Saturday, August 3, 2013

40 Year Itch : "Chevre" Is That Right Mama?

The album may have been called Innervisions, but,  more than ever before,  Stevie Wonder focuses on what's going on outside... in the streets. From "Too High", a song about the toll drugs takes on a talented woman, to the injustices of "Living For the City" to the hypocritical politicians of "He's Misstra Know-It-All", Wonder is warning his community that , despite the title of the single, there are a lot of things to be worried about in the early 1970's.

   It's a bleak message: this sense of impending doom.And it's one this 23-year old  felt to his bones. As Ben Fong-Torres wrote in an April 1973 article for Rolling Stone:

  He sees the earth zigging towards a destructive end; he can see himself dying soon and he hopes, by his music, to be able to leave something for the rest of us — even if we ain't that far behind him.

   And yet there is nothing in the music but pure joy and passion. As in Music of My Mind and Talking Book, Wonder uses Tonto's Expanding Head Band's sythesisers to compose the songs "Living For the City", "Golden Lady" and "Misstra Know-It-All". He's also a one man band on tracks like "Too High", "Jesus Children of America" and "Higher Ground". 

'Higher Ground' is the only time I've ever done a whole track in one hour, and the words just came out. That's the only time, and that's very heavy. -Stevie Wonder

Of all the albums to be released in 1973, including Dark Side of the Moon, Innervisions is the one I insist you own first.

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