Monday, October 23, 2006

Steveland Judkins, aka Morris

That's right, I'm talkin' 'bout Stevie Wonder. Got him on the brain tonight because I was recently turned on to Innervisions, one of the few good Stevie Wonder albums I didn't already own (though I was more than a little familiar with a few of the tracks on it). Turns out that this may have been his best ever. Who knew? (Well, apparently everyone but me.)

A few measures of SW's genius:

1. The lyrics, though generally admirable in terms of their content, are sorta amateurish from a purely aesthetic standpoint. But it doesn't matter, cuz the compositions (and the performances / recording techniques) are so astoundingly beautiful.

2. SW can get away with synths-pretending-to-be-real-instruments like no one else. (Witness the pseudo-strings in "Village Ghetto Land." Again, it doesn't matter, cuz the other musical ingredients are so strong.)

3. On band road trips, SW albums are generally in that elite club of recordings that are more or less guaranteed to meet with approval from everyone in the van.

And besides, he shares a birthday with my daughter (May 13).

Photo by Chris Walter

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