Over gentle, undulating synth tones and a hypnotic, lulling melody, Hucknall imparts a message of appreciation for his wife. “This song is about focusing on your family and focusing on the good things,” the singer told the BBC’s Breakfast show. “It’s that feeling you want to share with people to get your priorities right.”
Driven by a pulsing beat and a growling wah-wah bassline, the next song, Just Like You, is a funky pop track blessed with Nile Rodgers-esque work from guitarist Kenji Suzuki. Bringing in a change of pace, the ethereal synth ballad Let Your Hair Down follows, making for a smooth and sultry addition to the best Simply Red songs; Mick Hucknall’s soulful falsetto adds an extra layer of emotional depth, but the real standout is Suzuki’s blissful guitar solo.
“These songs are not about myself, a couple of them are actually stories”
Released in early spring 2023, as Time’s second single, Shades 22 sees Hucknall summon a chilled and breezy vocal style that perfectly fits the album’s laidback vibe. Drawing the listener in with its oscillating piano tones, the song’s dub-tinged production and Beatles-esque chord progression make for a decidedly classic touch. In fact, throughout the album, it’s clear Hucknall has been looking back to the John Lennon and Paul McCartney songbook for inspiration. Built around a steady beat, even It Wouldn’t Be Me’s easy-going piano stabs are reminiscent of The Beatles’ 1970 single The Long And Winding Road.