It feels like Craig David’s third act (resurrection, mixed with redemption) depends heavily on his audience’s ability to ironise its enjoyment. It’s that pleasurable ripple of cognitive dissonance in knowing that David isn’t really convincing as a super-cool gym rat horndog, alongside celebrating the fact that he sort of is. Yes, his definitive 7 Days was about spending half the week humping; but it’s also a hymn to fidelity and not putting out on the first date.
Unfortunately, The Time Is Now doesn’t even bother with the ersatz lived experience of those early hits. What’s left is inspirational memes slathered over playlist-ready tropical R&B-pop – varyingly successful attempts to rewrite Justin Bieber’s Sorry, without any of Bieb’s sour-faced entitlement. Which, of course, is at least half of Justin’s appeal, and without that underlying passive-aggressiveness, David is just blandly competent, despite all his undeniable talents.
The first three songs are superb, especially the blissfully silly acrostic Magic (“G for the girl that got me good/ I C the world the way I should”), but it’s a glossily one-note album, an uncomplicated toast to desire sated, friendship reciprocated and love requited.