Review: Robert Lauri with Diane Marino, “Nothing’s How It Used to Be”

Robert Lauri with Diane Marino, “Nothing’s How It Used to Be”

16 Jan, 2013 Gary Hill

It’s hard to get a complete feeling of what this artist is all about just from this one song single.  However, this is strong enough to leave the listener wanting to learn more.  That much is certain.  The sound presented here can obviously lead in a number of directions, but the track is mature, powerful and just plain entertaining.  It has some world music elements, while also fitting into both jazz and progressive rock realms in a lot of ways. “Nothing’s How It Used to Be” is a duet between Robert Lauri and Diane Marino with lyrics by Mitch Hiller.

This is essentially a ballad and it starts quite slow, dramatic and theatric.  The two voices complement one another well.  After a verse it gets a bit more energy.  There is a pop rock vibe to it that seems a bit Beatles-like at times.  There is a lot of emotion both in the musical arrangement and the vocal delivery.  This has sort of a “snowball” approach on the arrangement as each time through it picks up more layers of sound and gets weightier. Somehow, there are hints of musical theater in the piece.

Taken as a song to entertain, this piece is great.  It does more than that, though.  It manages to intrigue the listener, leaving him or her wanting more.  It conjures images and thoughts and emotions.  That’s a trait found in the best music.  It’s tough to gauge just how good this artist is from one song, particularly one that sits between styles as well as this one does.  It certainly bodes well for great things, though.  It’s probably a good bet to keep eyes (and ears) on Lauri, because this song shows the potential for real greatness. The lyrics are poignant.  The songwriting is clever and mature.  The performances, production and arrangement all show a great attention to detail and understanding of the skills required to create truly great music.  Add in some excellent vocals and the picture is complete and striking.

Review by G. W. Hill
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)