Hello friends and fellow Andy Kim fans!
It's been awhile since I've posted here (or, for that matter, done much in the way of updating any of my websites or MySpace pages) - mainly due to being not only busy but, by my own admission, disorganized. Life has been so chaotic for me the past couple of years that I've fallen behind on everything, including keeping in touch with my wonderful friends.
So when Andy's revamped website went online with the announcement about his new CD some weeks back, although I'd been eagerly awaiting its release for some time, I wasn't first in line to place an order (I waited a few days, lol). And, when I received the CD in the mail, I didn't immediately yank it out of its packet to hear it. Other people and things needed my attention, as is so often the case these days, and I wanted to wait until I had an opportunity to relax and listen without doing something else at the same time. Playing the CD on my computer or on my balky little boombox at work (which has developed the habit of freezing up on me, especially if I try pausing a track) just wasn't an option, not this time. Andy's music deserved better than that. So I made up my mind to hold off until the right time. Little did I know that the right time would turn out to be more than three weeks after the CD's arrival!
I gave the CD a proper listen, at home on a proper CD player, and was instantly blown away. I've always known of Andy's talents as a singer and songwriter and had expected the album to be good, but this CD exceeded my expectations. It's wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I made up my mind to write up a review for my Andy Kim fan site. Not that I suddenly had more available time on my hands but I figured I could compose the review in my head, make notes, and write just a paragraph or two at a time until it was finished. Shouldn't take more than a week. Riiiiiggghht ... it took me another three weeks to finish the first draft! Revisions took additional weeks. I wanted to do Andy's wonderful music justice. Finally, I posted it on my fan page, quietly and without fanfare.
Below is the review, in its entirety. I hope that all of Andy's fans, both longtime and recent, are enjoying I Forgot to Mention as much as I am. Fantastic job, Andy!
I FORGOT TO MENTION - CD Review
by Laura Pinto
When you're Andy Kim, writing songs is both easy and difficult. The "easy" part is easy to explain: The crafting of a melody, chords, and lyrics are second nature for an adult who's been composing virtually since the cradle. The difficult part is the deep introspection that precedes the writing, often with an accompanying emotional upheaval. Other songwriters may opt to skip this part of the process entirely, but then other songwriters are not Andy Kim. Andy Kim is an artist who shares his thoughts, his emotions, his life experiences - his very soul - through his music. This is the distinction between a skill and an art - nearly anyone can learn a given skill, if he has the head for it, but an art is born along with the artist, who uses his heart as well as his head during the creative process. It's similar to childbirth - difficult, oftentimes painful, but the end result makes it all worthwhile.
This isn't to say that Andy Kim's songs are morbid or self-pitying. Quite the contrary - Kim's songs inspire thought and reflection, but they're neither heavy-handed nor melodramatic. His songs inspire us, yet they also entertain, first and last. This is what makes Andy Kim - a contemporary singer/composer who started his musical journey as a teenager at New York's famous Brill Building in the late 1960's and subsequently had an international hit with "Rock Me Gently" in 1974 when he was barely in his twenties - such an extraordinary artist. With his 2009 CD release, I Forgot to Mention, Andy Kim sends the children of his mind out into the world, to be loved and cherished and to take their place in the collective DNA of life. Long awaited and anticipated, IFTM is Kim's first full-length album in many years. Should anyone mistakenly harbor the idea that Kim is an oldies act, one listen to just a few bars of any of the CD's tracks should quickly put that impression to rest.
Andy Kim's latest masterpiece starts off with the elegantly sentimental "3 Days in Heaven," which sweetly, joyously celebrates rediscovery and renewal. He follows this with "Judy Garland," a paean to beauty that starts off with a deceptively simple melody line and evolves into a tapestry of words and images interspersed with a rainbow of music and chords and harmonies.
"The Oh, Oh Song" is another welcome newcomer, one which gazes at its listener through melancholy eyes and speaks plaintively of a love found and lost, over a subtly dramatic string arrangement. This abrupt and unexpected heartbreak fuels the cynicism expressed in the bubbly "Love Has Never Been My Friend," although its lively, upbeat tempo helps to lighten the mood (some really great background stylizations don't do any harm either).
It perhaps comes as no surprise, given Andy Kim's relationship with parents who were heroically supportive (albeit puzzled) when the youngster revealed his chosen career path, that this now world-renowned singer pays tribute to his father in not one but two tracks. "This Is Me" starts off with the singer lovingly illustrating the parallels between father and son while simultaneously declaring his individuality. The subtle chord progressions and added sweetening bring a lushness to the modern and upbeat arrangement. "Someday," a haunting and empathetic look at life and loss and old age (Kim's father, who was well into his sixties when Kim was born, and Kim's mother both lived to be over 90), is ingeniously tempered by a catchy Latin American-flavored backing track; although its lyrics deviate from the strictly autobiographical, Kim's voice betrays the raw emotion he so obviously feels as he remembers his dad - few modern male singers can emote like Andy Kim - and the bouncy rhythm uplifts the song's mood to one of celebration.
The standout on the CD is the brilliantly arranged and produced "Happen Again" - a song which, in my humble opinion, has "hit" written all over it - a hand-in-hand skip through the park, a boldly stated intention to return to the dreams and ideals of youth and to rediscover the natural excitement and freshness of first love. It's got a contagious, thumping rhythm and is enhanced by gospel-tinged background vocals; one can't help singing along with its optimistic refrain even during the first listen, and programming directors of adult contemporary radio would do well to keep an eye (and an ear) on this potential chartbuster.
Other offerings on I Forgot to Mention include the haunting ballad "Without You," which closes the album; the title track, a peppy, guitar-laden, us-against-the-world anthem (another hit in the making); and "Love Is," a study in magnificence enhanced with dramatic orchestrations that serve to enhance the song's message of love to one of global proportions.
Come to think of it, that's a pretty good description for the artist himself. Andy Kim is love personified, an undeniable and irreversible part of the world's consciousness, and his music is a gateway to his soul. With this fantastic new CD, definitely well worth the wait, Andy Kim does, indeed, make it Happen Again.
(To hear sound samples and purchase the CD, go to http://www.andykimmusic.com/store.php )