Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Stevie Wonder: A Time to Love [Motown, 2005]
Right, what you feared--mostly mush. Since mush has been his specialty for almost 30 years--that is, since he was 26 years old--why anybody should expect him to turn into Bob Marley now beats me. I just marvel that the mush continues so tasty. The melodies don't falter, and Wonder's unexpectedly and perhaps unfortunately influential vocal attack is as mellifluous as ever. Credit his laziness, or maybe it's perfectionism. His touring schedule is nonexistent, and in the time he took for one album, fellow aging melodist Paul McCartney, for instance, chose to release four plus (don't tell Stevie, he might try again) a faux symphony. And speaking of McCartney, this stuff isn't all mush. Wonder's politics are moralistic and universalist. But he's as faithful to them as he is to the lady or ladies in his songs. A-