Songs That Last A Lifetime – Dave’s Review

For the last two week’s, we have been listening to Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life. At 85:21 minutes, I have managed only one complete listen in one sitting. Although in my defence, that was the full 103:23 minutes version, which includes the A Something’s Extra EP.

So what are my thoughts on this Long Player?

On the one hand, I appreciate the quantity of the music and admire the ambition, but the album is just too long. Even if I find the time to listen to it all, my mind begins to wander. A disadvantage of an album so long, is that it is difficult to take in and the gems within it get lost. Thankfully, there are plenty of gems within this album, and I can see why it has been so critically acclaimed.

The album starts slowly, with Love’s In Need of Love Today gently welcoming the listener. The record really kicks off with Confusion, a jazz-funk intstrumental with great bass and falling electric guitar. The trumpets of Sir Duke put the fun in funk and the dancing continues with I Wish.

My two highlights of the record come in the slower, softer moments. Summer Soft begins ever so delicately but Wonders’ voice grows in strength and power with the song until he is screaming out ‘And she’s gone’. My favourite track on the record is As, a beautiful love song with an enjoyable groove and a catchy gospel chorus. “It’s the perfect expression of everlasting love that we all want.” [1] The final track, Another Star, is a lively, danceable number with a strong Latin festival feel.

Stevie Wonder’s singing is great throughout, balancing a maturity with the energy of his earlier work as a child. The wide diversity of styles and instruments, many of which Wonder plays himself, enrich the album and give it lots of depth. But it is just too long.

★★★★☆

[1] Summed up perfectly by UrbanLAPixie

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