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Music Review: Stevie Wonder – Music Of My Mind

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Stevie Wonder released Music Of My Mind, March 3, 1972. He was now an adult both legally and artistically, plus he had a new contract firmly in hand, which stated he was in full control. It ushered in the classic period of his career, which produced some of the most creative music in American pop, rock and soul history. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the release among the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.

Just about every word and sound came from the mind and mouth of Stevie Wonder. While he and his then wife, Syreeta Wright, had co-written all the tracks together on his last album; here he only used her as a co-composer on three, while writing the remaining six alone. He also played every instrument except for one trombone part and the guitar solos on one track.

What resulted was a cohesive album where the songs fit together well. It was his first album to make the synthesizer the dominant instrument, which resulted in the dramatic use of chord and key changes, which quickly became a consistent part of his style and sound.

The songs were now longer and more complicated. The sound was layered, which resulted in complex material, all of which added up to a different approach to soul and rhythm and blues. The first track symbolized these changes. “Love Having You Around” clocked in at over seven minutes, which allowed plenty of room for him to explore various chord changes and build a song with a variety of textures.

The album’s best track was the eight minute “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You),” which was a top 40 single in a shorter form. It had two distinct parts as it followed the narrator’s relationship with a woman named Mary. The first part was jazzy and the second was what can be called psychedelic soul. He wisely used Buzz Feiten for the guitar solos.

There are really no weak tracks. They ranged from the simple melodies of “Happier Than The Morning Sun,” to the funk of “Keep On Running” to the biting social commentary of “Evil.”

Music Of My Mind was an apt title for Stevie Wonder’s personal coming out party. As good as it was, it only scratched the surface as to the treats that his mind held.

 

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About David Bowling

  • http://www.offi.fr/theatre Eric @ Paris Theater

    I like the term “psychedelic soul”: it fits perfectly with some Stevie Wonder. The album “Music of My Mind” is amazing when you listen the first time. This is my favorite album with “Innervisions” :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/minidocj dominic

    As far I’m concerned this is some of Steveland’s finest work. Along with ‘Where I’m Coming From’ and ‘Fulfillingness’ First Finale’, this album showcases all of his mindblowing song-writing potential.

    As a jazz musician I can confidently say that a lot of his compositions from these 3 albums deserve to the mentioned in the same sentence as Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk.