Josh Turner — “Time is Love”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | February 22nd, 2012

joshturnerSongwriters: Tom Shapiro, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler

Josh Turner’s deep, rich baritone voice always lends a dose of gravitas to his songs’ subject matter, whether he’s singing about sin on wheels, romantic rolls in the hay or living room dance parties.Not to say he doesn’t tackle – or mis-tackle – the occasional oddball song that, at first glance, strikes too big of a contrast to his weighty vocals. Not even his growl could save songs such as “Trailerhood,” “Everything is Fine” or his newest single “Time is Love.”

The tune, reminiscent of Clay Walker’s deliciously fluffy nineties material minus the winks, doesn’t suffer from any glaring or grating snafus. In fact, the Spanish-flavored guitar breakdown on the song’s middle is an interesting addition to the strands of steel and banjo that float through its verses.  Instead, its most frustrating misstep is the carefully polished sheen that strips the delicious edge off Turner’s trademark voice. With all of his American Idol press in the last year on the heels of Turner-bot Scotty McCreery, “Time is Love” sounds like one of the safe choices that often coasts the show’s contestants through the competition.

That being said, “Time is Love” grows on the ears, with its earnestly vague confessions of “Time is love/Gotta run, gotta fly.” But even that simple charm turns out entirely forgettable, drowned under the weight of confusing production layers that seem piled on in an effort to lift up the vocal delivery.

Turner is right on banking on his voice to win fans over, but in the case of “Time is Love,” even it isn’t enough.

Thumbs Down

Preview or purchase “Time is Love”

  1. Ben Foster
    February 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I unfortunately have to agree. This is a very boring song. I’m hoping that the rest of his new album is a bit better.

  2. bob
    February 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I have to agree with your thumbs down. Turner is not alone in selecting less than stellar material. I think the same could be said for Joe Nichols, Blake Shelton and Chris Young, although Young seems to be improving a bit.

  3. Jon
    February 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    That’s kind of an incoherent review. For one thing, I can’t tell whether the song’s being faintly praised or dissed outright.

  4. Dan
    February 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Um, it’s really not that hard to understand the review. Does the “thumbs down” at the end tell you anything?

  5. Jon
    February 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    First of all, “Dan,” see the stuff up above the thumb? *That’s* the review.
    The thumb isn’t.

    Secondly, see how she says that the tune (which would seem to be a reference to the song, and not to the record or its production) “doesn’t suffer” from missteps, etc.? And then she complains about the “polished sheen” (which isn’t the song, it’s the production)? OK, that kind of makes sense: song ok, production not so much.

    But then she says it – the record? the song? can’t tell! – sounds like “a safe choice,” which I’m guessing isn’t praise. And then how she says it – the record? the song? can’t tell! – “grows on the ears,” which I’m guessing is supposed to be mild praise. And then she complains again that something -it seems to be the song itself, because she quotes the lyric, but you can’t really tell for sure! – is “forgettable,” *because* of the production.

    See all that? It comes before you ever get to the thumb. It stands on its own without the thumb. We call it a “review.”

    And “incoherent,” which is a word with a fairly precise meaning, still seems about right.

  6. luckyoldsun
    February 23, 2012 at 12:36 am

    At the risk of seeming to be sucking up to the Great One–which I would absolutely never do–I had pretty much the same reaction to the review as in his review of review.

    It’s a 3-minute song, not a 300-page novel or a 2-and-a-half-hour movie. If it doesn’t suffer from any glaring snafus, has gravitas, interesting instrumental additions and grows on the ears, then when does it find time to be bad?

    Actually, I thought Turner just made the exact point of this song in the duet that he just did with Randy Travis–“T-I-M-E”–so for that reason alone, it strikes me as a poor choice for a single right now.

  7. Ben Foster
    February 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    The review doesn’t strike me as incoherent. (I think the context seems to suggest that “it” refers to “the tune” as in the composite recorded product) To me, it just seems to say that the song has some positive traits, but that it’s overall mediocre. And while the single indeed “doesn’t suffer from any glaring or grating snafus,” that alone is certainly not enough basis on which to recommend it. Personally I think Karlie said it well.

  8. nm
    February 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    What I like best about Turner’s singing is not the gravitas he brings to a good song (though I agree that he does do that) but the passion he can use it to convey. Songs like “Long Black Train” and “Would You Go with Me” sounded like he meant something, and meant it urgently. But lately he seems to sing about things that are perfectly nice and all, but don’t move him all that much. So the singing has less to deliver. I’m hoping that the new album will have some gems on it, but I have the horrid fear that Turner is playing it safe and avoiding being polarizing (which today’s news roundup notes that country radio sort of worries about).

  9. Rick
    February 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Would somebody at Josh’s label please pump him full of Red Bull or Starbucks mocha lattes before recording sessions! At least maybe then he’d sound like he’s not phoning it in…

  10. luckyoldsun
    February 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    “…phoning it in.”

    I think he’s trying to be “laconic”–channeling his inner Don Williams. (Not that Don phoned it in), but maybe Turner should be listening to more Hank Williams and less Don.

  11. Dan
    February 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Okay, sorry for coming across as a smart aleck, but I was just trying to say I think the review makes perfect sense. Personally I like the song more than Karlie did, but nothing wrong with the review.

  12. Ken
    June 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Karlie Justus I assume is a critic? That goes with the territory. If Justus is a destinguished writer, arranger or singer, then the comments count. If not then we need critic’s on critic’s.

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