OK Now (Bonus Track Version)
Any danger of a sophomore slump for contemporary singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin is killed by the contagiously catchy chorus of the opening electro-pop tinged "Beating My Heart." The huge and pristine production by John Fields (Jonas Brothers, Switchfoot, Lifehouse) lets the song set the stage for a filler-free affair overflowing with uplifting and emotional epics that are sure to show up on various movie soundtracks even years after the album's release. For instance, the airtight Electric Light Orchestra inspired harmonies and sugar coated hooks on "You Can Never Go Back" beg for a remake of Xanadu. And the guitar heavy "Dance Your Life Away" could have been written by Kenny Loggins in the 1980s to accompany lighthearted films that touch on golfing, naval aviation, and/or small Midwestern towns where teenage dancing is outlawed. The tune is a not so much a throwback as it is a deliberate guilty pleasure, but McLaughlin obviously knows this and camps it up for fun. Even slower jams like the doo-wop influenced "We All Need Saving" are infectious enough to make you wonder what he's going to do next.