Stevie Wonder. Why is he so wonderful? Because the average artist's album holds one or two hit songs and you can just forget the rest in a whiffy, whereas Mr Wonder's albums are just full of the greatest songs. He is amazingly innovative with the way he uses instruments in his songs (mastering a dozen different instruments might help with that) as well as with his lyrics. The range of his lyrics cover a wide spectrum, from concerns of poverty and inequality to celebrations of the miracles of life, with some must-have relationship/love songs in the middle. It seems that Mr Wonder has no problem deviating from the overused "I loved her so much but then she left me and now I'm sad boo hoo" theme, which is very refreshing! No wonder he was awarded with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and 22 other Grammys.
I think it's song-sharing time again! Here are some of my favourite Stevie Wonder masterpieces.
This one gets the top of the list because it's one of my absolute most-loved songs in the world. It also gave Stevie Wonder his first two Grammy awards in 1972, for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. There's this amazing instrumental intro with a dual effect: on the one hand, it fills you with expectation and you can't wait for the song to start. Then again, the intro itself is so damn wonderful you could just listen to that till the end of time. Superstition ain't the way!
I Just Called To Say I Love You
A sweet and simple song with a sweet and simple message: you don't always have to have any special excuse to tell people you care about them. Won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1984 – it was featured in a movie called The Woman in Red.
This wonderful song captures the desperation of the state of the world, imagining there's a better place where "just to live to us is our natural high". This is the song that I listen to when it seems like everything is a total mess and the idea of packing off to another planet feels quite tempting.
Another (earlier) expression of the injustice of the world. Questions that are never answered.
On the more cheerful side, with a nice groove...
Living for the City
Another Best R&B Song Grammy winner (in '74), and no wonder why! Just listen to it, that amazing beat and that lovely, raspy voice!
The chorus is unbelievably catchy.
A bouncy tune with an especially bouncy intro – he really knows how to do these intros! Pa pa pa, pa pa da-da-da-da...
I find this song somehow intriguing. And once again I love the instrumentations in the background.
To conclude, a celebration of great musicians and good music – the title is a reference to Duke Ellington whom Stevie Wonder admired. I agree with Stevie wholeheartedly, music is such a great thing. So go and listen to some good music, but first you can tell me what musicians you admire and why :)