Richard Marx’s 2020 album Limitless definitely blew my mind. It did not only make it easily into the Top Pick! ratings, it also placed fourth in the non-country albums of my My Favorite Albums & EPs posting as of that year. On 30th September, Marx is back with a new long-play. 20 songs, five each of rock, pop, ballads and country music is the rough concept of Songwriter, which promisingly sounds like a versatile listen. I had high expectations before my review.
Richard Marx – About The Artist
Richard Marx – Songwriter – Track by Track
The twenty song album lasts 70 minutes.
1. Same Heartbreak Different Day
You don’t need to guess the genre and count the genre by song. The album is arranged in sets of five tracks. Same Heartbreak Different Day is a nice rhythmic pop track with a nice groove. The song comes with the magic of songwriting I admired while listening to Limitless: you start listening and it stays in your mind. A bit of summer feeling right when the days become darker, colder and shorter.
2. Only A Memory
Even though the song’s topic is not really made to smile, the song strongly reminds me of dance pop of the 1990’s. Richard Marx makes me dance to the sad stories. Sorry for that.
I would name Anything a nice pop track with a nice vibe and nice background rhythmic elements. Good listen, even though the track could contrast a bit more in the context in the songs before and thereafter.
4. Moscow Calling
Moscow Calling is one of the best listens of the album to me. The song has a lot of presence and power and nicely work with Marx’ voice, the guitar and rhythm. Good one – and, by the way, the first of a couple of songs on Songwriter, which has indeed benn written by Richard Marx only.
5. Believe In Me
The credits of Believe In Me list Richard Marx alongside his son Lucas. Another song, which is just going straight into your ears and stays in your heart. Great composition and arrangement – even though the disco fox and backing vocals give a bit of a kitschy schlager touch.
6. Shame On You
Already the first tunes of the single release Shame On You tell you: there is a change in the album style now – Richard Marx is playing the guitars harder. This song has been written togehter with another son of the artist, Jesse – and it even leads to some shy headbanging during the listen. Not quite ready to raise the devil’s horns into the sky, but a nice and straight rocker.
7. My Love, My Enemy
After this 2:30 minute intense rock experince, My Love, My Enemy is granting a slower start to the listener. The song feels more modern, but still absolutely authentic. Great listen.
8. Just Go
Just Go is a relatively long song, lasting 4:17 minutes. This is well-invested time – the guitars have some more time to present some chords. Very melodic and not as rocking as the two songs before.
9. One More Yesterday
The guitars are howling in the background again and the drummer is hammering on his drum kit. One More Yesterday is a lovely rock song with a nice melodic touch. One of my favorites in this rock section.
10. We Are Not Alone
Already the 40 second instrumental intro of We Are Not Alone gives you a good feeling about this track. The guitars sound lush and powerful – lovely one.
11. Everything I’ve Got
Okay, we are in the country music section now, without a doubt. Everything I’ve Got comes with the typical rhythm and vibe. Nonetheless, the eleventh track of the album is not lacking the use of guitar power – you may also call this one Southern rock.
12. Misery Loves Company
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the soundtrack for your next country music party! The slow verses just warm up to the great chorus – Misery Loves Company is a must-listen.
13. One Day Longer
I had this song already in my Songs of the Week as of 12th August 2022. I have been so amazed how good Richard Marx sounds as a country music artist. And I still do.
14. Breaking My Heart
I know that Richard Marx has some country music background and – for example – already worked with Kenny Rogers in the 1980’s. But this section is really blowing my mind. Breaking My Heart is another great country-rock song with a modern sound which could easily blow a country music festival stage.
15. We Had It All
Okay, I stop raving about these songs… If only I could. The songs are just too. Great song for a big stage.
The change in feelings from the enchanting power country party song to the gentle sounds of Always is not too easy. Guitars don’t play a big role in here, Marx is using a piano, strings and some echo now. It takes me some 90 seconds before I get into the mood for ballads. Luckily, the song lasts 3:41 – and there is a lot left at that point from that lovely listen.
17. Still In My Heart
Still In My Heart reminds me a little bit of Right Here Waiting. The song spreads the same intimacy and load of feelings like the 1980’s classic. However, some four decades later, Richard Marx feels even more energetic to me.
Maybe is driven by the acoustic guitar and the piano in the background, which is having a lovely atmosphere. Beautiful one.
19. As If We’ll Never Love Again
For the second last track of the album, Marx opens with a full orchestral sound. The classic instrumentation is more and more reduced in favor of turning As If We’ll Never Love Again into a piano ballad. Very intense listen to me.
20. Never After
The album closes with a beautiful song, which also has some country music spirit in it. A bit more rhythmic and thus not that soppy. Really nice listen.
Richard Marx – Songwriter – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Richard Marx – Songwriter – My View
After Limitless, Songwriter is another great album. The expertise in all four genres as well as the versatility of the songs is amazing. Richard Marx proofs his amazing talent in writing songs and putting stories into melodies. One of the album highlights of 2022 so far to me.
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