Album review: RICHARD MARX – Limitless

RICHARD MARX - Limitless

BMG [Release date 07.02.20]

Richard Marx returns with his first new album in over five years, produced in part by himself and featuring co-writes with Sara Bareilles, Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Darrell Brown (Dolly Parton, Keith Urban), his son Lucas and his wife Daisy Fuente. He is also back on a major label.

For an artist as established as Richard Marx it can be difficult making a new album. Do you go for the classic sound your long standing fans will be doubtless expecting or go with the modern musical flow? The latter way can often lead to losing fans though.

As Richard Marx comments “I wasn’t really sure what making a new album meant for an artist like me. All I knew was that I still write songs all the time and I realised I had a collection of songs I really liked. In my past, my only criteria were to write and record songs that pleased me, and hopefully other people would like them, too. So I returned to that ideology and dismissed any concerns of stylistic consistency and the next thing I knew, I had recorded a diverse album I really liked.”

‘Limitless’ will please fans after something like his late 80′s, early 90′s output with the upbeat ‘Front Row Seat’ and the piano led ballad ‘Not In Love’. The latter proving he has lost none of his vocal prowess.

However, the title track with its electronica and dance beats, may not appeal as much, plus I am not overly sure how many younger fans he would win over. Still you can’t fault his song craft and that voice which sounds strong no matter what the backing.

The duet on ‘Strong Enough’ with country singer Jana Kramer will tap into the seemingly insatiable current appetite for pop country tunes, whilst ‘Another One Down’ is a good mix of AOR and the sort of backing used to such good effect by artists like Imagine Dragons.

‘Limitless’ sadly won’t scale the heights of ‘Repeat Offender’ or ‘Rush Street’ either in sales or ‘classic’ status, however he has made a big splash already on the US Adult Contemporary chart.  In addition ‘Strong Enough’ could provide a crossover hit in the country pop field. His singing is as melodious and heartfelt as ever, and whilst ‘Limitless’ is a grower, it is good to have him making new music still. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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