EVERYTHING'S OK (2005)
1) Everything's OK; 2) You Are So Beautiful; 3) Build Me Up; 4) Perfect To Me; 5) Nobody But You; 6) Real Love; 7) I Can Make Music; 8) Be My Baby; 9) Magic Road; 10) I Wanna Hold You; 11) Another Day; 12) All The Time.
Yes, everything's OK indeed. This is I Can't Stop Vol. 2 — same lush arrangements that tell you the last two decades never happened, same beautiful vocals, same dedication to original songwriting. How can I put down this album? It has everything that made Al Green a legend, in full shiny spades. A triumphant return to form.
Alas, for myself, I can only state that, just like its predecessor, it passed me by completely. It's one of these very, very bizarre situations where I honestly do not understand what is happening — I want to admire it as a successful comeback, and it seems to be fully equipped to qualify as such, but something essential is missing, and, once again, I can't put my finger on it.
In fact, when I manage to specially concentrate on some of the tracks, they are capable of giving the illusion of life. For instance, isn't 'You Are So Beautiful', well, beautiful? The strings, the falsetto, the soaring choruses? Or doesn't the title track make you wanna get up and dance like it's supposed to? And isn't the warm, optimistic feeling on most of these songs a sincere feeling, so much in line with The Reverend's real nature? And isn't it spreading all over you, the listener?
Well... technically, yes. But the songs just don't have any staying power. The presence of form makes them seductive while they're playing — the lack of spirit makes them trifling when they're gone. And although I understand the host of critics who all but fell over themselves in praising Green's musical resurrection, I do not understand myself, because I cannot bring myself to following suit. It is funny that, statistically, about half of the opinions I've encountered rate this as superior to I Can't Stop, and the other half thinks vice versa — restoring the equilibrium.
I do heartily recommend Everything's OK to Green's serious fans, but I cannot even write about it, sorry. Thumbs down from all the sensitive organs of my mucho puzzled organism; I'd rate even Truth 'N Time higher than this — at least 'Blow Me Down', in my mind, is well worth all the twelve songs on here put together.