Released on the heels of splashier albums like 'I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You' (VMP Essentials #84) and 'Lady Soul', 'Aretha Now' is often — and unfortunately — overlooked in her body of work. I find this album to be interesting and important because it does in 10 songs what her handlers at Columbia spent six years trying to do: demonstrate her ability to sing anything and everything without reading as gimmicky or unfocused like so many of her early albums, which ping-ponged from jazz, to Broadway standards, to novelty songs, resembling a person trying a series of keys in a door in an attempt to determine which one will unlock it. 'Aretha Now' is an evolved — and effortless-sounding — showcase of her range and versatility; her ability to not only elevate any song she sang, but to make it completely hers in such a way that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else singing it.