E-Life - It's Time (2008)

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It's Time, the new recording by the Detroit area group E-Life (not to be confused with the Mint Condition album by the same name), kind of reminds me of the stock market these days - volatile. When I call It's Time volatile, I don't mean that the group's music is explosive or unpredictable. Quite the contrary, E-Life's It's Time has some of the same qualities as a blue chip stock - the band's music is rooted in solid fundamentals of adult oriented soul music. And if you read the artist's statement on the CD's inside cover, you will realize that this group is trying to make solid R&B music.
It's Time, the new recording by the Detroit area group E-Life (not to be confused with the Mint Condition album by the same name), kind of reminds me of the stock market these days - volatile. When I call It's Time volatile, I don't mean that the group's music is explosive or unpredictable. Quite the contrary, E-Life's It's Time has some of the same qualities as a blue chip stock - the band's music is rooted in solid fundamentals of adult oriented soul music. And if you read the artist's statement on the CD's inside cover, you will realize that this group is trying to make solid R&B music.

"It's Time is a collaboration of spirit, time and talent. With the ever changing music industry, it is refreshing to hear seasoned, professional musicians," the statement says. "There are no egos here. You won't find any rump shaking or trash talking." What listeners will find is an album featuring a mix of mid-tempo songs, ballads and dance songs with love and romance as the main subject. If the music market - like the stock market - thrives on stability, then the fundamentals of It's Time are strong, to paraphrase John McCain.

So, where exactly does the volatility come in? Namely in the quality of the 11 tracks on this CD. I'm bullish on much of what this group has to offer. A song such as "I Like Your Style," will bring back some good feelings to anyone who has fond memories of the "new jack swing" of groups like Guy. The vocal harmonies, hooks and the balance between programmed instruments and the "real" instruments is an excellent redux of the best music of that era.

The ballad "Wake Up To You" is sweet and tender with lyrics that make the tune an ideal first wedding dance song. The instrumental "Just Want to Love You" has some potential to get airplay on smooth jazz and urban adult station, while "I'm Blessed" is an example of a nice fusion between gospel and R&B.

That being said, I'm more than a little bearish on some of the cuts. "I Want You" is a female seduction song that just doesn't work because the lyrics pile on every pick up line cliche ever heard in a club. The fact that the lines are delivered breathlessly by a female vocalist doesn't make the lines sound any more corny. The first track, "You Done Me Wrong" makes the same mistake, even though the topic is different. This time, the singer is venting at an unfaithful girlfriend.

Those shortcomings notwithstanding, E-Life mostly achieves their goal of creating relaxing, foot tapping and head nodding music with It's Time. On the whole, I'm giving It's Time a buy recommendation.

Howard Dukes
 
Album of the Month - Juewett Bostick - Shades of Blu
Choice Cut - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Song of the Month - Bryan Andrew Wilson - "Only You'

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