With 1993's Paid Vacation, Richard Marx's career was steered from more rock-leaning territory to the softer and friendlier landscape of adult contemporary, and the resulting album was much warmer and organic than his previous releases, most notably 1991's dark and brooding Rush Street. Paid Vacation's lead single, the acoustic ballad "Now and Forever," became a massive pop and adult contemporary hit in a time when popular music had changed from the corporate rock of the '80s to the angst-ridden grunge and rap of the '90s. Paid Vacation also produced a Top 20 hit with the light-hearted soul nugget "The Way She Loves Me," which also proved to be Marx's last American Top 40 hit of the decade. Other highlights include the melodic, mid-tempo hit "Nothing Left Behind Us" (which was unfortunately left off his Greatest Hits album), as well as the soaring up-tempo track "Nothing to Hide" and two more of Marx's trademark cautionary tales about the pitfalls of Hollywood and fame, "Silent Scream" and "Goodbye Hollywood." Not all the album resides in softer territory, however. "What You Want" and "Heaven's Waiting" are two upbeat, neo-rockabilly offerings which stand out among the other cuts. All in all, Paid Vacation is an engaging set which signaled a big change in musical direction for Richard Marx, one of the late '80s and early '90s most consistent hitmakers.
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AllMusic Review by Jose F. Promis