There’s so much genuine goodwill towards Craig David in the world that it’s entirely possible that he could put out an absolute stinker of an album and everyone would still fawn over him like he was the messiah with a goatee. Thankfully for the garage-soul don, his seventh album is actually rather good and instead of a shameless throwback to his iconic ‘Born To Do It’ days, David seems genuinely interested in creating work that’s both fresh, fun and plugged into the sounds of 2018. So what ‘The Time Is Now’ lacks in coherency, it makes up for in sheer enthusiasm.
Eighteen years after his wildly successful, 8 million-selling debut, David has left the role of garage’s smoothest behind and – like everyone else – has had a bash at ubiquitous trop house (‘Heartline’), ‘Despacito’-influenced Latin grooves (‘Senorita’), smooth-as-fuck Drake-style bounce and the nu-funky Kaytranada-produced ‘Live In The Moment’, which slinks along via a selection of summery samples. There’s even ‘I Know You’, a collaboration with Bastille that comes across like exactly the kind of euphoric banger Coldplay need to release when they next put a track out.
Things take a slight turn for the Alan Partridge on ‘For The Gram’, an unnecessarily sexy Instagram tutorial run through a Migos filter. “When you’re done taking pictures / Don’t forget to hashtag,” purrs a randy David, before letting everyone know about his favourite emoji combo: “wink wink, smiley”, of course.
But generally, David’s attempt at a contemporary chart megamix works. Sure, he’s not going to win any awards for originality, but when it comes to making music that simply makes you smile, Craig David is still the king.