It’s time to shine the Vinyl Spotlight! Every now and then on Paloozapalooza, I like to focus on a random LP from my collection. This week, we have:
The Time – The Time (1981)
When Prince died earlier this year, the music would seemed to let out a collective gasp, and for good reason. When one of the most talented, influential pop musicians of all time dies unexpectedly, it causes even the most casual fans to step back and think about the impact that person had on their lives.
One of the more random—but extremely predictable—side effects of Prince’s passing was the effect it had on the value of his records. Sure, the man’s music was never cheap, but the whirlwind of inflation that occurred almost immediately was completely out of hand. At a local shop, I saw a G+/VG copy of Dirty Mind going for $100 just 2 days after his death … and I’m pretty sure someone even bought it!
But just last week, I experienced a minor miracle: I walked out of a store with a used Prince album from 1981, in excellent shape, for just $2.99. The album? The Time’s fun, sexy self-titled debut.
Prince wrote and played almost every note of music on The Time. Singer Morris Day did get to actually sing, but even then, he was following strict note-by-note instructions provided by The Purple One himself.
And did I mention how good this thing is? Because it’s really good. Even if I didn’t know about Prince’s involvement, it would be obvious right away; his DNA is all The Time, from the tight percussion and thick synths to the occasional bursts of explosive guitar work.
Each of the album’s six songs is great, but my favorites are the two lengthy jams that kick off each side: side A’s “Get it Up” and side B’s “Cool.”
“Get it Up” comes in at more than nine minutes long, but it’s always a disappointment when it comes to an end. Can’t it be 10 minutes? 11? Day plays his role perfectly, singing over a big, heavy bassline and a nasty little synth part. It’s also worth noting that Prince’s guitar work on “Get it Up” is a thing of beauty. You obviously don’t hear a lot of shredding on dance songs these days, and that’s probably for the best, but Prince made it sound like an essential part of the production. He wasn’t soloing just to show off; he was speaking through each and every note.
The ten-minute “Cool” is just as good. Heck, if I had to choose, I may even like it a bit more than “Get it Up.”
I got a penthouse in Manhattan, Day sings. Two more in Malibu / I bought a ’87’s Cadillac Seville, girl / I got a Maserati too. All the while, an absolutely massive synth once again carries the song along. (And if you listen close enough, you can hear background vocals from the Revolution’s Lisa and Prince himself.) Once again, “Cool” features a hell of a guitar solo, this one popping up at about five minutes in and almost going on for a full minute.
The other songs here are great as well. The ballads such as “Oh Baby” do a little less for me, but they’re still beautifully done.
Overall, The Time’s debut record is a fantastic listen from start to finish. It’s getting harder and harder to find a fairly priced Prince album these days, but maybe you’ll get lucky like I did and find this one for cheap out in the wild.
Listen below via Spotify (though it’s missing a song, which is weird) …