beat that hooked me to this song initially, but in recent listens, it's been the inspirational message embedded in the lyrics—keeping your head up, doing what you gotta do to survive and never giving up. I especially liked the image painted by her words of 'every journey of a thousand miles begins with one step' and 'the marching of a thousand troops across the desert sand'; those words in the first verse always affect me deeply. Besides "Head Above Water", a second potential competitor for #3 or #4 on the favorites list has been "Ain't Loved You Long Enough"; this powerful and emotional ballad almost has a spiritual flow to it and really touches the heart . It may not make my Top 4, but another I like a lot is Track #2's "Betcha Never". It's a fun and playful electro-pop jam with a Latin-flavored rhythm where Jen boasts about a man who thought their relationship would never get as far as it did. Then there's the title track itself which, although it appears right smack in the middle of the album, would make for a perfect end piece. As it is, it's a peaceful and comforting ballad that explodes into a majestic, heavenly performance with Jen's soaring voice and the rising voices of the backing chorale. So many other sweet and wondrous moments I could rave about too—"Windows", "Before The Dawn", "I Never Asked For An Angel"—but I will conclude my thoughts and allow you to discover these during your own listening time:

1. Dream Awake
2. Betcha Never
3. Windows
4. Down On My Knees
5. Head Above Water
6. I Never Asked For An Angel
7. Echoes Love
8. I'm Not Dreaming Anymore
9. Now Is The Hour
10. Like I Would For You
11. Before The Dawn
12. Eyes Of A Woman
13. Just This Way
14. Ain't Loved You Long Enough
15. Still

*****BONUS TRACK*****

16. Echoes Love (Seduction s Radio Remix)

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