Simply Red | Time Review
Rediscovering the Rhythmic Pulse of Life: A Journey Through Simply Red’s Time
by Bea Willis
Simply Red are back, and time has done nothing but refine their artistry! Four years since the triumphant Blue Eyed Soul, one of the UK’s most treasured bands returns with a brand-new studio album, Time. Over 12 vivid, heartfelt, life-giving tracks that mix soul, funk, R&B, and blues, Time showcases Mick Hucknall’s unerring ear for songs that stir the emotions and ignite the imagination. Recorded in London with longstanding producer Andy Wright and a close-knit team of masterful musicians, Hucknall’s return is not merely a moment in time but a personal exploration.
“During the quiet introspection of lockdown, I went, well, jeez, who am I actually?” Hucknall muses, finding his essence in songwriting. With accolades spanning 12 studio albums, including five UK Number Ones, and a slew of awards, his journey into the next chapter promises a ride that resonates with both nostalgic echoes and a fresh, invigorating pulse. Time doesn’t just mark a moment; it’s evidence of a legacy that continues to flourish.
As the opening strains of “Better With You” fill the air, listeners are invited into a feel-good space where Hucknall’s mellifluous vocals dance over an R&B feel tinged with pop-rock elements. The joyous celebration of love and connection radiates warmth and positivity, an inviting introduction that sparks our interest to push further into the album. Meanwhile, the introspective title track “Time” offers a thoughtful reflection on the passage of life.
The musical exploration continues with “Shades 22,” a funky soul-infused masterpiece that captures the essence of Simply Red’s genre-defying prowess. Standout tracks like “Just Like You” and “Let Your Hair Down” further showcase Hucknall’s vocal mastery, breathing life into lyrics that resonate with authenticity and raw emotion. All three selections are grounded in the R&B and soul foundations that Simply Red has built their reputation upon.
Among the treasures hidden within Time is the standout track “Hey Mister,” a piece that plunges into Simply Red’s classic sound. Through a compelling pairing of clean, funky guitar rhythms and a blues-influenced guitar figure steeped in blues tradition, this song emerges as an upbeat and dynamic selection. Hucknall’s soulful vocal performance shines as he channels his unmistakable timbre, lending life to lyrics that tackle something profound. The song is a toe-tapping dance number with an earnest plea as the lyrics describe a man grappling with the enormity of climate change and its haunting effects.
The song shows Simply Red’s songwriting has the ability to intertwine the personal with the global, the emotional with the existential. In “Hey Mister,” they aren’t just singing about love or loss; they are addressing our shared world, our shared time. The track resonates not just for its catchy melody, but for its urgent message, embodying the innovative and genre-blending mastery that Simply Red continues to deliver.
What makes Time a truly remarkable journey is not just its blend of soulful ballads, rhythmic dance tracks, and heart-stirring rockers but its honest exploration of the human condition. Hucknall’s declaration, “I’m not trying to be anyone else. I’m just being me,” reverberates through each track, echoing the sentiment of an artist unafraid to look inward.
The album’s success isn’t merely measured by critical acclaim; it lies in its ability to touch the soul. Whether in the intimate embrace of a ballad or the exhilarating pulse of a dance number, Time is a celebration of Simply Red’s unique identity. It’s a return to what makes them beloved, a testament to Hucknall’s unparalleled vocal abilities, and an invitation to lose oneself in the profound simplicity of being. In Time, Hucknall’s soul-searching translates into a universal language of music. He not only discovers who he is but helps us find ourselves in the echoes of the songs, in the rhythmic pulse of life itself.
For fans and newcomers alike, Simply Red’s Time is a beacon of soulful authenticity. It’s an album that doesn’t just echo in the ears but resonates in the heart, a timeless story sung in a universal language moving beyond genre. It’s a timeless story that connects hearts and minds across the ages, reflecting who we are, what we feel, and the universal essence of human experience. Serving as a musical catalyst that invites us all to explore our own Time.
Release Date: June 23, 2023
About the author
With an unwavering passion for music that began at the tender age of five, I embarked on a journey of self-expression through the piano, later expanding my repertoire to the guitar and the art of singing. As a seasoned performer in cozy coffee shops and harmonious choir ensembles, I've immersed myself in the diverse tapestry of musical genres, seeking to uncover the intricate qualities that strike a chord within our souls.
Beyond my personal experiences, my journalistic pursuits have led me to explore the stories and inspirations behind the melodies we hold dear. As a music journalist, I aim to delve into the heart of each composition, shedding light on the creative minds that have shaped the soundscape of our lives.
In my downtime, you can find me serenading my loyal canine companion with heartfelt tunes on the guitar or indulging in retail therapy to enhance my ever-growing wardrobe. Songwriting holds a special place in my heart, and I yearn for the day when I can share my creative talents with the world. Until then, my passion for uncovering the emotional power within music continues to drive my insightful reviews and analyses, as I journey through the rich landscape of melodies that move us.