Now In A Minute, by Donna Lewis
Although this is by no means a new album to me, it is striking to me at least that I have never sat down to review this album. So, in listening to this album, I am not taking it fresh, as is common with me when I listen to an album, but rather I am listening to an album that I have liked for a while and which carries a certain feeling of nostalgia for the nadir of Adult Contemporary music in the mid-1990’s when this album was released and contained the fluke #2 hit “I Love You Always Forever,” which drove this album to success. It is noteworthy, though, that this remains an album that has not been streamed often, as no song on this album apart from the title track (or its remix) has been listened to on Spotify even one million times. Donna Lewis is a pretty true example of a one-hit wonder in the popular consciousness, but is that really far? Let’s see.
This album begins with “Without Love,” the second single of this album which narrowly missed the top 40 in the United States, a beautiful song about the value of love. It is followed by an ode of appreciation from Donna Lewis to her “Mother.” “I Love You Aways Forever” follows, the big hit and a song full of innocent adoration that remains catchy even more than 25 years after it was released and hit #2 on the charts for months. “Nothing Ever Changes” has a melancholy feeling off lost innocence and youth that for all of its tranquility is still quite moving. “Simone” is soothing and therapeutic, just what you would want for a song that appears to be encouragement to overcoming childhood trauma and abuse. “Love And Affection” combines coy flirtation with instrumentation that is the closest thing to rock here on this album. “Agenais” continues the album’s dreamlike sense of beauty and wonder that appears like a song about a jrpg. “Fools Paradise” is a song about wising up to a bad lover, a reminder of the downside of love and relationships. “Lights Of Love,” perhaps the slightest song here, hints at Elie Goulding’s better song on the same theme. “Silent World” is a beautiful if desolate song about reflecting on the aftermath of the death of a loved one, and the album ends with a lovely if inessential remix of “I Love You Always Forever,” because why not.
It is striking that Donna Lewis released this album in her 30’s. It is hard to listen to this album and to avoid thinking that it served as a template for the later efforts of Colbie Caillet, another artist who had a similar lane in releasing innocent love songs that seem at striking odds with starting a career in pop in her 30’s. Be that as it may, this album is hypnotic and peaceful and therapeutic, and if the album is one that is obscure to contemporary listeners, it deserves to be better known, not least because its creation appears to be tailor-made to help ease anxiety and tension and allow one a peaceful and relaxing sleep. Some people might think it a bad thing to make an album that seeks to treat insomnia, but I get the feeling that Donna Lewis would appreciate knowing that her album remains, even after all these years, a beautiful and peaceful album whose sweetness and calmness does not entirely disguise its themes of love and loss, its reflection on time and on the boundary between dream and reality. There is a place in this world for an album like this, and a great many people whose life could be bettered by appreciating this album and what it brings to the ears and the mind.