In November 2016, I reviewed the TIDAL Hi-Fi edition of In The Now. While my opinion of the album remains unchanged, I did want to comment on the Deluxe Edition CD as it includes three additional songs that are exclusive to this release.
The Deluxe Edition CD comes in a standard jewel case and includes a full-featured liner notes booklet. However, the lyrics for the bonus tracks are omitted. Interestingly, the liner note credits for these additional tracks are included behind the CD storage shell, rather than in the master booklet. This has most likely been done as a cost saving measure and while it isn’t a major issue, I would like to see more effort put into releases that are considered to be deluxe. While the additional tracks are most important, a redesigned booklet and digipak presentation would have made this collector very happy.
Another interesting omission, in the liner notes booklet, is the lack of photographs with Gibb and his sons Stephen and Ashley. Both his sons were instrumental in the writing of the album and it seems to be a missed opportunity, much like a deluxe edition that isn’t all that deluxe and the vinyl release isn’t all that limited. Nevertheless, Gibb’s sons are certainly credited for their contributions and perhaps their exclusion is an attempt to highlight Gibb as a solo performer and avoid obvious comparisons between this work and that of the Bee Gees trio.
Regardless, the recording is exceptional and Bob Ludwig has once again blown me away with a mastering job that is spot on. When comparing the CD to the TIDAL edition, both are tonally and dynamically identical to my ears. That said, at the same volume levels, using the same equipment, I did notice a slight increase in the bass frequencies of the TIDAL Hi-Fi edition. This minor variation could be due to a number of factors, but unless you’re going to listen to both versions side-by-side, this comparison is moot.
So, are the additional three tracks worth it? Absolutely!
I do wish that the album had been re-tracked, rather than adding the bonus tracks to the end of the album. I say this because I still believe that End Of The Rainbow is the perfect song to close this album on. That shouldn’t take anything away from the additional tracks, as they are exceptional, but it does change the feeling of the album, especially when the first additional track, Grey Ghost, is quite a musical shift from End Of The Rainbow. Grey Ghost has an oriental influence that is lovely in its own right, although it isn’t the strongest song in Gibb’s collection and it causes the album to become disjointed.
Daddy’s Little Girl, by comparison, is simply gorgeous and should have been included with the standard release of the album. Perhaps it is meaningful to me as my own daughter is fast becoming a teenager and there will be a day, in the not too distant future, when the meaning of this song will truly become relevant. I don’t like to think about it, but at least my daughter and I will have this song to reflect upon. The song features some exquisite guitar work and Gibb’s vocal reaches out and will touch your soul.
Soldier’s Son is epic! The beat, the tonality of vocal, the instrumentation, the guitar work, simply everything just fits into place perfectly. While this song becomes a fitting end to the Deluxe Edition CD, I still prefer End Of The Rainbow for it’s inferred meaning.
It really doesn’t matter which edition of In The Now you decide to listen to. As an album and a piece of art, In The Now will appeal to fans of Gibb and the Bee Gees alike. The Deluxe Edition CD was certainly worth picking up and it gives me great joy to add it to my CD collection.
The standard edition is also available for streaming on TIDAL Hi-Fi.
If you enjoyed this review, make sure you check out the reviews for Bee Gees – Extended (RSD 2015 Edition) and Robin Gibb's – 50 St. Catherine's Drive (TIDAL Hi-Fi).