Up 'Til Now

Janis Ian

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Up 'Til Now Review

by Lindsay Planer

This single-disc compilation contains 17 selections chosen by Janis Ian for Sony Benelux in Europe, becoming a huge success and even going gold in Holland. Up 'Til Now is a chronological overview consisting primarily of sides derived from the seven albums that the artist issued between 1974 and 1981 on Columbia, the lone exception being the previously unavailable "This Night," a one-off track recorded in 1985 that marked a reunion with Brooks Arthur. Ian cites her former collaborator/producer as a major figure behind the scenes on both Stars (1974) and Between the Lines (1975). Otherwise, Up 'Til Now (1997) is nothing short of an insightful précis to the LPs Stars (1974), Between the Lines (1975), Aftertones (1976), Miracle Row (1977), Janis Ian (1978), Night Rains (1979), and Restless Eyes (1981). "Stars" commences this compendium with the darkly gilded tale of celebrity. Other notable inclusions are some of the deeper album cuts such as the lurking minor-chord progression punctuating "In the Winter" or the contrastingly loose and limber "Let Me Be Lonely." As one might anticipate, this best-of also features the harrowing antiwar love song "Jesse" and Ian's Grammy Award-winning hit single "At Seventeen." The latter-era tunes, which may not be as familiar, are no less compelling. "Silly Habits" is a sensuous torch ballad highlighting Ian on piano; although somewhat out of character, "Fly Too High" is tastefully fused with upbeat jazzy inflections and sports a tasty trumpet lead courtesy of top session player Steve Madaio.

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