The name game: ranking 10 different songs called ‘Time’

Tom Waits Pink Floyd Cat Stevens vinyl

I recently wrote about 10 different songs called “Crazy” and had a lot of fun. So now I’m doing it again with songs called “Time”!

Here they are, from the worst to the best …

10. Fetty Wap (feat. Monty) – “Time”

Remember when “Trap Queen” was randomly a huge hit last year? Yeah … I didn’t get that, and I certainly don’t get this, which is from the same album. Next, please.

9. Wiz Khalifa – “Time”

The production is fine I guess, but that’s about the best thing I can say about this one. I spend a lot of days thinkin’ I hope this never gets old / then I realize I’m on vacation somewhere it never gets cold. Ugh. Wiz doesn’t even really rap either, he just kind of barfs out sentences that happen to rhyme. Oh, and he talks about how much he smokes a lot. Because, of course he does.  

8. Freddie Mercury – “Time”

As much as like Queen, especially their first four or five albums, I’m not all that familiar with Mercury’s solo career. “Time” was released in 1986, for a musical by none other than Dave Clark. Is it any good? Well … it’s OK. Mercury’s voice is as strong as ever, and he’s backed by a piano and about 5,000 backing tracks for the first minute or so until more and more instruments start showing up.

7. INXS – “Time”

This one comes from one of the later INXS albums, 1993’s Full Moon, Dirty Hearts. The guitar riff is a bit on the nose, but once things get going, I like this song quite a bit. Michael Hutchence sure had one heck of a presence, didn’t he?

6. Cat Stevens – “Time”

1970’s Mona Bone Jakon has always been one of my favorite Cat Stevens albums. It comes right before the career-defining Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat, and while it doesn’t quite have the hooks or strong songwriting of those two masterworks, it’s still a fantastic folk record from start to finish. “Time” comes near the end of Mona Bone Jakon, and it’s tragically short at just 1:26.. About a minute in, he changes the guitar part and it sounds like he’s about to hit a chorus or perhaps a bridge of some sort … but then the song just ends. What a bummer! What we get, though, has that wonderful sound we’ve all come to expect from a great Cat Stevens song.

5. Anthrax – “Time”

Anthrax’s “Time” was the opening track off of 1990’s Persistence of Time, and it’s a solid metal song that finds Scott Ian and company near the peak of their powers. The song seems to really hit its stride about four minutes in, when the vocals make way for some fiery guitar work. Non metal fans probably won’t find much to love here, but it’s certainly more enjoyable than some of the other songs on this list.

4. Hootie & the Blowfish – “Time”

Wow. Remember 1994, when these guys were everywhere? Hootie & the Blowfish came out of nowhere and sold something like 75 billion copies of Cracked Rear View, including the one I had. It seemed like a new smash single was dropping every other day. “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” “Only Wanna Be With You,” and “Time” were all huge hits, and listening to them more than 20 years later, I’ll be the first to admit that they all still sound pretty dang good for what they are.

I was still fairly young at the time, but as I remember it, “Time” was the final Hootie single that gained any sort of serious traction. I don’t have any brilliant observations here … but, you know, it’s a decent enough little song.

3. David Bowie – “Time”

With 1973’s Aladdin Sane, David Bowie seemed to follow up the previous year’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by doubling down on his Ziggy persona. It was also a bit of a turning point in Bowie’s career, both because he was a legitimate superstar now and because he didn’t immediately completely makeover his image like he did so often back then before every new release.

Album opener “Watch That Man” has always been my personal favorite track from Aladdin Sane, but the one that opened up side 2—“Time”—stands out as well. “Time” sounds like it’s from an old musical or some sort of vaudeville performance, and things get extra weird about two minutes in, when the music stops, Bowie breathes loudly, and guitarist Mick Ronson shows up for a brief, explosive solo.

2. Tom Waits – “Time”

This whole list was always going to come down to these next two tracks, wasn’t it? It just had to.

I’m a bit of a Tom Waits fanatic, and “Time” is one of his all-time classics. It also comes from arguably his greatest record, 1985’s Rain Dogs.

Well the smart money’s on Harlow, Waits sings, his voice quiet and almost conversational. And the moon is in the street/ The shadow boys are breaking all the laws/ And you’re east of East St. Louis/ And the wind is making speeches/ And the rain sounds like a round of applause.

Man! This is such an unbelievably beautiful song, and I’ll never grow tired of hearing it.

1. Pink Floyd – “Time”

I almost had Tom Waits ahead of Pink Floyd; I really did. But … it just didn’t seem right. “Time” is one of Pink Floyd’s greatest achievements, and each of its many sections is absolutely classic in its own way. I also love how each band member plays a pivotal role. Drummer Nick Mason shines at the beginning, providing the percussion while Roger Waters thump-thumps his bass strings so they sound like the second hand of a clock; David Gilmour both sings the verses and provides some of his most memorable guitar work; keyboardist Richard Wright sings the hook; and of course Waters provided the lyrics.

And then there’s those fabulous background singers! And the disorienting clocks that kick everything off! It’s a lot to take in, and it’s all so, so glorious. Dark Side of the Moon has grown into a larger-than-life record at this point, but never forget that it’s legitimately amazing. I tend to say The Wall is my favorite Pink Floyd record, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Meddle and Wish You Were Here, but it’s hard to deny that Dark Side of the Moon might just be the best of them all.

 

 

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