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Even Now

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Album Review

When DJ Brian Goslow left the Willie "Loco" Alexander MCA Records sessions for Meanwhile...Back in the States in 1978, he couldn't escape Barry Manilow's "Copacabana (At the Copa)" on the radio. Like a scene out of a movie as the radio station changed, the same song came blaring out of the speaker — showing the radio power of Barry Manilow in 1978 — every underground radio programmer's nightmare. Manilow had injected semi-disco into his previous albums, but this was an all-out dance assault exacerbated by a 12" Spanish version, "En el Copa," also finding popularity. With a number one live album following up the previous studio disc, This One's for You, another year's worth of hits launched off of Even Now, with the title track going Top 20 after the Top Three showing of a pop masterpiece: Barry Manilow's rendition of "Can't Smile Without You." Clive Davis must have heard Engelbert Humperdinck's excellent album track from his 1976 comeback, After the Lovin', and with a little change in the original lyric a superb pop confection manifested — a sophisticated "Jingle Jangle"/"Sugar Sugar" produced by the singer of those Archies' hits, Ron Dante, along with Manilow. The pair didn't stop there. They took Helen Reddy's 1975 Top 20 version of "Mandy," cowriter Richard Kerr's "Somewhere in the Night" Top Ten hit in early 1979 (after Manilow charted with a song from the film Foul Play in between the four-song chart run from this LP). Yes, there are still excesses on the Even Now album (one being the successful "Copacabana,") lows that go hand-in-hand with incredible highs like "Can't Smile Without You" and "Somewhere in the Night," popular music that is as timeless and effective as it gets. Marty Panzer and Manilow come up with a very impressive cocktail lounge essay, "I Was a Fool (To Let You Go)," while another Manilow cowrite, "Losing Touch," displays some progress in the songwriting department for the showman. England Dan & John Ford Coley songwriter Parker McGee lends his excellent "Where Do I Go from Here" with Jimmie Haskell orchestration to the mix and it works, bringing back that query from the previous album — why didn't Barry Manilow cowrite with the talented songwriters who gave him some of his finest moments? [This 2006 edition of Even Now features significantly updated sound remastering, new liner notes, a lyric booklet containing rare photographs, and the previously unreleased, unfinished track "I'm Coming Home Again."]


Born: 17 June 1943 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of record sales and career longevity, Barry Manilow is one of the most successful adult contemporary singers ever. That success hasn't necessarily translated to respect (or even ironic hipster appreciation) in most quarters; instead, Manilow's music has been much maligned by critics and listeners alike, particularly the romantic ballads that defined his career, which were derided as maudlin schlock even during his heyday. It's true that Manilow's taste for swelling choruses and lush arrangements...
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Even Now, Barry Manilow
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