Kimberly MackSep 19, 2023
Living Colour's Time's Up
The iconic Black rock band Living Colour's Time's Up, released in 1990, was recorded in the aftermath of the spectacular critical and commercial success of their debut record Vivid. Time's Up is a musical and lyrical triumph, incorporating distinct forms and styles of music and featuring inspired collaborations with artists as varied as Little Richard, Queen Latifah, Maceo Parker, and Mick Jagger. The clash of sounds and styles don't immediately fit. The confrontational hardcore-thrash metal - complete with Glover's apocalyptic wail - in the title track is not a natural companion with Doug E. Fresh's human beat box on "Tag Team Partners," but it's precisely this bold and brilliant collision that creates the barely-controlled chaos. And isn't rock & roll about chaos?
Living Colour's sophomore effort holds great relevance in light of its forward-thinking politics and lyrical engagement with racism, classism, police brutality, and other social and political issues of great importance. In Living Colour's Time's Up (Bloomsbury, 2023), Kimberly Mack explores the creation and reception of this artistically challenging album, while examining the legacy of this culturally important and groundbreaking American rock band.
Kimberly Mack is the author of Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White (2020), which won the 2021 College English Association of Ohio's Nancy Dasher Award. She is also a music critic and memoirist who has written for publications including Longreads, Music Connection, No Depression, Relix, PopMatters, and Hot Press.
Kimberly Mack on Twitter.
Bradley Morgan is a media arts professional in Chicago and author of U2's The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America. He manages partnerships on behalf of CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM, serves as a co-chair of the associate board at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and volunteers in the music archive at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Bradley Morgan on Twitter.