Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.
In my mind, this is the last good Stevie Wonder album, although I'm holding out hope he's got a huge comeback left in him. I prefer Stevie on Hohner Clavinet than Yamaha CS80, so while most of this album sounds terribly dated, it's the incredible songwriting that keeps you coming back for more. Don't compare it to his '70s stuff and you'll be fine. Honestly, you should never compare anything to Stevie's '70s stuff because it isn't really fair to anyone. This is electronic drum-driven pop rather than funk or rock, but consumers (including myself) ate it up and the album went double platinum in the US. Side one (tracks 1-5) were all about love, while side two (tracks 6-10) are mostly social commentary. I'm disappointed in the number of harmonica solos: one, on an otherwise lackluster Never In Your Sun.
The album won Wonder the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 28th Grammy Awards where he performed with Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock and Howard Jones. Dolby makes the faux pas of conducting a blind man:
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #5
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #1 (12 weeks)
Tracks: For me, Overjoyed is the highlight of the album and may be Mr. Wonder's best ballad ever. Yes, I said ever. I also like I Love You Too Much, Whereabouts, Go Home, and the retread of Superstition, Spiritual Walkers. I usually skip Land of La La and the ubiquitous Part-Time Lover because I've heard the latter plenty for one lifetime (with so much quality Wonder material available, why do radio stations continue to play that one?). But I'll listen to Overjoyed at least three more times before putting this disc away.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: When I bought and played this cassette on heavy rotation in my car during my sophomore year in college, I was the only one in my circle of friends that seemed to like it. I don't know what they were listening to, because this was Stevie F. Wonder for chrissakes.
Previously revisited for the blog:
Song Review: A Greatest Hits Collection (1996)
Songs In The Key Of Life (1976)
Talking Book (1972)
Music Of My Mind (1972)
Someday At Christmas (1967)