- Help Me Make It Through the Night
- Miracle of the Rosary
- Hey Jude
- Put Your Hand in the Hand
- Until It’s Time for You to Go
- We Can Make the Morning
- Early Mornin’ Rain
- Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)
- I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago
Elvis Presley’s 16th studio album, Elvis Now, is a bit of an irony. Mostly consisting of songs from past recording sessions, with a few new songs mixed in, this album is a grab bag of musical genres from gospel, to country, to pop, to rock. This is evident in the diverse array of songwriters on this album: Kris Kristofferson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Johnny Mercer, Lennon & McCartney, and Gordon Lightfoot to list the most well known songwriters. While the album itself did not chart on the Billboard 200, the album’s sole single, “Until It’s Time for You to Go” did reach number 9 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and the song “Sylvia” became a hit for Elvis in Brazil. Since its release in early 1972, the album has been certified Gold by the RIAA.
Elvis Now definitely sounds like an amalgamation of musical genres, with so many different genres coming together to offer something that may not be cohesive, but certainly offers the listener some options. Which is a good thing at this late stage in his career. As with the previous few album reviews (except for Love Letters, but we don’t talk about Love Letters) there’s some gems here, but the album as a whole is nothing outstanding.
- Help Me Make It Through the Night*
I was already familiar with this song, and the gentle, rolling 70s vibes on this one really work for me. Elvis himself sounds grounded and sincere, managing to balance the soft verses with the bombastic chorus. This lyric: “and it’s sad to be alone, help me make it through the night” is simple and devastating.
2. Miracle of the Rosary
Elvis, who released two gospel album in the 1960s, is no stranger to singing religious music, and he takes songs of this sentiment very seriously. This one starts out very somber and then gradually turns into a celebration with a choir that is absolutely ecstatic to be singing on this song.
3. Hey Jude
This gospel-tinged version of The Beatles’ hit feels a bit like entering a mind warp. Here you have two artists who are rock n’ roll superstars and now their paths are crossing. It doesn’t feel right. While this ends up being a perfectly adequate cover, it is way too long for how it is arranged and contains none of the intensity of the original in order to sustain the emotional energy and length of the song. Perhaps the greatest example: the infamous “la la la la la la la” part that serves as a coda at the end of the song is so devoid of any of the anthemic excitement in the original version.
4. Put Your Hand In the Hand*
This is a song about faith, and as mentioned above, faith is an important concept to Elvis. This song is a really lovely gospel tune with a rad dance break in the middle.
5. Until It’s Time for You to Go*
Romantic and groovy. Elvis’ voice cuts through a hypnotic, twinkling piano as if he is speaking through a dreamscape, especially when he sings “don’t ask why, don’t ask how, don’t ask for forever, just love me now.” Trippy 70s goodness.
6. We Can Make the Morning
A steady groove with intricate instrumental parts woven throughout. Can’t ask for more than that. The only issue I have with this song is the chorus comes in a bit too fast, however it was all building to an incredible crescendo and everything comes together nicely in the end.
7. Early Mornin’ Rain*
A spritely banjo part frames this folksy number. This song is refreshing and light, and it turns out folk music looks really good on Elvis. Who knew?
This melodramatic ballad sounds like a soulful waltz and I must say it is awfully catchy. While I usually don’t enjoy Elvis singing these overwrought ballads, this one works. Elvis is throwing himself so passionately into this song, that it is charming and theatrical to listen to.
9. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)*
This jaunty song belongs on a rom-com, backing some playful montage or other. There is a distinct, shining guitar part and light, clean backing vocals that work together to give this song some depth. Due to the title, it feels like the comic yet wiser sequel to “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. Very enjoyable.
10. I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago*
Due to fragments of this song being played throughout Elvis’ country album, I already knew I liked it – I was just thrilled to get to hear a full version! Elvis is having fun playing a character here. In my mind, he is playing a snake oil salesmen using his immortality as a selling point to random passersby as to why they should buy the latest product he is peddling. Elvis is having a blast singing this one, and it’s a really rollicking, light hearted way to end this album.