Monday, September 10, 2007

367. Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life (1976)

Track Listing

1 Love's in Need of Love Today
2 Have a Talk With God
3 Village Ghetto Land
4 Confusion
5 Sir Duke
6 I Wish
7 Knocks Me off My Feet
8 Pastime Paradise
9 Summer Soft
10 Ordinary Pain
11 Isn't She Lovely
12 Joy Inside My Tears
13 Black Man
14 Ngiculela-Es Una Historia-I Am Singing
15 If It's Magic
16 As
17 Another Star
18 Saturn
19 Ebony Eyes
20 All Day Sucker
21 Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)


As you can see this is a long album and it is also the last truly great Stevie Wonder album in the "songs" format (Secret Life Of Plants is also quite good but mostly instrumental and some might say a bit too pretentious). So here we have a gigantic burst of great creativity by Wonder, and it is truly magnificent.

This album is magnificent not just because of its length of about 110 minutes but for the fact that there is not a bad song in the bunch. Some are obviously better than others but none is a dud, so if you put it next to the White Album it is truly amazing. This is possibly one of the best double albums of all time, up there with Blonde on Blonde and Lamb Lies Down On Broadway... so you can see how good that is and how diversified my music taste is... heh.

But it is not only the quality but the relentless pace of the album that makes it good. It never lets down for one single second, it is hard pumping soul all the way, even the slower tracks are only slow in comparison to the rest of the album, this is fun. This is a very fun, very political, very relentless and very good album. Impressive by its size and consistent quality calling this a masterpiece is no exageration. You will probably know many of the songs here from covers, well this is a testament to the influence of the album but it is also one of the problems with the album, maybe you are tired of Gangsta's Paradise (Pastime Paradise) or the George Michael and Mary J. Blige cover of As or even the song for Wild Wild West by Will Smith which is a reworking of I Wish. I can guarantee you however that the versions in this album are superior to any of the covers by astronomical magnitudes, so give them a chance.

Track Highlights

1. Sir Duke
2. As
3. Love's In Need Of Love Today
4. Knocks Me Off My Feet

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Songs in the Key of Life won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal and Album of the Year. The album also topped Billboard's Pop Albums and Black Albums charts for a record breaking 14 weeks out its 44 week in the Top 40 alone, and was one of the first albums by a solo artist to debut at #1 in its first week of sales (Elton John released two albums in 1975 that entered the chart at #1). It has surpassed a total of 10 million units in the U.S. alone. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 56 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Similarly, in 1998 Q magazine readers voted Songs in the Key of Life the 88th greatest album of all time; in 2001 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 7; in 2005 voters on the United Kingdom's Channel 4's poll placed it 74th.

A very short Sir Duke:

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