Tag: Stevie Wonder

Album Cover of the Week: Stevie Wonder, Where I’m Coming From

Album Cover of the Week: Stevie Wonder, Where I’m Coming From

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I last showcased an album cover from the great Stevie Wonder when I wrote about Innervisions in 2009. Today I want to go back to the beginning. Not of Wonder's career, but of his string of all-time classic albums in the 1970s. For today we look at Where I'm Coming From, released on Motown's Tamla label on April 12, 1971. A few things strike me right away about this cover. First is the very bold use of "WONDER" with its many pictures of Stevie. This was the first album where Wonder really was able to assert full creative control over his music, and I think this cover speaks to that. The second thing is the title -- Where I'm Coming From. It's an unmistakable declaration that this album was intended not to generate profit for Berry Gordy but to let America and the world know what w...
Why the Hell Should I Like… post-‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson?

Why the Hell Should I Like… post-‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson?

Music
“Why the hell should I like… ?” is an experiment of sorts between Popblerd and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. What we’re going to attempt to do is to pick 10 songs from our favorite artists — one for which the other has professed dislike or disinterest — and show them why they’re wrong. On June 25th, 2009, the world lost one of the greatest entertainers of all time -- Michael Jackson. Although recent history had not been kind to Michael, after his passing it seemed like a light switch went on in the collective mind of the American public and they began to view him with respect again. Because let's face it, despite his obvious issues, the man was a one-of-a-kind talent. A fantastic singer, a great dancer, a solid songwriter and producer, and, if you look over the current pop mu
My favorite music: 1972

My favorite music: 1972

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1972. Fleetwood Mac, Bare Trees -- Oh sure, I love Rumours as much as the next person. But there's something about this particular, pre-Buckingham/Nicks incarnation of the band that speaks to me. Bare Trees is a bit uneven in spots but I keep coming back to it just the same. That said, the original version of Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady" found on this record is far superior to the 1977 hit single version. Steely Dan, Can't Buy a Thrill -- I don't care if Donald Fagen and Walter Becker want to disown this record, I love it and I know a ton of Dan fans love it. Like all classic Steely Dan records, the hits are only part o...
Album review mini-roundup: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Duran Duran, and Jim Noir

Album review mini-roundup: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Duran Duran, and Jim Noir

Music
Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplane (Rounder Records) -- Even if Union Station's brand of bluegrass and sweet country pop isn't your cup of sassafras tea, you need to listen to this at least once. Krauss has one of the most beautiful voices in music, and you should never pass up a chance to hear her. Turn off your cell phone, sit down, relax, and let the beauty of tracks like "Lay My Burden Down" and "Dimming of the Day" take you away. Paper Airplane is a subdued affair, and not exactly what you'd play at a party, but the performances are top notch and the production is warm and intimate. There is a little more grit on the songs led by Dan Tyminksi (whose voice many will recognize as the man actually singing George Clooney's parts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?), but "Dust ...
Platters that matter: 20 albums that changed my life (#10—#1)

Platters that matter: 20 albums that changed my life (#10—#1)

Listcruft, Music
At long last, I present the conclusion of my list of 20 albums that have had the most impact on me and my love of music. For a brief refresher, you can check the back half of the top 20 here. But for your convenience, here's the list: #20 — Queen, The Game #19 — Seals & Crofts, Summer Breeze #18 — Kiss, Creatures of the Night #17 — Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast #16 — Run-D.M.C., Raising Hell #15 — Kiss, Alive! #14 — Rush, A Farewell to Kings #13 — Miles Davis, Kind of Blue #12 — Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pictures at an Exhibition #11 — various artists, Jazz Master Files OK, now that we're all caught up, let's finish this thing already. As a reminder, this is no particular order but I know people love countdowns so there you go. #10 — Genesis, Duke If Rus
Album Cover of the Week: Innervisions

Album Cover of the Week: Innervisions

Album Cover of the Week, Music
In a just world, last night's Grammy Awards telecast would have been dedicated largely to celebrating the 50th anniversary of Motown Records.  Instead, we got 'treated' to Stevie Wonder playing with the Jonas Brothers.  Ugh. So in an effort to remedy (in whatever small way I can) this musical travesty, I'm presenting not just one of Stevie's or Motown's greatest albums, but one of the greatest albums of any genre -- 1973's Innervisions. Innervisions was not released on the regular Motown label but rather on Tamla, the company Berry Gordy started in 1959 that morphed into Motown.  The album was a monster commercial and artistic triumph for Wonder, who picked up the first of his three Grammys for Album of the Year. As for the album art, the cover illustration is by Efram Wolff,
Gray Flannel Mixtape – Desert Island #1s

Gray Flannel Mixtape – Desert Island #1s

Music
I'm not sure what the origin of the whole "desert island" thing is when referring to music, movies, and other stuff you really like. Why not a tropical island? That one Tom Hanks got stuck on in Cast Away seemed pretty nice, didn't it? Oh right, the point. So apropos of nothing, I recently participated in a fantasy draft on a favorite message board of mine. But instead of drafting a sports team, we picked from a list of every song that has ever reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, now in its 50th year. The only catch was that each team had to select at least two songs from each decade ('58 - '69 was lumped together). That made things interesting, because the pickings for truly good #1 songs started to get real slim starting in the 1990s. Overall I'm pleased with my team,...
Monday music stuff – Michael Jackson, Tapes ‘n Tapes, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Monday music stuff – Michael Jackson, Tapes ‘n Tapes, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Music
This month saw the release of a 25th Anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's seminal album Thriller (even though it originally came out in November '82). I owned the album on vinyl back in the day, and loved it to death before I officially renounced All Things Not Metal around '84/'85. My palette is considerably broader than it used to be, so I gave the album another listen today. Removing any historical context from Thriller (which is difficult), it is still a very good album; I just can't say that it's deserving of its near universal acclaim and ridiculous sales figures (more than 104 million sold!). There are some rather clunky production flourishes added by Quincy Jones (the title track in particular sounds pretty goofy now), and a lot of it does sound rather dated. That said, ...