When I interviewed Maxwell last year, he talked about a vision of his third album striking a balance between the commercial appeal of his first and the experimentation of his second. He was frank in acknowledging that he used his sophomore set to take fans on an eclectic ride, confusing many of them in the process. Luckily, R. Kelly saved him by writing the radio-friendly single “Fortunately.”
Now is Maxwell’s moment of truth. He knows you might be a little leery of him. And while you take long walks with Jill and talk love with Musiq Soulchild, Maxwell responds to your cynicism by slipping in the most consistent release of his career. Now is certainly his most sophisticated and mature work. It may be a stretch to call it his best album, because his music goes in so many directions. But it’s good enough to make a debate. Filtered between the hope of “Lifetime,” the demand for the covered cover of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” and the confidence of “Get Ta Know Ya,” is the consistency Maxwell predicted during our talk.
“I can’t let my life pass me by/I can break down and try/Work it all out this lifetime.” He settles into himself on this album. That’s a place many artists never get to, the point where they accept their own talent, and separate themselves from the pressure to compete. You might like a collection of songs to stroke your muse and help you feel a little more deeply. It’s on Now. Play it with your lover, and it’s on now.
Maxwell performs Oct. 9 and 10 at Fox Theatre. Find details in What's Happening.
Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail email@example.com.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.