Today, Johnny Hartman's first record for Perception, was a new beginning of sorts. It just wasn't a very good beginning. Hartman decided to ease his way into the popular mainstream with Today, recording such recent pop hits "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Games People Play," "Betcha By Golly Wow," "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "We've Only Just Begun." Each of these songs are terrific pop singles, but with the exceptions of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Help Me Make It Through the Night," they're identified by their performers as much as the songs themselves, and none of them lend themselves to the kind of hushed, sympathetic treatment Hartman has been known to give. Furthermore, the sound of the record is too slick for Hartman, which gives the record an uneasy easy listening sound. There are moments on Today that work, such as the lovely "Summer Wind," but by and large this is a missed opportunity.