1972 Case File #8.

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder, Music Of My Mind

File Between: Marvin Gaye and Funkadelic

Comments: This is very much a transitional record between the youthful Stevie’s hit Motown singles packages of the late 60s and the mature album artist who would be hailed as one of his generation’s greatest composers and pop artists in the decade to come. Although he’s wielding a new-found control over the record-making process, writing, producing, and singing the whole album himself, the record suffers from a lack of focus, a few too many ideas that go nowhere, and one badly misjudged goof of a song (“Sweet Little Girl”) that comes off as simply creepy in the context of the burnished, pulsing elegance of the work that surrounds it. But the good stuff is very, very good: melodic, forceful, futuristic in its use of synthesizers without sacrificing any of the warmth of live instrumentation. And it stretches out, luxuriating in the extended possibilities of a post-pop world.

A Keeper? It’s not Stevie Wonder’s best album — not even his best album of 1972 — but it’s naggingly listenable, and several of the songs are overlooked classics.

Vinyl Rip: Happier Than The Morning Sun

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