My copy arrived early today so for anyone who wants a sneek peak of Stan's new album before BotCon this weekend, here's my review: First of all for anyone who is interested where I got this album and the best place online to find ALL of Stan's albums: http://www.larecords.com "In This Life" is Stan's 11th album to date (including two "best of" collections). As someone who has recently aquired all of Stan's albums I have to say Stan's come a long way from the 80s in defining his own unique sound. While the album doesn't seems have an overall theme like his last album, "Shine" (2004) which is still my favorite to date (along with "Call to Action"), it does have a lot to offer. The album contains 11 normal tracks plus the two "bonus" TF tracks. Edit: I've made a few slight edits after listening to some of these songs again, mainly just straightening out some confusion I had in my head where I mixed up one song with another. 1. I'll Never Fall The album kicks into high gear right off the bat with this hard rockin' song. Good riffs, pulsing beat, and screaming guitar make it a good song to dance to. The opening reminds me a little of "Touchdown to Tomorrow" from the anime "Bubblegum Crisis" soundtrack. Very high energy and I like high energy songs from Stan. The song itself, is a break up song which sets the opposite tone of song like "Falling" from his "Shine" album or "Don't Tell Me" from the "Language of the Heart" album (2001?). It makes a nice contrast and it's fun to pull out the old albums and listen to them back to back. My score 5/5 2. I Got A Thing For You One might think this to be a sweet power ballad from the title, but it's not, it's another high energy rocker. Already there is the switch in theme from break up to falling in love. But this song keeps the energy high and is another fun one to dance to. I can't say too much more other than it's a good follow up to the privious song and I really like it. My score 5/5 3. I Can't Cry The album slows down here a little for a mid-tempo song. The riff has sort of a "I Ain't Missing You (Since You've Been Gone Away)" vibe to it. Definately a nice groove, but I think Stan's done better break up songs. Still it merits multiple listenings. My score 4/5 This Moment While the music has a nice rising action to it verse to lift to chorus, I don't think the lyrics match it for intensity. Songs of his like "Heaven" or "Gates of Paradise" from privious albums capture "that moment" of lovemaking better than this one. The odd sythesizer lick on the lift does nothing for me either, it's kinda destracting, fortunately it's only on the lift. My score: 3/5 5. Waiting for You The verses have a nice haunting melody, but the chorus doesn't match. Maybe it's because a part of the story feels missing. He loves this girl, but he's going to have to let her go, but if she's ever lonely he'll be waiting to take her back. Um, why does the girl want to leave to begin with? It's never said. Maybe I'm reading too much into the song, but a line or two of transition just feels missing somehow. And I think Stan may be starting to lose it on the really high notes. Fortunately, it's only one note in the chorus. The high notes don't sound too bad really, just at the edge of his range. They sound better on a second listening. My score: 3/5 6. The First Time Boring. And not enough distinction between the verse and the chorus melodically for my taste. The first line of the chorus even reuses a title of a privious song "Like I've Never Loved Before" which is a much better power ballad of Stan's anyway. I normally prefer Stan's power ballads much better when done on guitar than on piano, and this one is done on piano. My score: 1/5 7. Long, Long Way If the last song didn't put me to sleep, this one is sure to wake me up! Nice high energy song again. Though I have to wonder exactly what this song is about. It seems like the song is being sung in the 3rd person pov sort of like Stan has observed this girl in a bad relationship that involved her being beaten or even being a prostitute or just in a bad relationship. But the last line of the chorus says "where did our love go wrong" which puts the song back in the first person pov. So it's confusing. But the music is really good for this one so I'm not sure I care if the lyrics are vague or not. My score 3/5 8. Over You Definately one of the better slow tracks on the album. It's nothing stand out, but after the last few tracks it's pretty soild. I like how the song comes full circle as well with the last few lines repeating at the end. But Stan need to stay away from those high notes again. My score: 4/5 9. Take It All The Way Stan's most enjoyable songs for me fall into the the "inspirational, you can do it, call to action" catagory, not unlike "The Touch" actually (no big surprise there). But this one I don't like. It's not bad, it just doesn't live up to it's promise. The high energy isn't there, especially on the chorus and the best lines in the chorus are borrowed from the much better "call to action" type song called "Straight to the Top" (a song I love). It feels more cobbled together from privious songs of the same type rather than feeling like something original. My score: 2/5 10. In This Life Finally another winner! Stan rarely fails to deliver awesome title songs and this one is no exception. This song is so good, it makes Take It All The Way pale even more in comparison I'm afraid. This is the type of song I envy all of those of you at BotCon who will get to see it performed live because it's so rockin' high energy and you can feel Stan's passion in the song as he sings. This song is also a great sing along towards the end that makes another reason for it to be performed live. I could so hear this in place of the Goo-Goo Dolls track on the new TF movie album not as a love theme (because this song isn't one) but as a "Sam and Mikaela find their hero within" theme song (although I actually kind of like that Goo-Goo Dolls song). My Score 5/5 11. Southern Rain The best slow song on the album, a song about childhood and the good old days. The song brings to mind, "The Child Within" the title track from one of Stan's priviously titled albums, but picks up on some of the themes of "In This Life" as well. The unplugged guitar sounds so much better than the piano and brings to mind the quiet unplugged sounds of Stan's "Love Don't Lie." This is the type of song you might expect Tom Petty to do. My score 5/5 12. The Touch No score for this song since it gets an automatic 5/5 from me anyway. The bigger question is first is it a new remix? The answer is yes. The next question is how does it compare to privious versions? Pretty well. This definately has more the feel of a "performed live version" the background sythesizer is pumped up more than the guitar in this version though the guitar is still able to play and scream, particularly at the end. The pacing of the background synthesizer seems to pump up the energy an extra notch and when Stan says "yeah" after that first "you got the touch you got the power" you really feel it. There are also background vocals on the chorus that add to the "live" feel. Maybe I'm traditional in that I still like the TF Movie soundtrack version best, but for a version that sounds more like a concert version this one best fits that sound. So if you are buying this album mainly for a new version of The Touch, it's pretty cool. 13. Til All Are One For those who don't know or are confused, this is not a new song, but a reworking of the Critical Mass/Ground Zero song from the BotCon '97 concert album, which can be found on Stan's "Call to Action" album (along with "Dare" and "The Touch"). The new arangement has is benefits and drawbacks. The intro seems too long to me. Whereas before you could skip the Critical Mass intro to get to Ground Zero if you wanted, here they are part of the same track. So you get a full 60 seconds of intro before the Stan even starts singing. The intro does contain some different arrangment and instruments though. The lyrics are different in the chorus, to sound more general perhaps to relate to the new movie. I can't say I like the new lyrics better or worse than the originals, just different. Though the line "Transformers, defenders of truth" sounds a little odd when one considers the Decepticons as well as Autobots too. I like the addition of the "til all are one" line at the end of the chorus. I like the ending to this version better than Ground Zero, I must admit it builds nicely, until fading out quietly at the very end. A good song, as I always liked Ground Zero, but if this really was Stan's "new" song that he submitted in hopes of being on the new movie album, I can kind of see why they passed. (Like I said, "In This Life" would have been a better general theme for Sam and Mikaela, or something new for the TFs entirely I would have prefered to hear instead of a simple reworking of an old song.) If you love Ground Zero or haven't heard it before, "Til All Are One" does make a nice substitute and reason to own this album though. My score: 5/5 (but don't get the album just for this song if you already have Ground Zero) So there you have it. Some good, some bad, some average, but mostly more good than bad. If this is your first Stan Bush album you are considering buying you will find about half of it to be pretty good, with two nice arangements of some old TF song favorites. I wish "Dare" could have also been included with a new arrangment, but you can't have everything. So if you like 80s classic rock it should be worth getting an autographed copy from Stan at BotCon (lucky dog you) and don't forget to sing along at the concert. My final score: 7/10 (minus the TF songs), 8/10 if you include them.