During the 1970’s, Stevie Wonder was on a creative streak that few artists have seen, and Innervisions is easily one of his best albums. I guess another reason I’m more fond of it nowadays is that unlike some of his other albums, I’m not sick of repeatedly hearing the singles, although every track on it is superb.
Innervisions came after the great artistic and commercial success of Talking Book, in which Wonder showed that he could be an R&B artist with crossover appeal thanks to the hit single, “Superstition”. Also as with his previous two albums, Innervisions saw Stevie shedding his child star persona by showing complete control over his music by producing his material as well as playing nearly every instrument on the album except for the bass and guitar parts that are featured on a couple songs.
And though he’s a more than competent drummer, Stevie makes more than full use of his brilliant piano playing. The songs are densely layered with lots of funky keyboard and synth parts, along with Stevie’s very soulful vocals. The album really shows off the different sides of Stevie Wonder that made him such an easily like-able artist. Songs such as “Livin’ For The City” and “Higher Ground”reflect Wonder’s more socially conscious side while songs like “Golden Lady” and “All In Love Is Fair” show his knack for writing heartfelt love songs.
Stevie’s unique blend of funk, smooth R&B, and pop really make for a sound that is very pop-friendly, and it’s really quite amazing the way he’ll give you a song like “He’s Misstra Know It All” that has a very catchy sound to it even though it’s lyrics are a scathing critique of then-President Richard Nixon. And it’s this unique blend that made Stevie Wonder one of the most successful artists of the seventies as well as emerging along with artists like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield as an R&B artist with a message.
Favorite Tracks: “Living For The City”, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”, “He’s Misstra Know It All”