CHICAGO – Born For This Moment (2022)

CHICAGO - Born For This Moment (2022) full

Legendary CHICAGO band enter their 55th year together full throttle with a brand new studio album titled “Born For This Moment”. Over the entire course of 14 vibrant new songs, “Born For This Moment” (a.k.a. Chicago XXXVIII) encapsulates the scope and breadth of all the compositional and performance-propelled strengths at the ready in Chicago’s seemingly endless arsenal of musical acumen.
With songwriting contributions by the likes of Jim Peterik and guest vocals by Toto alumnus Bobby Kimball, “Born For This Moment” captures the true heart of Chicago at their full creative capacity.
From the undeniable swing of the lead single, “If This Is Goodbye,” to the unbreakable bonds of “For the Love,” to the deeply personal storytelling of “Safe Harbours,” the patriarchal aspirations of “Make a Man Outta Me,” the romantic reveries of “If This Isn’t Love,” and the rocking flare of “Firecracker,” it’s quite clear the collective force of nature that is Chicago is indeed alive and well… and flourishing better than ever, right here in the first quarter of the 21st century.

New Chicago albums don’t come along very often anymore. “Born For This Moment” is their first in eight years, not counting 2019’s Christmas album. But no matter how many years fall in between, we’re always prone to wonder which Chicago we’re going to get.
The brass-rock act has gone through several incarnations during its 55 years, after all. There were the pioneering and sometimes free-form adventures of the ’70s mixed with polished, chart-worthy singles, and then the even more commercial, multiplatinum achievements of Chicago 16 and 17 after the turn of the decade. It’s been a diverse five and a half decades, so any turn makes sense on any given new outing.

“Born For This Moment” hews to the middle of the road, with plenty of Rock&pop melodies and Chicago’s trademark brass arrangements, augmenting co-founders James Pankow and Lee Loughnane with additional players.
But more than anything the 14-track set, produced by Joe Thomas (Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, Tom Petty), marks the real arrival of singer and guitarist Neil Donell, a Canadian who filled the tenor (aka Peter Cetera) spot back in 2018 but hasn’t made his mark on record until now.
Chicago’s remaining founding members – Pankow, Loughnane and Robert Lamm – are certainly present, but with nine lead or co-lead vocals here, Donell becomes more than just part of the group’s touring retinue.

He’s featured right out of the box on Born for This Moment’s title track, one of three written by Lamm and Survivor veteran Jim Peterik, a love song with a slightly Latin sway and a lush array of brass and swings, with the horns modulating a hot jam toward the end.
Donell and Lamm trade vocals on the boy-band-ready single “If This Is Goodbye,” while “Someone Need Me the Most,” with a guest vocal by Toto alumnus Bobby Kimball, could be an outtake from Chicago’s 16/17 era.
Donell’s sole writing credit is also Born for This Moment’s best song: “Safe Harbours,” a rumination on the hopes and dreams parents feel for their children when they send them off to a new world. Its careful arrangement weaves together folky strains, Chicago’s trademark brass attack nicely restrained alongside equally reined-in strings to ornament the track’s rich melody.

Pankow also has fatherhood on his mind in the sweet and, yeah, sappy “Make a Man Out of Me,” while Lamm hews to the romantic and sentimental on his tracks.
“Our New York Time,” with its deliberate instrumental references to “Beginnings,” reminisces about falling in love in his hometown, accompanied by a classic horn arrangement and one of the album’s hotter guitar solos (by Tom Bukovac). “The Mermaid (Sereia Do Mar)” mines a lounge-y ambience, and on the album-closing “The House on the Hill,” Lamm ponders mortality, acknowledging the toll of a life spent in transit.

“Born For This Moment” won’t replace any of those Chicago first nine albums – or even 16 and 17 – in your collection, and it’s not as adventurous as 2014’s Chicago XXXVI: Now, but has enough hallmarks to engage any longtime fan for a moment, if not longer.
Highly Recommended


01 – Born For This Moment
02 – If This Is Goodbye
03 – Firecracker
04 – Someone Needed Me The Most
05 – Our New York Time
06 – Safer Harbours
07 – Crazy Idea
08 – Make A Man Outta Me
09 – She’s Right
10 – “The Mermaid” Sereia Do Mar
11 – You’ve Got To Believe
12 – For The Love
13 – If This Isn’t Love
14 – House On The Hill

Neil Donell – lead and backing vocals
Robert Lamm – keyboards, lead and backing vocals
Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals, horn arrangements
Ray Herrmann – saxophones, backing vocals
Walfredo Reyes Jr. – drums, percussion
Tony Obrohta – guitar
Loren Gold – keyboards
Bobby Kimball – guest vocals


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