Undertaking casual research:- 1973 album Innervisions is the 16th studio album for Stevie Wonder, born 1950…
Well OK, Stevie made a start in the early 60’s as Little Stevie Wonder, child prodigy, writer, performer, oh it goes on. Innervisions certainly represents full maturity from this; Stevie has hit his stride. The previous year, he had released the album Talking Book, and in that was his most well known track, Superstition. The early 70’s was the time that brought soul, funk, and rhythm and blues to the main stream and this is, in no small part, due to Stevie.
The album comes diving in with the jazzy number Too High, a track really showing his style; it shines Stevie. Too High is followed with Visions, and at this point you are really feeling wistful and melancholic:
People hand in hand
Have I lived to see the milk and honey land?
Where hate’s a dream and love forever stands
Or is this a vision in my mind?
Visions has this sort of beautiful gloom to it that really there is no ideal life and we’re so far from the perfect world.
Living for the city perks us up a bit. We get the great synth throughout the album that is used so well and a great example of the funk rhythms and basses that we have just come to expect from Stevie. He’s truly talented a creative on the keyboard, with some really on point chord progressions, expressed here and in the following song Golden lady, which has an almost Latin feel. This was clearly a bit of a feature because later in the album Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing cranks this to the max! The song manages this real lovely mix between soul and Latin dance. Odd prospect, masterful execution! The best thing about this song for me are those great descending chord sequences that just precede the chorus. Oh the whole thing is just good!
The Album closes with He’s Misstra Know-It-All whose refrain sounds almost like a christian spiritual. This track is reportedly a bit of fun poking at the then president Richard Nixon.
If we had less of him,
Don’t you know we’d have a better land!
Just some of the lyrics that to go towards an all knowing mockery. It’s actually a brilliant listen.
Overall Innervisions is the quieter and more introspective side of Stevie but as such a talented writer, he pulls it off with that brilliance.
Is this album for you?
Oh I can scoff here because I think Stevie has just entered such a public place that it’s almost impossible to criticise him; he seems almost objectively good. Of course I loved this album but if you’re after the bouncy joy that Stevie can give, this may not be the best album for you. Still – the talent of this man is still being revered today. If you’re in for a bit of a different Stevie tone, give it a listen!
- Writing: 9/10
- Performance: 9/10
- Style: 8.5/10