Around the time of his first full length studio album release last year, no one really knew who Jon McLaughlin was. The winds of change blew quickly though. After a phenomenal and highly acclaimed performance of the song "So Close" at the 80th Academy Awards, word spread like wildfire and led to the rapid release of his second album OK Now, and if anything's for sure, it's hot like wildfire too.
The first single, the pop anthem "Beating My Heart," has taken off and is in regular rotation at Adult Contemporary radio stations across the country. One thing to take note of is a somewhat of a fundamental change in musical style, especially on the quirky track "You Can Never Go Back," which introduces an almost disco-like feel that is sure to be an either love-it or hate-it song for most. The Elvis-reminiscent "Why I'm Talking to You" is another standout, while tracks like "You Are the One I Love" and "Things That You Say" bring back some of McLaughlin's original, toned-down style.
Messages dig deep on the album too. Speaking directly to the teen audience, "4 Years" takes a stab at reminding them that who you surround yourself with can make or break you as a person. The moral filled song "The Middle" finds Jon writing about lessons learned and admitting past mistakes ("Let me tell you now where I went wrong/Hollywood is just another place I don't belong"). "We All Need Saving" is a near-chilling closing track of faith that seals the deal to make this a great record.
There is one minor negative program note to mention, however. A track that was originally on the album, "Smack Into You," was unfortunately cut. A low tempo ballad, the song literally defines Jon's entire musical substance and his record label would be smart to release it at some point, as there is no doubt it would be a fan favorite.
Taking a risk doesn't always work out. OK Now is an exception to that. The new combination of Jon McLaughlin's original folk/piano rock sound with a new more pop spin heard here comes off as a clear winner and will unquestionably captivate fans until the next time around.- PReview date: 8/27/08, written by Logan Leasure
Record Label: Universal
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