Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No. 56: Songs in the Key of Life

Band: Stevie Wonder
Album: Songs in the Key of Life
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Stevie Wonder's epic double album spanning the romantic, sweet and socially conscious, "Songs in the Key of Life" is a masterpiece. Everyone from Rolling Stone to Robert Christgau finds it to be great and it's one of (in my opinion) Wonder's three great records.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Some of the stuff doesn't really work. Still, it's mostly rated well. There is filler on there, but it is a classic.
Best song: "Isn't She Lovely?" is a very pretty little song.
Worst song: "As" is not so good and it goes on too long.
Is it awesome?: Yes.

I've mentioned the "big three" Stevie Wonder albums in my capsule about "Innvervisions" and I'd suggest "Songs In The Key Of Life" is the best of the three. While it's a double album (as in, there's lots of filler), some of Wonder's best songs reside here. The brass bombast of "Sir Duke," the snide irony of "Village Ghetto Land," the history lesson of "Black Man" and the saccharine sweetness of "Isn't She Lovely?" all populate "Songs In The Key Of Life."

There is also enough weirdness to keep one satisfied. "Have A Talk With God" isn't up my alley (again, I worship the sun), "I Wish" is just not my bag (Thanks, Will Smith) and "Saturn" shows that you don't have to see to take psychedelic drugs.

Overall, it's probably Wonder's best work.

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