Nile Rodgers and Chic’s new album “It’s About Time” marks the debut of Rodgers’ latest incarnation redefining his music as a “new Chic experience” and reflective of 21st century dance music. Since its release date of September 28th, “It’s About Time” has had a presence, at one time or another, in international charts across the globe, signifying once again, Nile’s widespread popularity and relevancy.
While researching the release, I noticed that some respectable media outlets wrote up “mixed reviews.” Could it be that their expectations were so high, that they had a let down? Who knows? What is known, is pretty much anything Nile Rodgers is involved with, lots of global buzz and high anticipation follows. The man is, after all, responsible for million albums sold and over 75 million singles sold. For me personally, writing about music is all about how the music makes me feel.
As a life-long fan of Nile Rodgers and Chic, I was hoping that Rodgers and company would provide a selection of songs that would make me feel good. In most respects, it does. However, the hard part is coming up with words that are written to convince you—the reader—to find agreement in my commentary and to be persuaded to take a listen.
Millions and millions of people around the world know and love Chic’s “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “I Want Your Love,” “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” all of which were all worldwide massive hits back in their time. To this very day, those iconic tracks still remain very influential among DJs and producers alike. Case in point, DJ Oliver Heldens recently released a burning remix of “Le Freak” celebrating the iconic track’s 40th anniversary. 40 years later!
Through my first pass listening through the new album, I recognized many elements of the trademark Chic sound. Listen closely Chic fans, you will hear it too! There are vivid flashback moments on this collection of new songs that will take you back to Chic’s dominance of the 70s and 80s and other songs that delve more into Soul/R&B (in the 90s vein) à la “New Jack Swing.”
Personally, my favorites include the album’s first single and opening track “Till The World Falls.” Released ahead of and in league with announcement of the forthcoming album, way back in June, the track features Rodger’s classic guitar groove and guest appearances by two-time Grammy nominated electronic producer Mura Masa along vocalists Cosha and Vic Mensa. I thinks it’s great!
There are other big name guest appearances by Elton John and Emeli Sande (“Queen”), Philippe Saisse (“State of Mine/It’s About Time”) and Craig David with Stefflon Don on the LP’s second official single “Sober.”
So, I’ll break it down to simple terms. If you want songs with that classic Chic feel, then “Till The World Falls,” “Boogie All Night,” “Dance With Me,” “I Dance My Dance” and “I Want Your Love” are the songs immediately to go to. For those interested, “Sober” and “New Jack Sober,” along with “Do You Want To Party” are more slanted in an RnB style and sprinkled with hip-hop vocal styling.
In my opinion, the best track on the LP is a 2018 modern version of “I Want Your Love.” Rodgers masterful pick of having Lady Gaga deliver the vocals, well, let’s just say there is no one on the planet that could have given a better performance freshening up the 30 year old classic. I am biased.
Also, I have to mention a couple other tracks that stand out. First up is “Do You Want To Party” featuring the silky rapping by LunchMoney Lewis that flows effortlessly above funked-up slapping bass-lines and guitar riffs offering up a nice cross section of the old and new. On the contrast, a bit of ballad/slow jam pursues with deeply soulful vocals by Elton John and Emeli Sandé on “Queen” telling a heart-wrenching story.
All in all, “It’s About Time” is an excellent album, and to me, feels real good. I say, Nile and company have given the world an album that looks back and incorporates the long legacy of Chic’s sound, one that adds a splash of modernism that fits tight within today’s dance music canon.