I had all but given up checking the news wire for the new release from the original members of The Time. Jimmy Jam told us it was “coming soon” when I saw them in June of 2010 and I think the last time I googled “The Time” and “New Album” was in September of this year.
Imagine my surprise (I guess a watched pot never boils) when I opened the Minneapolis Star Tribune today and saw that the original 7 members of The Time (now called The Original 7ven) had played a gig here in town last Saturday night at the State Theater. More shocking was their new album, Condensate, had slipped out on October 18 and I didn’t even notice! Kicking myself for not being more attentive, I immediately scrambled for my iPhone and downloaded it straight away.
As I was watching each song load onto my iPhone, I wondered if the disc would live up to the hype I had built up in my mind. I had been waiting for a new album from The Time since their 1990 release, Pandemonium and my dream to someday be Morris Day had actually grown stronger as I had gotten older. I admit that I had my doubts about this new offering. Would they still be relevant in the year 2011?
As soon as I heard the opening dialogue between Morris and Jerome as they visit their old hood in North Minneapolis, I knew that I would be: a) way the fuck off for ever having any doubts whatsoever and b) in for a real treat.
The first track, “Strawberry Lake,” is straight from the same shop where one can buy paisley dripped rasberry berets. In fact, this tune, being the lead off number, almost makes me wonder if it isn’t a giant middle finger to Prince who would not allow the lads to use the name “The Time” for this record.
After this we have a “press conference” in which Morris explains to a reporter why he is still cool. The answer is hilarious and leads straight into the title track. This skit, along with many others sprinkled throughout the album, is vintage Morris/Jerome and ranks right up there with “If The Kid Can’t Make You Come” and “Sexy Socialites/Jerk Out.”
“#Trendin”, the album’s single, fits perfectly into any club at 1am when the bodies are moving and sweating…it’s beat, relentless and pounding…and has lyrics that bring the boys firmly into the 21st century with Morris singing about “tweetie pies posting on blogs.” Regardless of what time it is (:)), we can always count on Morris to be the hippest of the hip. Honestly, our current age of digital vanity and Morris Day are a match made in heaven.
The next two tracks “If I Was Yo Man” and “Role Play” are up beat love songs that both shine in their own special way. The latter oddly reminds me of Tony Carey/Planet P Project with Morris’ haunting voice seemingly coming from another world. It’s here that we fully realize how important it is to have Jimmy and Terry at the producing helm.
Then we come to the albums two gems: “Sick” and “Lifestyle.” The former showcases some serious shredding by Mr. Jesse Johnson. His solos are nothing short of stunning and several of the lyrics made me grin from ear to ear. The lyrics to “Lifestyle,” the true ballad of the album, made me laugh out loud at several points and brought my desire to be Morris Day to an all time high. The song is simply perfect for every single thing that these guys are all about….vanity with none of the downside…rampant materialism that’s not shallow in any way but is actually cool…ego with perfectly understandable reasons…swagger that is completely justified because…well, it’s Morris!
Next up is “Faithful” which showcases some great back up vocals by some very hot sounding ladies. “Cadillac” could easily be on their self titled debut or “What Time Is It?” and continues that materialism-is-the-best meme in yet another successful way. “Aydkmn” makes use of the word persneckity in its chorus which marks the first time I’ve ever heard that used in a song. “One Step” and “Toast To The Party Girl” both sound like they were recorded in 1983 but that’s probably the (wonderful) idea. “Hey Yo” is also straight from that decade (now working on 30 years ago!) that saw so many power ballads just like it.
The last track, “Go Home To Yo Man,” gives us that last little gift that these guys have always given us: melancholy humor. The story in this song is amusing but also somewhat serious as Morris croons, “Play time is over and you got to go home to yo man.” As the final strains of this last track fall away with Morris (fake?) crying, one has to wonder why the 07 waited so long to make new music. I’ve always been an impatient fellow and this is especially true when it comes to my great love…music. Perhaps they didn’t have the tunes or maybe they were just taking their time (I know, I know…the puns are too easy:)) but do any of us care? I know I don’t because it was well worth the wait. This record is fantastic.
And I still wish I was Morris Day!
Here’s the video for the single “#Trendin” although “Sick” “Lifestyle” “Cadillac” and “Strawberry Lake” should be downloaded before it.