I've loved James Taylor's music since One Man Dog, and every album he's put out (even such questionable offerings as 1979's Flag) held at least a couple of songs that I could cherish as musical gems. Nothing in this new album makes that cut. I've listened through several times, and they just seem to get more insipid, rambling and predictable. I agree with other reviewers that the Fenway song is laughably bad, just cringeworthy. I give JT a 3rd star out of respect for his obvious vocal genius and long, glorious career, but honestly: "Before This World" was a waste of my money, because I'll never want to cue it up again.
The Rue of Being a National Treasure
By Bix Lives!
For anyone else, it would be a fine record. However, for perhaps the finest crooner and songwriter of our time, it seems hackneyed.
October Road was Mr. Taylor's undoing. October Road was that rare, RARE, thing known as a MASTERPIECE and every previous record created a chain that lead to October Road. It's is like writing The Magic Flute and then writing "The King and I." Still a great record, but not a masterpeice.
In this case, it may be a tad worse than that as I have not listened to this but 3 times.However, the first listening of october Road affected me on emotional, patriotic and intellectual levels. It was like a record of songs all as good as The Frozen Man.
'Rusting rifles 'neath the ground'.. That's tough to ollow up. But after 13 years, one might think that he had a great backlog of fine songs.
Sorry, folks. Song writing does not work that way. The best usually comes when the person is younger; —before they have been made technically proficient. Yet James started off pretty darn proficient. However, somewhere in the 1990s, he took some Jazz lessons which have helped his playing ten-fold.
Soo this record is good. It's 'S'kay. But, for me, to hear an "OK" record by Mr. Taylor at this late date, whilst he magically retains the strength of his baritone-tenor crooning voice past the age when most singers begin to wane (and he tours without mercy!), as sad. I.e., it is sad that he wasted his voice on these hackneyed songs. For anyone else they would fine songs, but Mr, taylor has established a far higher standard for himself that is simply not met with this record.
Alas, I will give it more listens. It is produced with pristine splendor. However, that spendor begins to simply sound a tad slick when ther is not enough of Mr. Taylor's unique lone guitar to cut through todays muck of digital technology,
I respectfully think, Mr. Taylor should have found 4 or 5 sublime musicians and worked soley ion a band setting. Fender bass should NOT have been used. There are some fine 'double'bass players who can bow and are playing 4/4 size basses. For Taylor's music, a dounle bass is were i would have begun as a producer. In adition, more than a great drumer w2as required. A great drumer-percussionist was required.
In short, the songs should have been rendered less slick and more real. Less perfection and more acoustic resonance.
And certainly more of Mr. Taylor's remarkable guitar technique.
Woe is America. Mr. Taylor may not have enough voice remaining to make another record at the level of his efforts from the 1990s.
James Taylor's newest album
By Lizzy moose
If you are a true James Taylor fan as I am, you will love it. I love it. His voice still has that soothing hum to it. My only regret is that I was never able to see him in concert. Keep goin James. I could listen to your voice forever. Oh wait, I will!!!!
before this World
By Seven Cities Blues
Hard to diss James on any level, always a fan pleaser. His music is the soundtrack of many peoples lives . Whether he will find a new audience with this remains to be seen. With only ten songs and the best he can do do per him it may not deserve the acalades of his earlier stuff . However, again, it's James Taylor and he always deserves a listen.
By Ragin' Country
Excited for the album, played it once and thought I must be missing something so played it again and nothing. He still has the voice but as many have said its not his best. I'll go back to my classic JT vinyl for now.
Far Afghanistan… Is garbage.
This recording is wonderful. I connect so deeply with this man’s music. From the first time I saw him live in 1988, to the present day, his music is always on my playlists. Before this World is very emotional. I listen to "You and I Again" and I look at my beautiful wife and feel so blessed at the life we have created. Thanks James…again.
I thought it would never arrive
James Taylor --- a new album! Love every single song.
$13 for 10 songs, albeit good songs
This is a great album, there's no doubt about it. The songs are pretty strong and his voice is still amazing. His band is top-notch, as always. My only gripe is that the album should be $9.99 for 10 songs. With the tax (thanks, NJ), it's $13 for 10 songs. I'll wait for it to go on sale for $7.99 before making my purchase - and it will go on sale by Thanksgiving.
James Taylor 2015
How many of us can produce like we are 25 yrs old. This album is the balls