Craig David's "The Time Is Now" is his seventh studio...

Craig David's "The Time Is Now" is his seventh studio album. Credit: RCA

CRAIG DAVID

“The Time Is Now”

BOTTOM LINE The early Aughts R&B star returns with a whole new generation of dance rhythms.

As LL Cool J would say, “Don’t call it a comeback.” Craig David has been here for years, just without the high profile the British singer-songwriter had when he first debuted in 2000.

Back then, David was a 19-year-old phenom with the hit “Fill Me In,” which combined classic, smooth R&B vocals and British dance rhythms like garage and two-step. Now, on his seventh album, “The Time Is Now” (RCA), David is a 36-year-old music industry veteran, known as much as a DJ and songwriter as he is as a performer, who has paired his still-smooth R&B vocals with a new generation of dance rhythms.

On the current single “I Know You,” David teams up with Bastille, best known for the hit “Pompeii,” for an anthem of unity that bounces between Euro-pop and trap grooves. On “Live in the Moment,” David breezily grooves over a neo-soul vibe built by hot producer Kaytranada that will have you digging in the crates for your Brand New Heavies collection, though Goldlink’s increasingly hyper rap verse makes it clear that this is a 2018 single.

David drops plenty of lyrical clues to show he’s firmly living in the present. In “For the Gram,” he declares, “We do it for the Insta, we do it for the ‘Gram. . . . When she’s done taking pictures, don’t forget the hashtag.” In “Love Will Come Around,” he reminds his girl, “Wish I could see your face more, but that’s what FaceTime’s here for” before moving it to a more traditional love story.

David’s exit from the spotlight in America has always seemed curious, especially when R. Kelly, with all his issues, and the substandard Jason DeRulo continue in David’s lane. However, one listen to the timeless “Talk to Me” or the timely “Love Me Like It’s Yesterday” should fix that.

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