Record Review - Smokey Robinson: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Michael Jackson’s death and the 50th anniversary of Motown Records’ founding has renewed focus on the pioneering Detroit label, making Smokey Robinson’s latest solo CD, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun — his first in three years — well-timed. Though Robinson’s name is practically synonymous with the imprint, its signature soul and pop sounds are nowhere to be found on this work, which skews toward contemporary R&B and smooth jazz. Tracks like “Love Bath,” “You’re the One for Me” and “Time Flies” are particularly overproduced, but most everything here is department store elevator-ready. Robinson’s cover of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” immediately indicates what demographic he’s pursuing — one that’s old, wealthy and unadventurous in its tastes. So perhaps it’s not fair to compare the album to the earlier, innovative entries in his catalog. Nevertheless, finding something to appreciate about such a lifeless, passionless CD is a tall order, indeed. (Robso Records) 2 stars out of 5