A Time To Love - Press Release
A Time 2 Love
29 October 2005
If you're a legendary figure from music's old guard, it's been a
good year for a little artistic rehabilitation. On new albums, such
icons as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Van Morrison have made
belated but successful attempts to reclaim honest inspiration, producing
music superior to most of their recent work.
Stevie Wonder may now join those fellow veterans in the 2005
winners' circle. A Time to Love -- delayed so often it has mystique
built in -- isn't perfect. But in the context of Wonder's latter-day
career, it's as ideal as we can reasonably expect.
For his first album in 10 years, there are moments when the
Detroit-bred star ramps up the urgency. If Your Love Cannot Be Moved, a
duet with Kim Burrell, is one of several epic productions, a six-minute
blend of African drums, hip-hop beats and dark strings.
The limber Please Don't Hurt My Baby nods to Superstition-styled
funk, while So What the Fuss comes with a buzz-bass bounce.
Still, as he has for two decades, Wonder clings to languid balladry.
The best of the slow stuff works because of a nuanced, jazzy
sophistication (Moon Blue, The Sweetest Somebody I Know), but Wonder
occasionally loiters in the lukewarm zone of adult contemporary pop,
minus the melodies that could redeem it all. Overall, though, it's clear
the creative juices are flowing again.
On the nine-minute title track with guest vocalist India.Arie,
Wonder gathers all the elements for the kind of psychoactive sonic stew
that marked his early '70s work, driving home the simple love message
found on each of the album's 15 tracks.
With new music from artists of Wonder's stature, we sometimes find
ourselves willing it to be good simply because we wish it to be good.
Here, for the most part, we can relax and enjoy an album that should age
more gracefully than any Stevie Wonder release in many years.