If you love Maxwell, this cd is a must have. More smooth and funky beats in a style only Maxwell could pull off.
J. Highsmith | Mitchellville, Maryland United States | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After seeing Maxwell's video for "Til The Cops Come Knockin'", I told myself that I would pick up his CD if I ever heard another good song. Once "Ascension: Don't Ever Wonder" hit the radio and blew up, I knew this CD would be a safe purchase to make and I wasn't disappointed at all. "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite" turned out to be a classic CD. My favorite songs were "Welcome", "Whenever Wherever Whatever", "Sumthin Sumthin" and "Lonely's The Only Other Company". Before his 2nd full length release dropped, Maxwell released "Maxwell's MTV Unplugged" in '97. The CD was tight but the most impressive song was a remake of the Kate Bush tune "A Woman's Work". Although he had achieved great success with his debut, this song alone, would push his career to another level. With the 1998 release of his 2nd CD, "Embrya", Maxwell caught some of his fans off guard because it wasn't like his 1st. I was pleased with the results and my favorite songs were "Luxury: Cococure" "Drowndeep: Hula", "Submerge...", "Know These Things", and "Everwanting...". While some people expected better and didn't think of highly as Maxwell, Others supported Maxwell and liked "Embrya". Maxwell showed up on The Life soundtrack with a nice slow jam, "Fortunate" produced by R Kelly and also on "The Best Man" soundtrack with "Let's Not Play The Game" and "As My Girl". In his 1st release in three years with "Now", it looks like Maxwell is back to get the respect that he may have so called lost. The 1st 2 singles from "Now", "Get To Know Ya" and "Lifetime" set the tone for the CD itself and that's probably why they were the first two songs. This makes the CD live up to it's expectations and believe me "Now" does. You will find an equal balance of uptempo and slow tracks and the CD has a soulful sound just like his debut did. It just seemed like Maxwell was trying something different for "Embrya". It seemed like is if that's how he was feeling at the time. Almost like Sade who can make a song like "Cherish The Day and then turn around and make a "Like A Tattoo" song. Usually, it's easy for me to pick a best song or a favorite but "Now" is one of those CDs that you put in the stereo and chill with someone you care about and let things take it's course. "Temporary Nite" and "Now/At The Party" are perfect house party jams. "Temporary Nite" is my favorite uptempo song on the CD. Songs like "Symptom Unknown", "Changed" and "W/As My Girl" make you think of heartache and pain. "Silently" is classic Maxwell and his fans will enjoy this midtempo song. This CD is a collector's item in itself because the studio version to "A Woman's Work" is on here. Even if people think he was a victim of the sophomore jinx, "Now" is definitely a classic. You should definitely add this CD to your Maxwell collection. "Now", "1st Born Second" by Bilal and "Songs In A Minor" by Alicia Keys are the best CDs out at this time."
Maxwell's Best. Without a Doubt Top 50 R&B of All Time
popedog3 | Chicago, IL | 08/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"NOW captures listeners, and takes them to a new atmosphere. Urban Hang Suite and Embryo did it same thing, but NOW takes a somewhat different approach. The first track, "Get To Know Ya," is an up tempo ballad filled with bass and guitar. After listening to the song once, Maxwell has captured you. After your heart rate gets a jump-start from the opening track, Maxwell slams the breaks and brings tears to your eyes with "Lifetime." Perhaps one of the most inspirational songs ever, "Lifetime" carries a gospel message disguised in a symphony of instruments. When I first heard "As My Girl," I labeled it as the "weak" track on the album. The chorus and amazing bass changed my view as I listened for the second time. Now the good stuff! By far the best two tracks on the album, "Changed" and "NoOne" might be two of the best R&B songs of all time. "Changed" offers two minutes of deep lyrics followed by an amazing bass solo followed by a nice guitar solo, then Maxwell really begins. I love the chorus of this song. "NoOne" resets the tempo of the album. It is impossible to put "NoOne" in your headphones without nodding your head. Maxwell's supernatural voice will force your head to bob. All you can do is put is on repeat. He finishes the album as strong as he starts it, but one noteworthy tune is "This Woman's Work." Everyone has heard the live "MTV Unplugged" version, but the studio version's better. It comes off as a sort of "remix" of the infamous live version. Maxwell changes a few notes and refreshes the already perfect song. Overall NOW is a masterpiece that alternates from upbeat songs to life inspiring tunes. Like Maxwell's hair, this is big and you gotta cop it!"
He Should Take More Chances
Paula Jefferson | Ypsilanti, MI United States | 10/05/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Maxwell has the potential to be one of the greatest artists ever, if only he'd take more chances. I'm sure that after he got his hand smacked for "Embrya" that he decided to give the fans what they want, but was he really being true to himself? Come on now, a brotha who likes Radiohead and Coldplay has some rockers in him. He's afraid to let them out, out of fear of alienating his base audience. Not to mention, that I think his looks hinder his progress. As a Black woman, I can attest to saying the man is fwine, but I would never want an artist to be pigeonholed into a lover man role. He has more in him and it didn't come out in this release. I like it, don't get me wrong, but once it's over I always feel like I want more. I'm not satiated."
"NOW" IS THE TIME TO START TAKING MORE CHANCES
J. Johnson | CT | 08/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Maxwell hit the scene back in 1996 with "Urban Hang Suite".It should be a crime to release an album that smooth! But our boy fell into what is called "creativebrotha syndrome".It's a disorder which effects creative brothas on the followups to their well-received releases.Other victims of this disorder have been Terence Trent D'Arby("Neither Fish Nor Flesh"),Prince("Around The World In The Day";"Lovesexy"),Lenny Kravitz("Circus"),Seal("Human Being"),and D'Angelo("Voodoo").So what is this disease,you ask? It's when a creative brotha,straight off of the success of his debut or previous album goes out and goes buck-wild and does an out-there project,scaring away fans and baffling critics.I'm personally a fan of such projects and Maxwell suffered from an acute case of creativebrotha syndrome
with 1998's "Embrya".
Instead of the smooth funk-soul of "Urban Hang Suite","Embrya" relied on ambience.It wasn't an easy album to figure out which resulted in a freaked-out fanbase.(Heck,I still haven't gotten fully into "Embrya" myself).So following his fit with creativebrotha syndrome,Maxwell returned in 2001 with the delayed "Now"."Now" finds Maxwell returning to his niche.Sort of funky,sort of smooth ballads that protest his love for his woman in that trademark tender falsetto(reminisist of Marvin Gaye himself).None of the eccentrities and barely-there production of "Embrya" appear on "Now",he's back in lover man mode.This approach may make his fanbase more comfortable but it isn't proposing a challenge to the man.And an artist should challenge their listeners.The joyus "Get To Know Ya",the lithing "Lifetime",the spare "No One",and the funky "Now/At The Party" do get your attention as they are note-worthy but it's very obvious that Maxwell wants to ditch the smoothed out tunes in favor of something...unexpected.Maxwell would sound at home on a Coldplay/Travis-esque rock setting.Or just something different.He sounds too bored on "Now",he needs to take some more chances.Maxwell has that genius quality,he's no ordinary male singer and he should explore that instead of just singing nice but unexciting tunes to get the bills paid.Maxwell could be the next TTD except smoother but he needs to break out this "loverman" image that he created."Now" is a good album...it's recommended.But you're left wanting something more challenging."
How Maxwell got his groove back
E.J. Rupert | Milwaukee, WI | 03/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Life has been difficult for Maxwell. His debut Urban Hang Suite broke new ground and sold millions, adding to the growing neo-soul movement. But things just weren't the same on Embrya. Like most sophomore albums, that one fell to mixed reviews and was soon forgotten by even the most serious fan (me). Then he kinda disappeared, but not without dropping some dope soundtrack songs. But enough of his past. He redeems himself on Now, his strongest effort next to his debut.Maxwell doesn't try to make silly song titles (see his last album) or try to make the production go on and on and on like on previous efforts. Thankfully, this album is also missing the erratic pauses in between songs like on his first album. For the first singles, however, he plays it safe. Not that "Get to Know Ya" and "Lifetime" aren't great singles, it's just that there are better songs on this album. Take "NoOne", which is a soft body rocker and features Max's still intact falsetto and booming tenor. Another moving song is "Changed", which talks about him being treated wrong by women.And it wouldn't be Maxwell if he didn't give us an interpolation of one of his hits (remember "Till the Cops Come Knockin'"'s flip-side "Lock You Up N' Love Fa Days"?). "W/As My Girl" is a "remix" of his "As My Girl" from The Best Man soundtrack, and it is a cool and mellow ballad. Also, the production on the album is a major improvement than that on Embrya. In fact, there isn't one wack track on this album. Maxwell is truly back."