At around 11 minutes long, “Time Has Come Today” stretches and tests the boundaries of time. This psychedelic anthem celebrates the unknowns of time, appreciates the time we have, and accepts that life is short. The song addresses how time is often fraught with sadness and frustration but we are also rewarded with powerful experiences.
I enjoy how The Chambers Brothers demonstrate time within the song. At the beginning, the thrill of the lyrics, the maddening guitars, the lively drumming… all instruments and musicians build this song together. Then there are instances where the background vocals are more of a shout or a statement: “TIME!” The song slows a bit; a cowbell introduced from the start clicks like a second hand.
Was it always ticking? The drums… I think they might have been leading us into something hypnotic and mysterious all along. You can contemplate this once that break fills in the song completely for minutes. Time doesn’t exist here… or does it? This is where we spin, dance and fall. We reach out to one another or pull away not knowing when or if this space is momentary or forever. As we drown in or ride on the meandering ooze of psych we can revisit memories and history or look away.
Released in the Vietnam War era, it’s a song that’s musically familiar but takes a slightly different route from the messages other bands electrified during this period. I think of “Fortunate Son” by CCR which speaks to issues with concrete examples. The Chambers Brothers take rock and current events and put them in a very surreal musical context. It really makes you appreciate these songs as more than their relationship to the decade.
Of course there are so many interpretations one could glean from this track. I love how the main pieces of the song come back at the end, and time carries on. Take the time to hear this song in its original, plentiful version. You have time. Or do you?
(Song recommendation by K Weber)