MUSIC REVIEW: Stevie Wonder

A Time to Love Motown
Music ••••½ Sound •••
It was hard to know just what to expect from Stevie Wonder's A Time to Love. After all, it's been a decade since the legendary soul-popster's last studio set, Conversation Peace. The good news is that Wonder's signature voice and multileveled instrumental skills remain prodigiously intact. The not-quite-as-good news is that, after such an extended break, he hasn't been able to edit himself. Virtually all of the 15 tracks here could easily have been shortened without losing anything, especially the many lengthy midtempo ballads (such as "Moon Blue" and "True Love") that continually subvert the CD's flow. Still, when the grooves do hit - as on the "Superstition"-styled "Please Don't Hurt My Baby" and the old-school-Motownish "Positivity" - you realize how precious Wonder's often-taken-for-granted music truly is.