the time album cover

The Time: The Time (1981)

We’re writing when the feeling is right, not on the daily #mayvinylchallenge schedule. Couple that with taking care of a sick teenager all weekend and I needed a break. Thankfully Day 8 of the challenge asks for a record that makes you move or dance, is really just an excuse to break out the eponymous debut from The Time. Whether you take it as an extension of Prince’s prodigious output or a thing on its own, you can’t deny the slinky, funk pop fun The Time is able to dole out time and time again.

It’s easy to look at the Time – particularly their debut, and think of it as a Prince Product™, who supposedly wrote everything, recorded and performed all the instruments (notable Morris Day played drums and Dr. Fink, who played some synths) and even came up with the vocal melodies that Day sang over. In fact that’s how I came to the band. But there’s a reason I used a live version of opener “Get It Up” instead of the recorded track, and that’s because no matter who wrote and recorded the song and the The Time as a whole, it’s the band who brought it to the masses, and as evidenced in this live cut, that band KILLS.

From a writing perspective, from a “consuming this media” perspective that’s what I wanted to get out. It’s worth making the conscious effort to hear a record for what it is rather than how it came to be. Yeah, I love Prince and have been that guy actively seeking out bootlegs and unreleased cuts, but taking on its own merits The Time has its own charms, one where the warm funk vibes flow effortlessly, whether it’s in the Parliament thump of “get It Up” or the more laid back slow dance chill of “Girl” which shows how great Day’s voice is, eve as it sings in harmony with Prince. “After Hi School” feels a bit more like an afterthought – Prince filtered through another lens, which makes sense when you consider the song was actually written by Dez Dickerson, Prince’s guitarist in The Revolution.

The second side gives you more of that same, with “Cool” and album closer “The Stick” being extended jams (“Cool” tops 10 minutes) that also remember to be supremely catchy songs. The few performances I’ve caught live on YouTube reinforce the belief that no matter who wrote or recorded the songs, The Time brought them to life.

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