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A Time To Love

A Time To Love

  • WONDER STEVIE A TIME 2 LOVE

Time To Love consists of 15 original tracks that revolve around the theme of love. Musically, the set reflects Wonder’s embrace of all genres, from hip-hop to gospel to world music, with some arrangements using strings. These musical and lyrical components spark memories of signature songs from Wonder’s 45-year career. Guest vocalists include gospel artist Kim Burrell on ‘If Your Love Cannot Be Moved’ (with choir vocals produced by Kirk Franklin) and India Arie on the title track. Other guests include flutist Hubert Laws, guitarist Doc Powell, Paul McCartney, drummer Narada Michael Walden and Brazilian guitarist Oscar Castro Neves. Motown. 2005. Stevie Wonder took more than ten years to give a studio successor to Conversation Peace but A Time to Love feels fresher than we had any right to expect after such a long wait. For starters, the guests are well picked: They include Bonnie Raitt (playing slide guitar on “Tell Your Heart I Love You”), gospel singer Kim Burrell (on “If Your Heart Cannot Be Moved”), India Arie (on the title track), and Wonder’s own daughter, Aisha Morris (whom listeners may remember as the source of her dad’s delight in Songs in the Key of Life–”Isn’t She Lovely”). Last but not least, Prince plays elegant, minimal funky guitar and En Vogue perform swoony backup vocals on first single “So What the Fuss,” a classic pared-down dance number graced with Wonder’s trademark socially conscious lyrics. It’s on tracks like these–sounding as if they could be from anytime between 1975 and now–that Wonder shows he’s still got the golden touch. He remains a sterling melodicist (“Moon Blue” is a killer ballad), and the harmonica intro on “From the Bottom of My Heart” is among the loveliest he’s created. Of course a Wonder album wouldn’t be complete without saccharine ballads, and he delivers there too (“Passionate Raindrops,” “Can’t Imagine Love Without You”). Still, this is a solid effort from one of America’s premier artists. –Elisabeth Vincentelli

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3 Responses to A Time To Love

  • P Magnum says:
    116 of 120 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Stevie’s Back, October 18, 2005
    By 
    P Magnum (NJ, USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: A Time To Love (Audio CD)
    Stevie Wonder’s A Time To Love has been slated to be released several times in the past year or so. But it kept being pushed back and one wondered if it would ever be taken off the shelf. Usually that doesn’t bode well for albums, but that is not the case here. This album is the best he’s done since maybe Hotter Than July. The album finds him mixing the best of his musical traits, his social awareness and his sweet love songs. Mr. Wonder is a notorious perfectionist, but his attention to detail in the production real shines. The songs are magnificently arranged and crafted, especially the love songs. Mr. Wonder sings them with an all-knowing confidence of someone who isn’t new to the game. The opening song, “If Your Love Cannot Be Moved”, is a dramatic opening that is a duet with Kim Burrell and features some rhymes from old-school legend Doug E. Fresh. “Sweetest Somebody I Know” is a great mid-tempo number while “Moon Blue” & “From The Bottom Of My Heart” are more syrupy. “How Will I Know” is a jazzy number that he duets with his daughter Aisha Morris (who made her recording debut as the baby crying on the song she inspired 1976′s “Isn’t She Lovely). The song is especially appealing because there a sense of joy and fun that Mr. Wonder lets out while singing with his daughter (who sounds a bit like Alicia Keys). “My Love Is On Fire” (which features great flute work by Hubert Laws) & “Passionate Raindrops” have tremendous orchestration and “So What The Fuss” is as funky as anything he’s done since the 70′s. Mr. Wonder saves the best for last in the sprawling nine-minute title track. It is a duet with India.Arie (and features old fried Sir Paul McCartney on guitar) that has a sweeping string arrangement and the message of peace and love is as sincere and convincing as any social lyric Mr. Wonder has recorded. This album has it all and don’t be surprised if the year-end accolades pile up high for this first-rate effort. Let’s hope it is less than a decade before Mr. Wonder graces us with another album.

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  • Bryan Payton "Big B.P." says:
    16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Genius Never Dies, It Only Gets Better!!!!, December 2, 2005
    By 
    Bryan Payton “Big B.P.” (Oakland, CA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: A Time To Love (Audio CD)
    Without question, this new album by Stevie Wonder is one of the best albums that Stevie has ever done. And that’s saying a lot, because all of Stevie’s albums are good, and most of his albums are better than good. His songwriting skills are still top notch, as well as his production skills. And of course, Stevie still has that vocal magic, and his vocals are as good as ever. All of the songs on this album are strong, but the ones that I like the most are tracks no. 2,3,4,5,7,9,14, and 15.

    You know, I’m getting kind of tired of hearing people who have critiqued this album to say that it’s not as strong as his albums of the seventies and early eighties. Let me tell you something: if this album was released in the seventies, then we’d place this album on the same pedelstal of his great albums of the seventies. It’s really unfair to compare the albums of today to the albums of the seventies, because the taste for music was different then it is today. The listeners of today don’t have the depth and musical intellect that the listener had in the seventies. Today, all you got to do is have a bass line with a drum machine with the lyrics talkin about sex and you’ll sell a million records. The music of today is pitiful, and these so called R&B artist of today can learn a lot from Mr. Wonder. One listen to this album and they’ll know what true musical genius is all about!!!!!

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  • Dr Jeremy Buddle says:
    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Buy this album if you like GOOD music., March 11, 2006
    By 
    Dr Jeremy Buddle (Battery Point, Tasmania Australia) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: A Time To Love (Audio CD)
    Stevie Wonder is just about the best artist ever in the field of modern popular song, with his fantastic messages, uplifting lyrics, joyous singing, great musicality and wonderful talent on so many instruments. So for this new album, I was very keen to hear what his latest songs were like.

    I was very happy with the album A Time To Love, for two main reasons. Firstly, Stevie sounds terrific on vocals – every bit as good as previously. I love his singing style, and the way he adds life and energy into every melody he sings by sliding around the notes and adding his unique vocal flourishes.

    Secondly, he has some very fine songs here. I really like the title tune A Time To Love. This is a message song with guest vocals from the talented Acoustic Soul lady India.Arie (who herself paid tribute to Stevie’s immense musical contributions on her last CD), and it ends with beautiful percussion from a group of international rhythm specialists from all types of various cultures. I LOVE this idea – it’s not enough to just wish for love and peace – you have to get out there and build those bridges with people from different traditions and cultures or else war and hate really do start to win. Stevie is one of those special people who have the talent and the heart to try to make the world better, and I can only hope that heaps of people will listen to this song and learn that now really is A Time To Love.

    Of the other songs, my favourites are Positivity, which is a feel-good track which is filled with joy. Stevie refers to his past and his heritage here, and shares the vocals with his daughter Aisha Morris on the choruses. She has a lovely voice , and I agree with the reviewer who said she sounded like Alicia Keys. Sweetest Somebody I Know is lovely, Moon Blue has a sedate pace with a cool vocal and some delightful piano instrumentals . It is a stand out track. I also really like Passionate Raindrops. This is just a beautiful song that conjures up warm feelings of companionate love. Shelter In The Rain is a beacon of hope for those left devastated by disaster – I believe it was dedicated to those made homeless by the catastrophic hurricane Katrina that flooded Louisiana and Mississippi last year. Stevie’s sincere compassion and emotive voice bring this sentiment to life. The other one I really liked was From The Bottom Of My Heart, which also creates a feeling of joy and love, and brings back the classic Stevie Wonder harmonica sound on its terrific leaping intro melody.

    There are some slower ballads too (True Love, How Will I Know), and some funky arrangements to remind us that Stevie can still kick a mean groove if he feels like it. So What The Fuss was a CD single and is a pretty good funk track.

    At 15 tracks and 75+ minutes, this CD is loaded with good music, and shines as a record of a genuinely good person who is also a master musician and somebody for we music fans to treasure.

    I can only give this 5 stars !!

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