At my age, it’s probably weird that I care about music so much. Odd that a passion that started as soon as I could afford to buy cassettes persists longer than friendship, employment, love and almost anything else in my life. Odd that I still want to find records that leave a mark, not just songs that fit into a playlist and play in the background.
Jim Guthrie’s latest, Takes Time, means something to me. It’s a collection of humble, pristine folk pop that nears perfection. Not in execution - as music can and never should be everything to everyone - but in construction. Takes Time is a collection of tenderness, terse movement and heartfelt sentiments. Horns, strings, electronics and acoustic strums supports Jim’s amazing vocals. These songs are complete thoughts. They are more than hypothesis and guess work. They are proven conclusions.
In today’s music scene, good enough is considered good enough. Just get it out there. Quality isn’t important. Jim’s sonic obsession swims against the current, to the point the effort almost pulled him under. Ten years in the creation, Takes Time was only revealed after it was fully baked, but make no mistake. Nothing Jim recorded was stumbled upon by accident.
That’s why Jim’s b-sides record, Takes Time (Instrumentals & Demos), is more than an add-in or a collector’s bounty. These fragments are the building blocks, the pencil sketches that would have been good enough for almost anyone else. They show where these songs started, but more importantly, help us celebrate where they ended.
But Takes Time is more than sonic beauty, it’s a reminder. We are inundated with make money choruses and flossy anthems. You only live once has become a rallying cry, but for all the wrong reasons. Jim knows we only get once chance, and that’s why instead of fame, he sings of a more simple and achievable goal. Love yourself, those in your life and what you do. Loving those three things is all we need to be happy. Everything else is secondary. Anything else can slip through your fingers.
To celebrate his place on the Polaris Prize Long List, Jim is offering up his auto-tuned take on the Simon & Garfunkel classic, “Only Living Boy in New York.” Sure, this song is one that we all know and despite the fact it was written in anger and in isolation, it’s the perfect punctuation mark on Takes Time and the demos from which the songs grew.
Happiness is a rare commodity, often dictated by things outside of our own control. We search far and wide to find exotic locations and monumental experiences, when everything we need is at our fingertips. Sunshine. Friends. Song. These things are enough, and with Takes Time, Jim reminds us all of that simple, overlooked realization.
Grab Takes Time and Takes Time (Instrumentals & Demos) on bandcamp now.