Release Date: Sep 28, 2018
Record label: Virgin EMI
Genre(s): R&B, Contemporary R&B
The Lowdown: Twenty-six years after their last record (1992’s uneven-to-unnecessary Chic-ism), Nile Rodgers & Chic return for a victory lap around a music world in which the former has ascended to the status of elder hitmaker and the latter’s catalog now serves as a funky set of guideposts for a new generation of disco-positive stars with good taste. The Good: After this long of a layoff, we’d probably be satisfied if a new Chic record simply ticked all of the expected Chic-shaped boxes and nothing more. However, for its first two-thirds at least, It’s About Time never settles for a pure nostalgia play.
Look, the man likes to dance, and who are we to stand in his way? You won't be surprised to hear this, but Nile Rodgers bloody loves to party. He's been doing it for decades, of course, firstly through the guise of pioneering disco group Chic, and then as hitmaker-for-hire in the following decades. In 2018, he's still at it. 'It's About Time' - the band’s first new album in over 25 years - he shows no signs of ageing gracefully; he's still well up for a big hoedown.
An odd irony of disco is that despite it enduring a very well-documented "death" in the late ’70s it has a greater legacy, and is in better health, than most of what replaced it, certainly having more staying power than the racism and homophobia that killed it off. And so it is that Nile Rodgers unexpectedly catapulted back into the public consciousness with Daft Punk's 2013 hit Get Lucky, and he is getting his old band back together for an album of collaborations with people who were inspired by Rodgers' and Chic's songs. What these guests bring to the table varies from track to track - it is impossible to parse Mura Masa's contribution to opening track Till The World Falls - but they are largely tasked with carrying the record.
I t's About Time isn't the only Chic album about to be released. It will shortly be sharing space on record shop shelves with The Chic Organisation 1977-79, a lavish box set containing the band's first three albums alongside a collection of rarities, a facsimile of a promotional 12-inch and We Are Family, the 1979 Sister Sledge album that may well be the greatest Chic production of all. It comes complete with not one, not two but three essays by prominent cultural critics on Chic's significance.