Stan Bush - In This Life
Many have heard Stan Bush, yet do not know it, as the singer for "The Touch" from the "Transformers: The Movie" theatrical animated film. So if the name seems dazedly familiar somehow, that is likely where you have touched base with his voice once before. This singer/songwriter solo artist's latest disc (and his tenth solo outing) is one that strikes AOR at its very heart. Gorgeous keyboard passages, delicate soul moving lyrics, Bush's emotive vocals that spare nothing in the way of true passion, and an 80s structuring that invites crystal clear guitar and flurries of synth to take the stage's spotlight. It leaves you clutching your chest in disbelief, your breath scattered and chest heaving from the sheer emotion dripping from it all.

Could it possibly be a long lost gem from the1980s? Something that we previously overlooked that was just recently unearthed? This is the first thought that filters through on the unbelievably addictive "I'll Never Fall". But this is new music, evident in the superior production gloss that sets the album off in a bright, lusterous sheen. That first track is uptempo and just flows, a miraculously melodic piece gushing forth in keyboard excess and elegant, strong and shapely vocals. The first strains of that silky sweet guitar that comes filtering through the pumping anthemic up tempo atmosphere is like an angel's kiss, sealing the heavenly lift of this song's ethereal yet earthy nature. "I Got A Thing For You" is another uptempo winner, Stan's voice blushing in a confident lovestruck manner. Upfront in the spoken feelings, it is just one of many highlights that are created to impress all over this disc.

The love abandoned beautifully heart wrenching ballad "I Can't Try", makes relationships seem more important than the moon rising and the sun setting. Its awash in mood altering colours of haunted greys and sorrow melted blues. "In This Moment" flips to the other side of the coin, being a love parade. It is complete in its 80s transformation, with verses that build the loveblind tension for the chorus to just erupt into melodic rich bombast. Sticky saccharine is the pleading "Waiting For You". Dazzled in the jewel-like tones of the keys echoing the sentiment of the voice. A bridge that gets you caught in its honeyed stickiness which spills over into the pretty as a picture chorus.

"The First Time" signals as ballad number two, it catches you by weaving a web of dreamlike untainted romance. There is an innocence and tenderness here that alights fires in the soul. It makes you believe that just perhaps, you truly have never loved before... not after hearing the adoration lacing these lyrics. There are pauses, hesitations in the music where afterwards the vocals open like a rose blooming, slow and relaxing, such as a sunflower moving its golden petaled mane to drink in the radiant rays of the cloud framed sun. Beams of love illuminating the track in their light plays of gentle warmth.

"Long, Long Way" from love... here the love has been shadowed, put just out of grasp. This is reflected in the regretful guitar and vocals bowing to the possibility of hope for a future. Very Foreigner-esque uptempo AOR layered rock, especially from their final throes in the late 80s and Lou Gramm's solo albums that came afterward. That storyteller quality comes through here nicely, as it seems a camera has been trained to capture the lower registers of a relationship that is quickly souring. "Over You" keeps the energy buzzing, using thicker guitars and an abundance of riffage to reiterate the fact that the only antidote to a broken heart is time, and lots of it. Not spectacular, but still a solid, highly likeable track. "Take It All the Way" sees the return of those thick guitars, laying down a commanding riff and embellished with sparkling synth that is scattered about like pixie dust. A soaring, lush vocal from Stan is laid upon the top as the moodiness unravels to reveal an anthemic, positive chorus. Another song that invokes the ghost of Lou Gramm's solo albums, as well as Stan Bush's past works.

"My heart is beating but I might as well be dead." How many of us have felt this way sometimes? This tumbler melodic rock anthem echoes all the questions that roam our own hearts. "In This Life" there really must be something more. Contemporary, powerful, absolutely full fledged AOR that soars on the wings of an eagle. The spoken sections could have been cheesy but instead seem like snippets of your consciousness finding a method of communicating while guitars squeal in answer. It has the tastefulness of Dream Theater's "Awake" where spoken sections moved effortlessly in and out of the songs like hazy bits of a dream.

The final song broke me like a ragdoll and left me quivering, tears running down my cheeks for it just hits too close to home. Too close. Stan Bush has taken this simple, elegant and regret brimming track and turned it into something that is absolutely special. Words cannot describe the emotion here properly, no matter how hard one tries. "Southern Rain" is a wistful remembrance, about leaving your hometown behind, maybe for the city lights, maybe to the opposite side of the country entirely, and that little seed of discention that whispers "what could have been" in your heart. Perhaps when you have fallen on hard times and it seems there is no one left to guide your way, you just want to trace your footsteps and follow that path back to your original home. But would it ever be the same as it was before? And you are just too drowned in sorrow and resolved to your situation to find out. Left entertaining the past in the dark as the childhood memories flood over your soul like the flickering warmth of a fading candle, throwing shadows of buried unhappiness over the dimming light from your inner heart. Soft, whispering, as delicate as a caterpillar's cocoon the message is a thought provoking one, filtered through a curtain of sadness. "There's a part of me still there walking down that country lane, if I could go back would it ever be the same, the closest that I've been to heaven is standing in that southern rain."

Stan Bush has had a long standing and much celebrated career. There are few in the AOR circles that do not love and appreciate his work. However, "In This Life" is something special. A masterfully handled album that touches on so many feelings, romantic outcomes and consequences. So much real life territory is covered that at least one song here has the power and familiarity to connect with the listener's own world weary heart. The tracks are gorgeously constructed melodic confections where the instruments are played in passion and the lyrics come across with soul felt understanding. An absolute must purchase for anyone that fancies themselves liking AOR. It's right up there with Pride of Lions as being one of the most outstanding releases of its type this year. In a word: essential.

Written by Alanna
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
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Alanna: 9/10

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Profile pictureSteen (Staff)

Rating: 8.5/10
Fantastic album. My favorite in the Stan Bush catalogue.... · Read more ·
Profile pictureDark Lord

Rating: 8.5/10
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by VonSeux (Anonymous) - Wednesday, May 9, 2007
this is a surprisingly good album. so much better from the 80's were the band didn't get better than movies soundtrack.

Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Anonymous) - Sunday, June 10, 2007
This is solid. Looking like its going to be a good year AOR rock.

With that being said...after all those years The Touch still rings in my head and remains to be one of my fav Bush songs to date. Dare was good to. Here is a little trivia for you. Stan Bush has recorded of all the songs from that OST except of course "Dare to be Stupid".

Review by Steen (Staff) - Thursday, March 26, 2009
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Comments: 518
Fantastic album. My favorite in the Stan Bush catalogue.

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted by Steen (Staff)
Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review by Alanna

Released by
Frontiers - 2007

1. I'll Never Fall
2. I Got A Thing For You
3. I Can't Cry
4. In This Moment
5. Waiting For You
6. The First Time
7. Long, Long Way
8. Over You
9. Take It All The Way
10. In This Life
11. Southern Rain

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