wed 13/12/2017

CD: Barry Gibb - In The Now | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Barry Gibb - In The Now

CD: Barry Gibb - In The Now

Long live the disco king

Barry Gibb is in a not-unexpectedly sombre mood on 'In the Now'

“If tears were diamonds, I’d be a rich man now.” Barry Gibb, that famous falsetto still pitch-perfect, isn’t mincing his words on the solo album that, at the age of 70, he never expected to be left to make. Whether writing with the Bee Gees or his youngest brother Andy, Gibb’s songwriting has almost always been a collaborative affair - and so it’s hardly a surprise to see sons Stephen and Ashley show up with co-writing credits.

Despite a title that suggests learning to live in the present moment as a central theme, In The Now finds Gibb in a not-unexpectedly sombre mood. The album is dedicated to his late mother, who died in August, and tributes to brothers Andy, Maurice and, especially, Robin are peppered throughout. Closing track “End of the Rainbow” a piano-driven would-be tear-jerker, were it not for the slightly incongruous soft-rock karaoke machine sound effects and some particularly clunky lyrics hints at the eldest Gibb’s often turbulent relationship with the latter, who died of colon cancer in 2012. The references in the chorus to a “fair weather friend” jar with the song’s soft, stately melodybut if familial relationships were simple to navigate, there would probably be very little popular culture.

But if Gibb’s idiosyncratic voice is the album’s biggest selling point, it is perhaps also its biggest downfall. Album opener “In The Now”, itself in possession of a clunker of a lyric or two, comes as close as we get to the disco-driven beats Gibb is most renowned for, and his forays into different genres just don’t hit the same sweet spot. Up-tempo rocker “Blowin a Fuse” has already missed its mark by the time it hits an awkward bridge requiring Gibb to spit out so many words he sounds like a speeded-up record, while “Star Crossed Lovers” is an insipid “Somethin’ Stupid” remake that, had I been married to the world’s second most successful songwriter of all time for 46 years, I would have demanded better than.

Hear title track "In The Now" below

If familial relationships were simple to navigate, there would probably be very little popular culture

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