Plumb, “Need You Now” Review

From her early days leading an alt rock band to
crossing genres as a solo artist, Plumb’s Tiffany Lee
has nearly done it all. Her voice has influenced the
likes of Evanescence’s Amy Lee and brought her into
the dance club charts, while her songs have been
featured in TV and film (like Jim Carrey’s Bruce
Almighty), as well as become Christian radio hits.
Through it all, she also finds the balance between a
strong career and life as a wife and mother of three.
Perhaps then it’s no surprise that, except for a hits
record and a few new singles teasing the promise of
something new, things have seemed relatively quiet in
the past few years.
Nearly six years have gone by since her last proper
full-length release, Blink, and even that was a big style
departure, trading in edgy alt rock for gentle lullabies
and ballads. Rumors of new music have been buzzing
for a while, and after a title change and several
release date moves, her sixth studio album, Need You
Now has arrived as a return to form, an eclectic
mix of hooky pop and rock songs that present a
multi-faceted portrait of an accomplished artist and
a regular woman with a story to tell.
By the time the opening of “Invisible” rumbles in and
introduces her distinctive voice, it’s clear this is
Plumb back to what she does best: darkly melodic,
yet hopeful alternative rock. Or at least, that’s mostly
what happens. Need You Now shows off the different
sounds she perfected in her 2006 release Chaotic
Resolve. It’s all here: the raging rock grit of “Invisible”
and “Cage,” the ethereal pop vibe of “Drifting” and
“Need You Now,” and the playful romantic tunes
“One Drop” and “Chocolate and Ice Cream,” with
even a dance remix of “I Don’t Deserve You” for good
measure.
Even from the early days, her songwriting has never
shied away chronicling the darker side of emotion,
dealing with abuse, depression, and insecurities while
offering hope. The vulnerability that moved and
endeared her fans with songs like “Damaged” and
“Cut” continues, yet it feels even more personal this
time around. A highlight on this record is “Beautiful,”
a pop song with a bit of an 80’s vibe that examines
insecurities, the complex nature of marriage, and
wonder at enduring love that can still say “you’re
beautiful, so beautiful to me.” The theme is echoed
toward the love of God as well in “I Don’t Deserve
You,” a ballad inspired by the story of the Prodigal
Son (“And when I walk away / You take off running
and come right after me / It’s what you do / And I
don’t deserve you.”)
The radio hit “Need You Now” subtly references her
personal struggles with anxiety and panic attacks
(“How many times have you given me strength to just
keep breathing?”), while “Cage” makes a surprising
twist toward the end of the record and crackles with
emotion as it describes the struggle with failure and
depression. But balancing out the darkness is a
measure of joy, and “One Drop” brings one of the
most lighthearted moments on the record. With an
infectious pop hook and cheerful ukelele, the answer
is found in “just one drop of your love.”
Though it might seem all over the place on first listen,
it turns out that this record is a portrayal of life’s
complexity, all wrapped in a variety of musical styles,
a powerful yet vulnerable voice, and emotional and
lyrical honesty. Those who have been waiting for
more of what Plumb does best will find a lot to love in
Need You Now, as it shows off the many sides of
Tiffany Lee and makes another strong entry in her
career’s beautiful history.
Plumb’s long delayed
Need You Now gives new
life to the old adage that
‘some things are worth
waiting for’. From the
distorted guitars and
soulful wailing of
opening number
“Invisible” to the slowly
building crescendo of
closer “At Arm’s
Length” (where the lyrics
reference the album’s
former title, Faster Than
A Bullet), Plumb delivers
sounds that will appeal
to old fans, with new
textures that will appeal
to a broad spectrum of
pop music listeners. Dan
Hasteltine (a former
lablemate and a
producer on Plumb’s first
album back in 1997)
shows up for a
powerhouse duet of hope
in “Drifting,” a song for
those who find
themselves “farther from
the shore.” A sweet
ukulele strum forms the
foundation of “One
Drop,” a song that would
rule most pop radio
charts if given the
chance.
It is in the small (and
sometimes
uncomfortable) details of
everyday life that Plumb
shines the brightest.
“Beautiful” is an ode to a
spouse who does not
always get treated
properly, but responds
gracefully nonetheless.
“Chocolate & Ice Cream”
is a sweet song of
domestic bliss and “I
Don’t Deserve You” is an
honest parental look at
the long, long road of
raising a child. Put all
these themes and sounds
together and they add up
to one of the best releases
of the year. – Tincan
Caldwell, 2/25/13
Record Label: Curb Records
Album length: 13 tracks: 51 minutes, 23 seconds
Street Date: February 26, 2013
Buy It: iTunes
Buy It: Amazon.com
1. Invisible (3:38)
2. Drifting (w/ Dan Haseltine) (3:13)
3. Beautiful (4:32)
4. One Drop (3:54)
5. I Want You Here (5:14)
6. Say Your Name (3:23)
7. Unlovable (3:55)
8. Need You Now (How Many Times) (4:14)
9. Chocolate & Ice Cream (3:21)
10. I Don’t Deserve You (4:12)
11. Cage (3:19)
12. At Arm’s Length (5:02)
13. I Don’t Deserve You (with Paul van Dyk)
(3:32)

I Am TholhuGospel

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