Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No. 493: That's the Way of the World

Band: Earth, Wind & Fire
Album: That's the Way of the World
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The best selling and best album from Earth, Wind and Fire features the group's famous harmonies and their signature funk sound.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Parts of the record get a little repetitive.
Best song: The first two tracks -- the title track and "Shining Star" -- are brilliant. Africano is also awesome.
Worst song: "All About Love" isn't great.
Is it awesome?: It's close.

Earth, Wind & Fire is perfectly pleasant. Again, because I'm a product of my time, EW&F has been a band good for three things:

  1. Dusty stations

  2. Advertisements for older people

  3. Hip hop samples

I guess I could add "background music" to that list after living with "That's the Way of the World" for two days. It's a perfectly fine album, it's just not memorable after the first two tracks. Certainly, the title track and "Shining Star" are amazing songs, but the album is just good enough after those two. "Happy Feelin'" is a more upbeat number, but has the same harmonized vocal style that came to be the band's trademark. "Yearnin' Learnin'" is a Stevie Wonder knockoff, though a good one. The instrumental Afrocentrism on "Africano" starts off with a nice little flute.

It's the type of album we should all have, but it's largely forgettable if you're not a fan already.

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