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Time to Love

A Time to Love

4.2 4
by Stevie Wonder
With A Time to Love, Stevie Wonder's first album since 1995's Conversation Peace, the multi-faceted Motown legend shows he hasn't missed a creative step. Hope, happiness, and love are at the heart of this collection, for which the legend wrote or co-wrote all of the music and lyrics. On the disc, Wonder builds off a base of funk and ballads while


With A Time to Love, Stevie Wonder's first album since 1995's Conversation Peace, the multi-faceted Motown legend shows he hasn't missed a creative step. Hope, happiness, and love are at the heart of this collection, for which the legend wrote or co-wrote all of the music and lyrics. On the disc, Wonder builds off a base of funk and ballads while heading down other stylistic byways. Duets with daughter Aisha Morris, (last heard as a baby on the '70s smash "Isn't She Lovely") range from the torch-song jazz of "How Will I Know" to the uplifting and bouncy Jackson 5-flavored R&B of "Positivity." Elsewhere, the 55-year-old doles out lightly orchestrated bossa nova via the "Sweetest Somebody I Know," and gets his old-school electro-funk groove on with "So What the Fuss" complete with Gap Band-flavored synth squiggles, backup vocals from En Vogue, and a cameo by fellow comeback kid Prince on guitar. And while other cameos -- by a slide guitar-wielding Bonnie Raitt on the bouncy, harmonica-powered head-bobber "Tell Your Heart I Love You" and a Kirk Franklin-led choir on the gospel-inspired "Shelter in the Rain," among many others -- resonate effectively, it's on the sweeping title duet with India.Arie where Wonder strikes the socially conscious note that he last hit effectively in the '70s. Amid a mélange of Indian tablas, African talking drums, Wonder's understated piano accompaniment, and a hint of strings, the twosome sincerely ponder: "Hatred, violence and terrorism/When will there be a time to love?" Ballads like "Passionate Raindrops" and "From the Bottom of My Heart" find Wonder layering the sentimentality on a bit too thick, but overall, A Time to Love is a welcome return.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rob Theakston
During times of extreme political and social change, Stevie Wonder's voice and songwriting served as cultural and spiritual guideposts to many a listener, often lending insight and a barometer with which to measure the ways of the world. But that was largely during the golden phase of his career, generally regarded as being the late '60s through 1980's Hotter Than July. His work in the mid-'80s through the '90s was marginal in comparison, only hinting at glimpses of former brilliance, sugar-coated by over-polished production and radio-friendly content. So with a decade passing since his last full-length, 1995's Conversation Piece, people waited with bated breath for a sign of his return...and wondered which Wonder would show up: would it be the socially conscious genius who wrote anthems for a generation, or the R&B crooner who dominated quiet storm radio? Thankfully, it's a blend of both. For every forward-moving song with a theme, there's a gentle moment of tranquility to cancel it out. Many of these songs, save for their warm and polished digital production values, could have easily found a home in Talking Book, Music of My Mind, or any of the other albums for which Wonder will forever be praised. In an age when the majority of R&B is about money, drugs, infidelity, or getting it on, Wonder's lyrics (especially during the love songs) recall the simplicity and innocence of early Motown without sounding trite. It's definitely a refreshing change of pace and hopefully something one or two aspiring producers and songwriters are paying attention to. These are love songs of maturity that are carefully crafted, which would more or less explain why it took nearly a decade to get them finalized, with many of them feeling like mature revisitations of the classics. (If "Happier Than the Morning Sun" and "Little Girl Blue" were a pair of teenagers in love, "Sweetest Somebody I Know" is that couple 30 years later at its class reunion.) The jazzy "How Will I Know," featuring Wonder's daughter on lead vocals (the same Aisha sung about nearly 30 years ago on "Isn't She Lovely"), is the gateway to the album's second half, a five-song cycle of ballads and quiet storm jams that will appease fans of Wonder's later work. Especially notable is "My Love Is on Fire," featuring a beautiful guest appearance from jazz flutist Hubert Laws, which exemplifies the other thing that makes A Time to Love the comeback album of the year: the never-ending list of celebrity cameo appearances so extensive it would make Carlos Santana and Clive Davis blush with modesty. Guest appearances from rap pioneer Doug E. Fresh, Bonnie Raitt, Sir Paul McCartney, Kim Burrell, Prince, Kirk Franklin, and India.Arie just scratch the surface of who contributed to this record. It's one Michael Jackson and one Lionel Richie cameo short from being a USA for Africa reunion. But while each artist lends his own style to the mix, the songs definitely remain 100 percent Wonder thanks to his distinctive singing and arrangements. The album begins its landing with "So What the Fuss," a chunky block of funk with a distorted bassline. It served as the lead single and was met with surprisingly little fanfare, especially since it's one of Wonder's most straight-ahead slices of funk in some time. And the album's title track serves as a fitting conclusion to the album, spreading Wonder's message of love and peace as strongly and convincingly as any other song he's ever done. On the whole, A Time to Love is the record Wonder fans have been waiting for, and the wait has more than paid off. Through exploration and balance, A Time to Love finds the two halves of Wonder's adult career finally coming to home to roost in peaceful harmony with one another, and it's one of the finest records he has done in decades.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stevie Wonder   Primary Artist,Organ,Bass,Harmonica,Percussion,Piano,Bongos,Chimes,Drums,Keyboards,Marimbas,Electric Piano,Tambourine,Background Vocals,Clavinet,Bells,Hand Clapping,fender rhodes,Synthesizer Bass,finger cymbals,Drum Loop,Rhythm Section,Voice Box,Hand Percussion,Moog Bass,Flexatones,Keyboard Guitar,Guitar Loops
Paul McCartney   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Prince   Guitar
Hubert Laws   Flute
Debra Laws   Background Vocals
Francis Awe   talking drum
Kimberly Brewer   Background Vocals
Shirley Brewer   Background Vocals
Oscar Castro-Neves   Guitar
Swapan Chaudhuri   Tabla
DeVere Duckett   Background Vocals
Nathan East   Bass
Kevin Edmonds   Background Vocals
Lynne Fiddmont   Background Vocals
Doug E. Fresh   Beat Box
Richie Gajate Garcia   Conga,Hand Percussion
Tony Gates   Choir, Chorus
Doc Powell   Guitar
Herman Jackson   Keyboards,Bells
Ricky Lawson   Drums
Melody McCully   Background Vocals
Woody Murray   Vibes
Greg Phillinganes   Electric Piano
Fred White   Background Vocals
Barbara Wilson   Background Vocals
Lamont VanHook   Background Vocals
Patrick Gandy   Conductor
Kenya Hathaway   Background Vocals
Morris O'Connor   Guitar
Conesha Owens   Background Vocals
Robert A. Arbittier   Overdubs
Nathan Watts   Bass
Gregory Curtis   Background Vocals
Andy Weiner   Conductor
Mike Phillips   Saxophone
Traci Nelson   Background Vocals
Brian Sledge   Choir, Chorus
Teddy Campbell   Drums
Thomassina Atkins   Choir, Chorus
Timothy Jon Johnson   Background Vocals
Phillip "Taj" Jackson   Background Vocals
Mabvuto Carpenter   Background Vocals
Jherimi Leigh Carter   Choir, Chorus
Ayrianna Cerant   Choir, Chorus
Jeffrey Coprich   Leader
Monique DeBarge   Background Vocals
Brianna Ford   Choir, Chorus
Daronn Gooden   Choir, Chorus
Timothy Hall   Choir, Chorus
Accalra Johnson   Choir, Chorus
Desarae Johnson   Choir, Chorus
Unique Johnson   Choir, Chorus
Chatoya Jones   Choir, Chorus
Erica L. King   Choir, Chorus
Abbos Kosimov   Doira
Brijee McDowell   Choir, Chorus
Sebastian Mego   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Kristie Mingo   Background Vocals
Amir Sofi   Darbouka
Willie Wheaton   Background Vocals
Johniesha White   Choir, Chorus
Tamiko Whitsett   Background Vocals
Sherman B. Wilson   Choir, Chorus
LaLynda Winfield   Choir, Chorus
LaShanea Winfield   Choir, Chorus
LaShanique Winfield   Choir, Chorus
Keith John   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Bonnie Raitt   Producer
Ralph Sutton   Engineer
Stephanie Andrews   Art Conception
David Blumberg   Arranger
Tom Corwin   Producer,Engineer
Kirk Franklin   Arranger,Producer
Ricky Minor   String Arrangements
Dave Reitzas   Engineer
Paul Riser   Arranger
Stevie Wonder   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Vocal Arrangements,String Arrangements,Audio Production,Flute Arrangement,Drawing,Sequencing Arranger,Art Conception
Patrick Gandy   Orchestration
Femi Jiya   Engineer
Robert A. Arbittier   Programming
Rafa Sardina   Engineer
Andy Weiner   Orchestration,String Arrangements
Anthony Ruotolo   Engineer
Steve Jones   Programming
Josean Posey   Engineer
India.Arie   Composer
Gary Adante   Engineer
Aaron Fessel   Engineer
Kailand Morris   Contributor
Heratch Touresian   Programming

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A Time to Love 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
What can I say? Stevie is the master and he is back! Every song is wonderful and better than the last or the next! Thank you Stevie for your gift.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting for Stevie's new album for months and it is well worth the wait!! It is BADDDDDDD!!! All of the songs are so nice...this entire album just makes you smile as you listen to it. Stevie is so talented even after all of these years. I predict he will get a Grammy for this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Upbeat and funky rhythms are sure to please any Stevie Wonder fan. Similiar, yet different to his old "classic" music.