Music is Life is Osborne at his apex: tracks such as the mid-tempo "Ain't No More," about a love gone bad; the catchy "When You Love Me" and "I Don't Know," a so-right groove about a day that went so wrong, is the Osborne longtime fans know and love, while the hip-hop flavored "Kisses," the dark, urgent "Caller I.D." and the lush, expansive "Pretty Thing" find Osborne forging terrain new to his trademark voice.
"The Rest of Our Lives," a big, sweeping ballad Osborne wrote specifically as a wedding song, will undoubtedly be adopted as such; just as the certified head bobber "One Love" - chronicle of the onset of the almighty weekend - is destined to become a club and party anthem.
"Say You've Had Enough" and "Love The Pain Away" are both achingly sexy ballads, while the track "Stranger" is anything but, it being a remake of the 1974 L.T.D. favorite. Osborne has breathed new life into the song, transforming a classic into a modern standard. Indeed, it feels just like "Paradise," a breezy melodic wonder with a feel-good hook.
The title track, "Music Is Life," says it all. A funky, dynamic, impassioned ode to mother music, it sways with love and reverence to the thing that makes the world go 'round.
Music Is Life is not a veteran artist trying to be something he is not; on the contrary, this is very much where Osborne has always been, with one foot in the tried and true, the other in what is fresh.
"This record will surprise people," smiles Osborne. "It is the record I've wanted to make for awhile now, and finally said, 'It's now or never.' I wanted to do something that was more youthful musically while maintaining my lyrical integrity, and I wanted to do it on my own label for a change - take a chance on myself."
To assist him in his musical mission, Osborne shunned the usual suspects to collaborate with members of his musical family - primarily road band members Suamana "Swoop" Brown on keyboards and drum programming and keyboardist Ming Freeman, both of who co-wrote with Osborne.
Keyboardist Frankie Crawford and guitarist Kevin Chokan round out the recording fold, with Osborne buddy Tony Maiden of the legendary band Rufus adding tasty guitar to several tracks. Engineer Khaliq Glover, another Osborne stalwart, recorded and mixed the project, recorded in its in entirety at Osborne's recording studio.
Says Osborne, "The feel is different from my last recording [2002's That's For Sure, including the sultry single and title track issued on the Private Music/Windham Hill label]. It's me, but it's something else, too. I have to say that I haven't been this excited about hearing reaction to a recording of mine in a long time."