• Now's The Time

  • 4PM

Now's The Time Review

4PM's debut album kicks off with their hit jam, "Sukiyaki." The track has wonderful vocals with an initial a capella moving into a very light snare. The song is great throughout and really shows the group's capabilities. The song is very reminiscent of many of the hit Boyz II Men tracks as it cuts out about halfway through the track for a short speaking part by one of the members of the group. This track represents what was so great about the 90s and makes the album worth a listen on its own.

The album continues with "Lay Down Your Love" and I have to say, something about the lead singer's voice reminds me of Hall & Oates. Whether you agree with me or not on that one, you can't deny that this is a romantic track as the guys try and serenade a love, asking her to let her love out for him. The only complaint I have about this track is about its ease of being misheard. In the chorus, the singer states "We can't let this moment go by/ Lay down your love and I-/ 'll lay down mine." While the line makes sense after it is heard to its end, the sharp pause at I- makes it sound like the singer is saying "Lay your love down and die." Still, the song is a great number and, combined with the first track, show that these guys mean business.

Off of the group's strong start, the third track "Forever in My Heart," has a nice swooning sound. However, something about the chorus just screams boy band. Hearing this song makes me wonder if the group is aimed as a hybrid of Boyz II Men and Backstreet Boys in what I will christen, Backstreet Men (I've coined that term by the way, so hands off). Despite the boy band flavor, the song is still very enjoyable and a fun listen.

Track 4, "Gift Of Perfect Love" sounds strange as if there was some modification on the singer's vocals. Despite this, the song is a nice track to cruise along to in the car. What especially makes the track great is the chorus which is infectiously catchy. While the song won't break any ground, it is still very enjoyable.

In "Yes," the group offers a diverse set of voices and shows some nice harmonies. This track is slower than the last few songs and is about a guy asking his lover to marry him. The group really presents all their talent as it sounds like everyone has a go on a solo. The song is reminiscent of Boyz II Men's "I Do" and really shows some great emotion.

At roughly the halfway point, the album continues to run strong. "In This Life" has a religious tone, and features some beautiful lyrics. Talking about how they once were lost but now have found their way back in life, the song is beautifully written and has some great lyrics.

The album's first major slip up comes on track 7, "Naturally." The song seems to lack the umph from earlier tracks and is just uninspired. The vocals are nothing to write home about and nothing about the track really differentiates itself. Overall, a nice track for the bedroom but nowhere else.

The group quickly regains its strength with "For What More," a solid ballad with some truly wonderful harmonies. The harmonies really help push the song forward but fortunately, the lead singer has a strong enough voice that even without the harmonies, this song would rock. Overall, a great track.

With "Father and Child," the group changes pace to an a capella number and puts out what is arguably the best song on the album. The song is original, describing a love between a father and a child who are unforunately forced to be a part. The lyrics are touching as they describe the father's struggle and feelings of missing this significant portion of who he is. With a strong harmony and nice backup vocals, the song is great.

Keeping on the side of different numbers, "Time (Clock of the Heart)" is a nice original track by the group. The idea of the song is that, while things might work out between two lovers over time, but it shouldn't take time to make them love one another. The song is nice in its originality and is fitting of the group's name (which even appears in the song). The song isn't very heavy, being comprised mostly of its chorus, but its originality is a breath of fresh air.

"Then Came You" is a good track that shows some more group interaction. The song has nice harmonies and carries a depressing mood. About being alone until a lover comes back, the song is enjoyable. A cool attribute of the song is that, while relatively sparse in content, the song occasionally repeats lines with further depth. Still, the track would have benefited from a thorough rewrite.

The last original track, "I Do" keeps the harmonies going. However, whereas they helped previous tracks move along, they almost annoy me in this track, as it sounds tedious. The song is minimal in its content and lacks the inspiration that helps set the other tracks on this album apart. This song should have been left on the drawing board.

The album closes with "Years From Here" which frankly, is cheap to be named as such. In truth, the track is really just "Lay Down Your Love" with a softer beat. Despite the minimal change, the song reminds you of the group's great abilities and is at least a remake of a good song.

tl;dr: 4PM clearly has potential to rock the house as they shine consistently on this album. Many of the songs are gems and the album features a diverse array of styles. Overall, it is easy to hardily recommend this album to anyone interested in R&B and especially fans of groups like Shai.