|Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life: 4 stars
Precon: Like everybody, I know the hits. I like some of them. Others have been effed out by easy listening stations. I was always curious about his other stuff because of the seemingly limitless adulation it receives, this album in particular, but never curious enough to actually seek it out.
Favorite Track: I Wish
Least Favorite: Joy Inside My Tears/Ngiculela
Have a Talk With God – Love the music on this, though I can’t figure out what the hell they’re playing.
Village Ghetto Land – I know the Barnes & Noble music in the background is supposed to create a juxtaposition with the lyrical content, but it doesn’t work for me. And for some reason the way he sings reminds me of a Christmas song.
Contusion – An unexpected treat.
Sir Duke – I don’t think I ever put it together that this was Stevie. If it was called “All Over” it would have a much bigger legacy.
I Wish – Oh great, Will Smith almost ruined this song. But not quite. It’s awesome.
Pastime Paradise – Oh WTF Coolio. I feel like I knew about this at one point but probably didn’t care and forgot. It doesn’t overcome its 90’s bastardization as well as “I Wish.”
Summer Soft – Ramps up nicely. Like the keys.
Ordinary Pain – Ho hum for the 2 minutes, then they’re like F this let’s break it down.
Isn’t She Lovely – Effed out. Doesn’t really mean anything anymore. This extended version helps get the feeling back a little, but there’s been too much waiting room/grocery store exposure. Having a kid is probably the only thing that could repair the damage at this point.
Joy Inside My Tears – Man what was the thought process behind this one? “You know that soft little wind down I do at the end of a song right before it fades out?” “Sure do Stevie. That’s good stuff.” “I’m gonna make a whole song of that. It’ll be 6 minutes long with no variation.” “Uhhhhh….”
Black Man – Stevie’s the original edutainer.
Ngiculela – Vocals are good even in Spanish, but the keys are annoying on this one.
If It’s Magic – I don’t know about the harp. The vocals remind me of Bobby Womack on the Gorillaz song Cloud of Unknowing.
As – Love the Rhodes. Great chorus too. I know it from somewhere, can’t figure out where.
Another Star – Always good to go out with a flute.
Overall, a ton of good instrumentation and vocals. Stevie’s high pitch and vibrato have a tendency to get on my nerves, but I like him most of the time. Another RC success.