Song Review (A Greatest Hits Collection) - Stevie Wonder

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Song Review (A Greatest Hits Collection) - Stevie Wonder

1 CD(s) - R&B - Label: PolyGram - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 10/08/1998 - 731453075726

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Review of "Song Review (A Greatest Hits Collection) - Stevie Wonder"

published 24/08/2004 | luckyarchers
Member since : 17/10/2002
Reviews : 175
Members who trust : 179
About me :
Pro Good music which shows Stevie Wonder’s different styles.
Cons Differences of opinion about greatest hits.
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
How does it compare to the artist's other releases

"A Song Review"

A Song Review

A Song Review

When reviewing an album with “greatest hits” in the title, by an artist who has used a variety of music styles in his long career, there is bound to be controversy about which tracks should be there. I don’t want to haggle about Stevie Wonder’s best tracks, so far, as I probably wouldn’t end up pleasing many of his fans, if any. (Some critics seem to think that if a song is commercially good, it probably isn’t musically good.) Instead, I want to tell you about the tracks on this album and let you decide whether it is worth buying.

One thing I am sure about is that there is no rubbish on this album. The tracks, to me, are either good or brilliant, therefore, I give the album 5 stars.

A wide range of music influenced Stevie as he grew up including Gospel, Jazz, Reggae, and Motown. All of these influences can be heard on “A Song Review”.

All songs on this album were written by Stevie Wonder except Ebony and Ivory (Paul McCartney) and Redemption Song (Bob Marley).

The album starts off with the ballad ISN’T SHE LOVELY, where as an obviously very proud father, Stevie thanks God for the birth of his baby. When Stevie isn’t singing on this track, he is playing the harmonica.

I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU, a good ballad for smooching to, is Motown's biggest selling single in the UK.

I find the strong beat of SUPERSTITION haunting, while Stevie sings, “Superstitution ain’t the way.”

Trumpets play an important part in the jazz song SIR DUKE, which is a tribute to music’s pioneers, “Basie, Miller, Satchmo and the king of all Sir Duke,” ie Duke Ellington.

The bass strums the reggae beat in MASTER BLASTER (JAMMIN’). This is a tribute to Bob Marley, “From the park I hear rhythms, Marley’s hot on the box. Tonight there will be a party, on the corner, at the end of the block.”

The duet with Paul McCartney, EBONY AND IVORY, brought together two well known musicians in musical harmony, one black and one white, with constrasting voices, praying for racial harmony, in this ballard. “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why can’t we?”

The upbeat, reggae influenced, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, was written to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, the civil rights leader and martyre. At the end, Stevie states, “We know the key to unify all people is the dream that you had so long ago, that lives in all of the hearts of people that believe in unity. We’ll make the deam become a reality. I know we will, because our hearts tell us so.” His campaign to get a national holiday for Americans to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday was successful.

A grim lifestyle is captured in the rhythmic and soulful LIVING FOR THE CITY.

HE’S MISTRA KNOW IT ALL is a mickey taking song. Stevie’s voice and keyboards dominate this upbeat track.

The wonderfully romantic YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE is a great feel good song. Stevie makes the keyboards sparkle with music, while the trumpets join in as the song builds to a crescendo at the chorus.

Stevie sings and plays the piano in LATELY, a sad, slow ballard, about a man who believes he is losing the love of his woman.

This is followed by the upbeat PART-TIME LOVER, in which Stevie’s voice and percussion dominate, with the keyboards in the background.

MY CHERIE AMOUR and YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY are slow love ballards. Stringed instruments are more evident in these tracks, than in others.

The fast rhythm of UPTIGHT makes it hard for me to sit still. Here the drums take over as the main accompliment to Stevie’s voice.

The soul ballard I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER, was written for Stevie’s childhood sweetheart. The depth of his feeling is captured strongly in his voice.

This is followed by an upbeat ballard FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE. Stevie’s harmonic once more features in between his singing.

Stevie’s voice and percussion are the main ingredients to SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED I’M YOURS, with some harmonising female vocals.

Stevie then sings two slow smoochy songs FOR YOUR LOVE “I would do anything, just to see the smile upon your face”, and KISS LONELY GOOD-BYE.

The album closes with Stevie’s stirring version of Bob Marley’s spiritual REDEMPTION SONG. He urges, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” and “Won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom.” This is a powerful end to the album.

I have enjoyed this album for the variety of music styles included in it.

Other Albums you many choose to buy instead

If you already have all, or most of Stevie’s albums, or if you have his albums with the style of music that most interests you, I wouldn’t expect you to want this.

However as CDWOW and are selling this album for under £9 (including p&p), if a potential Stevie Wonder fan wanted a general taste of his music styles, this is a reasonable price for 21 tracks of good music!

Some people may recommend that you buy albums from Stevie’s back catalogue on CD instead, because they prefer his music at the time a lot of critics think he reached his peak. Contenders for his back catalogue best album, as opposed to a compilation of what the record companies think are his greatest hits over his career so far, are Innervisions, Music of My Mind, Talking Book and Hotter than July, which are all single albums, and Songs in the Key of Life which is a double album. If you want to know my full opinion on these good albums, I hope to write about them soon, but they are worth considering for the reason given, however, you won't get the variety of the Song Review tracks.

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Comments on this review

  • redeyes22 published 22/09/2007
  • mimicmwb published 04/09/2006
    Informative review man!!---Michael
  • tekin21 published 13/03/2005
    Now this is one I definately wouldn't mind adding to my CD collection. Jane x
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Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - R&B - Label: PolyGram - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 10/08/1998 - 731453075726

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EAN: 731453075726


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