Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Albums of 1973: Stevie Wonder: Innervisions


Release Date: August 3, 1973

Produced by Stevie Wonder

Side One: Too High; Visions; Living for the City; Golden Lady

Side Two: Higher Ground; Jesus Children of America; All in Love is Fair; Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing; He's Misstra Know-It-All

During the 1970s, Stevie Wonder released one incredible album after another, playing most of the instruments and seamlessly shifting between soul, rock, funk, and jazz. Innervisions belongs on everyone's record shelf.

"Too High" opens the album, a mellow funk song with hints of psychedelia, the story of drug addict in love with an ingenue who's also an addict. "Visions" is even more mellow, imagining a utopia, "where hate's a dream and love forever stands." Understated in its power with its subtle hypnotic melody evoking the moment between wakefulness and sleep. "Living for the City" won two Grammy's, tells a tragic story of a young Black man making his way to New York City as part of the Great Migration only encounter the harsh reality of a racist justice system. "Golden Lady" is a jazzy love song, with Moog and synth, ending side one. 

"Higher Ground" opened side two, another classic that hit #1 on the R&B charts, is a spiritual journey sung with angst and resignation. "Jesus Children of America" is a meditative prayer on the state of 1970s America. "All in Love is Fair" is a more of a pop standard, it became a hit for Barbara Streisand the following year. "Don't You Worry "Bout a Thing" is effortlessly catchy, recovering from the slightly annoying intro (a man tries to impress a woman with worldliness). "He's Misstra Know It All" describes a con-artist, possibly a corrupt politician. The track build gradually from one of foreboding, then gradually bringing the figure down to one of inconsequence. 

Musically, Innervisions is close to perfection, it holds up through an infinite number of listens.. 


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