Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Stevie Wonder - Song Review

I'm still on a high from the Stevie Wonder concert last week. It just goes to show that experiences like this are worth all the time and effort (not to mention, money) that it can take to get to them. This feeling is priceless.

As promised, I have now started listening to Stevie Wonder's Song Review (1996) again now. This is a great collection of some of Stevie's best music. I say some because I think there are a couple of glaring omissions (see below), even though this is the single CD version of this compilation. So here's my two cents worth.

Songs I totally love:
Master Blaster (Jammin'). From the first drum roll. Wow.
My Cherie Amour. Perhaps the most romantic, summery song ever. Guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
For Once In My Life. The ultimate feel-good song. Great orchestration and a superbly tight rhythm section. Can't wait to play this song with my next band!

Songs I grew to love:
Isn't She Lovely. My mother never liked this and for some reason I listened to her. Now it's up there with the best, especially the variations on the bass/drum runs at the end of each verse, and the killer harmonica solo.
Lately. I never really knew this song before. It has to be one of the saddest songs ever, and those long phrases "always start to cry --" are so superbly executed. The orchestration is laid bare and minimalist; a perfect package.
Living For The City. I love how the timing changes to 3/4 during the instrumental break.

Songs I don't think needed to be on this album:
I Just Called to Say I Love You. Yeah yeah, it was a big hit, but a bad one. I didn't mind the funked up version he played live, but still can't warm to this.
Redemption Song. Aiming for a big finish and never quite making it.

Songs I think are missing:
Sir Duke. One of the best tribute songs written. I totally agree with all the musicians he admires, and the way he paid tribute to them. Really tight rhythm work, too.
Ribbon In The Sky. Beautiful phrasing. A really well-constructed song.
There's a Place In The Sun. Perhaps not his best work, but a great representation of how he was writing and performing at the time.

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