Life And Times

Neal Morse

Metal Blade, 2018

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa


Neal Morse is a songwriter and a story teller. At first, I felt this album was too light, especially after witnessing the latest monster album from The Neal Morse Band. But that was a completely different venture. There was something there that made me go back to the album, and I'm glad I did because with each additional listen, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Life & Times has appeared more perfect.  And now, it's the lightness of it that I like the best.

Generally, this is a very happy album. Neal is reflecting on his life and choices and realizes that he went right about things. Things are very positive here. There is even a track about taking selfies, but when you're away from your loved ones and miss them, it makes perfect sense. Then comes track number five, “He Died At Home,” and things get ultra-serious. It's a heartfelt song addressing a real issue of army veterans being disillusioned with their lives, the army, and eventually tragically ending their lives.  Despite the sad mood of the song, it needs to be heard by a wider audience. “Wave On The Ocean” has that Phil Collins feel; it’s a great song with some interesting arrangements and a very positive feel.  Morse has some fun with “Manchester,” but I don't want to give too much away. There is something about the self-discovery as opposed to being served everything in one review. “You + Me + Everything” is an absolutely lovely song that can reduce anyone to tears upon deeper examination. Morse is not afraid to dig deep, and he does it with such ease.  “If I Only Had a Day” questions mortality, and the choices we make, or the choices we wished we made in light of passing time.

Life & Times is a magical album that appeals to higher senses. You hear and feel a grown-up artist at work. Big chunks of this material reflects Morse's personal life and that's his way of sharing with his fans.  He appears to be in a really good place, and this record radiates positivity.  It's funny how this perfection almost slipped by the side.

Rating: A

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