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A Time To Love - Press Release

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A Time 2 Love
Ed Bumgardner
27 October 2005

If you like: Vintage Stevie Wonder
Song to download: "Moon Blue"

It’s been 10 years since Stevie Wonder’s last album of new material, and longer still since he released a disc that reflected the undeniable greatness of his work in the 1970s.

Wonder’s A Time 2 Love proves worth the wait, a disc that flirts with the funky innovations of his ’70s work without sacrificing a contemporary voice. The album is nearly 80 minutes long, so it’s not for short attention spans. But generally high-quality material and performances, combined with Wonder’s binding call for love in troubled times, make for a smooth ride.

The key is the groove - a largely organic pulse that, even at its funkiest moments, takes its time to drive each song to often-dramatic heights. The synthesizers are still used, but more often than not, Wonder either plays all instruments or brings in a band peppered with guests. Big names - Prince, Sir Paul McCartney and Bonnie Raitt - contribute, but none do so in any way that distinctly marks his or her presence or detracts from the song.

The guest singers - gospel star Kim Burrell, India.Arie and Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris (last heard as a baby on "Isn’t She Lovely") - are fine, with Morris emerging as every bit her father’s daughter. Wonder, too, is in great voice; the jazzy "Moon Blue" finds him soulfully soaring to dizzying heights.

Wonder continues to make sophisticated harmonic changes sound simple by spinning memorable melodies and creating catchy choruses (the hook in "Tell Your Heart I Love You" is among his strongest). "Please Don’t Hurt My Baby" and "So What The Fuss" are fine and funky, offsetting the odd trip into treacle. Happily, Wonder’s missteps are few, as should be the case, given the disc’s gestation period. Besides, Time 2 Love didn’t have to be perfect; it just had to be Wonder enough. It’s that - and more.