Although Living Colour‘s second album, Time’s Up, achieved gold certification shortly after its release and eventually won a Grammy award, it performed below expectations when compared to their debut, Vivid. It’s not that it wasn’t a strong album; in fact, in a lot of ways, it’s just as good as its predecessor, but instead of merely copying a winning formula, Time’s Up challenged the listener more — both musically and lyrically. A host of guest artists lent their hands to the proceedings, such as Little Richard, Queen Latifah, Maceo Parker, and Doug E. Fresh, which hints at just how all-encompassing Time’s Up is. The few fans that were hoping that the band would streamline their sound and focus on their more pop-oriented material were bludgeoned with the hyperactive thrash title track (comparable to one of LC’s biggest influences, Bad Brains). Other tracks, such as the jazz-rocker “Elvis Is Dead,” the Zep-stomp of “Pride,” and the gloriously pessimistic “Type” showed that success hadn’t dulled the group’s socially conscious attack. While heavy compositions were plentiful (“New Jack Theme,” “Information Overload”), the band’s more reflective side was evident by such outstanding tracks as “Fight the Fight,” “Solace of You,” and “This Is the Life,” plus the love-torn ditty “Love Rears Its Ugly Head.” Time’s Up remains a convincing listen all these years later.
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