http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/8286f59405c205b9cdb156b9f15c317c1764d47b.jpg A Time To Love

Stevie Wonder

A Time To Love

Universal Distribution
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
October 20, 2005

Complain all you want about Stevie Wonder taking his sweet time — ten years of it in this case — to deliver a new record. On A Time to Love, the soul giant (and notoriously fussy producer) used that go-slow approach where it really counts: in the grooves. The best tracks on this much-superior follow-up to 1995's flabby Conversation Peace reconnect Wonder with a key trait of "Superstition" and much of his storied Seventies output: a rhythm section that keeps to its own sauntering, funky schedule.

Almost half of the fifteen songs recall Wonder at his prime — they start from a crisp, nothing-fancy backbeat and gather drama as they steamroll along. The opening strut, "If Your Love Can Not Be Moved," which features gospel powerhouse Kim Burrell, gradually swells into cinematic hugeness. "Tell Your Heart I Love You," which sports one of the most addictive refrains Wonder has written since "Master Blaster," works because there's room for the sweeping, pleading melody, which Wonder sings and plays on harmonica, to unwind. The noirish ballad "Moon Blue" inspires dazzling vocal ad-libs from Wonder — enough to give most Mariah Carey disciples nightmares. And "Positivity," one of two tracks featuring Wonder's daughter Aisha Morris (previously heard splashing in the tub on "Isn't She Lovely"), turns on a tightly wound Jackson 5-style pulse that is the essence of optimism.

Several of the remaining songs are much less satisfying: "Shelter in the Rain," the album's designated hurricane-relief track, is overwrought, and "Passionate Raindrops" and "My Love Is On Fire" are gunked-up clutter. But when Wonder gets a good idea, he instinctively leaves it alone, letting that strong and eternal spirit that animates all his best work shine through, in its own sweet time.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »