Review by Dom Vigil
This Is It., the easygoing, catchy release from An Intimate Evening with Michael Shaw, is sure to be an instant classic. The sound, the mood and the overall vibe of This Is It. is timeless, making for an incredible listen, no matter what you’re looking for.
“Floating Away,” the first track of This Is It., eases you into the album slowly. It doesn’t begin with a bang, but rather an easygoing summer track that lulls you into relaxation as you get to know both Michael Shaw and the album as a whole. It’s hard not to enjoy “Floating Away” right off the bat, as it’s just simply easy to listen to. Michael Shaw’s voice is soothing, the instrumentation is pretty, and when the whole song finally comes together, it seems to really come to life and bloom, a catchy lead guitar hook taking you on a journey into This Is It.
Following such a great first track like “Floating Away,” it’s hard not to wonder how the rest of the album could possibly follow it up or top it, but then “Leave Me Alone” comes in with a gorgeous piano into and a beautiful vocal part, just proving how strong This Is It. really is. “Leave Me Alone” feels more like a ballad than anything, with a prominent rhythm section and strong vocals and lyrics, whereas the following song, “So Low” is upbeat and catchy, with a really unique intro. Within the first three songs, An Intimate Evening with Michael Shaw manages to take you on an emotional journey, and that's still with six songs to go.
There isn’t one huge particular “wow” moment on the album that blows the rest of This Is It. out of the water, but rather many strong points and little things peppered throughout each track that makes the album as a whole strong. For instance, the instrumentation on “So Low” is incredible, and on top of that, it’s a rather catchy and upbeat track for the lyrical content of “I don’t wanna be so low.” There are also these synthey parts throughout much the album that really add another great level to its sound, and the added effects on Shaw’s vocals are a great touch, as well. If there is a standout song, though, it would have to be “Gooseberry Fool,” which kicks things off fast with an amazing guitar solo right off the bat, but then leads into a rather mellow verse. The chorus of “Gooseberry Fool” is strong and catchy, yet simple and memorable. “Gooseberry Fool” hosts many of the things that make This Is It. strong as a whole - if you’re going to listen to one song on this album, listen to this one.
Following “Gooseberry Fool” is the mellow, easygoing track, “Raincloud,” then “Shambles” which is another gorgeous ballad. As the album comes to a close, it mellows out with “Wise Words” and easily the slowest song, “Now You Know.” In these last few songs, some of the songwriting and instrumentation (and possibly the mellow mood) can get a little repetitive, especially in “Shambles” and “Wise Words” which tend to sound very similar. “Now You Know,” however, hosts some of the more interesting instrumentation and songwriting choices on the album, making it a perfect closing track. This Is It. definitely isn’t an explosive release by any means, but it is perfect for summertime, with laid back moody tracks, soothing vocals and guitar hooks that will keep you coming back for more.
Listen to "Gooseberry Fool"