|Preconceived Notions: For some reason, I’ve never been the biggest Stevie Wonder fan. I don’t know why, considering my track record with loving other artists that were similar to him at the time. I know that he hit it big when he was young thanks to the brilliant Barry Gordon machine that was Motown in its Golden Era. I also know that this is supposedly a pretty monumental record in terms of influencing other artists and basically being the record that Stevie still builds his reputation on. Didn’t he just headline Glastonbury last year? I’m trying to be as open minded as possible. I’m almost positive I’ll like it more than dislike it.
-Love’s in Need of Love Today- good, with a “What’s Going On” vibe, but because I can’t ignore that comparison, I’d still rather listen to Marvin.
Sorry, I honestly can’t hear this song without hearing that song too.
-Knocks Me Off My Feet- Yeah, I really like this one
Isn’t She Lovely-the crying is super annoying at the beginning. You may think she’s wonderful Stevie, but if it’s not my kid, I don’t want to hear crying. This song is just too saccharine for me. It’s like having to listen to that stupid song “Butterfly Kisses”. I might have had a different opinion of this song if I had listened to this when it first came out instead of being played over every father/daughter montage moment ever and the instrumental goes on for way too long.
Joy Inside-I actually like Stevie’s voice more in this lower register. Just a good song.
Black Man- I can kind of understand why this wasn’t a massive radio hit
Ngiculela- too easy-listening for me. I would have asked Jeff Probst to snuff out this track’s torch if I had been the producer on this one.
If It’s Magic- The harp is a tricky instrument and this single rides the fine line of interesting and kitschy. It’s not one I’d need to listen to over and over again, but it’s ok. Weirdly enough, it reminds me of “In My Life” from Les Miserables…it’s probably just the harp though.
As-I know I’ve heard it before. I like this one quite a bit as well.
Another Star-Ambitious and, generally, well done, but it went on so long it kind of began to fade into the background for me.
After Listening: It’s no surprise that this is generally considered one of the best albums of all time. It brings a lot of new things, and a lot of interesting combinations to the table in 1976. It’s not genre-specific and most of the time it delivers the goods. It’s also played up by the fact that Stevie had pretty much already made his name as a child prodigy so accomplishing a great production on this pretty much set him up as a “musical genius” for life. I’ve always been walking behind the bandwagon on that idea, I mean I like him, but I don’t worship him, but the talent is clear here. I was slightly hesitant about this listen, but now I’m definitely glad I did.
Favorites: Village Ghetto Land, Knocks Me Off My Feet, Pastime Paradise