By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
Promised for June 2004, A Time 2 Love failed to appear even by December 31, the last day Stevie Wonder could've delivered it in that year and still been a man of his word. Fans were hotter than July under the collar, leaving angry posts on steviewonder.com that were beyond punctuation with rage:
"its bullshit he promis us a album.hes not a man for his word"
"like you all so fuckin tired of waiting on this fuckin cd"
"i can't wait another day for it i will say fuck it"
Right on, "rt" and "crazy angry Swede"! I wish there were more e e cummings-reared bastards like you, who care so deeply about what a favorite artist has to say that you'd write him off for being a crazy perfectionist. To shed some insight on the intense behind-the-scenes pressure Wonder puts on himself to deliver, he told the audience at a 2003 T.J. Martell Foundation dinner, "I wish I could write a song that would find a cure for the disease . . . of hate." It's gotta be frustrating, with aides telling him, "C'mon, Stevie, it's great, put it out already," and him having to admit, "Uh, yeah, Sam, it's, uh, got a good beat but you can't cure hate with it. Maybe it needs, uh, more tom-tom." No official reasons have ever been given for all Wonder's release-date reneging, but being cursed by slow work habits that have awarded him Grammy after Grammy only seems to have made things worse. We can only imagine.
January 5, 2001: Stevie sits out the entire season when cornrows top ESPN's "What's Not Hot" list.
February 15, 2003: The album is held back so as not to compete head-to-head with the alleged release of Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy.
April 18, 2003: The sudden deaths of Little Eva, John Paul Getty Jr. and Dr. Robert Atkins all in the same week compel Stevie to write a song called "Why Oh Why (Do Famous People Die in Threes)." When Donald Regan, David Brinkley, Gregory Peck and Hume Cronyn all croak within five days in June, he must convince himself that the former Secretary of the Treasury wasn't really all that famous.
July 4, 2003: M-80 accidentally goes off in Stevie's hand. Can't read for weeks after that.
October-December 2003: Stevie, late to jump on the low-carb bandwagon, learns that starch is a major source of inspiration. In two months, all he writes is one lousy song about missing potatoes. This explains his cryptic comment at a Toys for Tots fund raiser: "How can I break bread with my brothers and sisters all over the world if all I'm eating is, uh, dolphin-safe tuna?"
January 2004: The sixth cover idea is scrapped because it "doesn't feel right."
May 29, 2004: Ailing mentor Ray Charles calls Stevie to his bedside and says, "Make it a good one, son." "Uh, make what a good one, Ray?" "You know, the song you're writing for your Uncle Ray." Stevie, caught short, scraps the album and starts furiously changing the words to "Missing Potatoes."
July 27, 2004: NBC's Who Wants to Marry My Dad? 2 finale postponed because of DNC coverage. Stevie reportedly "uptight."
May 2005: Rapper Busta Rhymes teams up with the Wonderman for what is being billed as the first "descriptive music video." Now, with Busta's narration, blind people finally realize that nothing ever happens in Stevie Wonder videos.
September 10, 2005: Michael Jackson taps Stevie to be on his Hurricane Katrina charity single, which has the same title as Stevie's single from A Time 2 Love, "From the Bottom of My Heart." Jeez, you can't cure hate with confusion!!!