This week’s throwback record is a timeless classic in my eyes. Stevie Wonder’s famous Songs in the Key of Life is a record that showcases nearly flawless orchestration and the genius that Stevie is.
There are a few obvious songs on here that most people are familiar with, such as ‘Sir Duke’, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’, ‘I Wish’, and ‘Pastime Paradise’. The gems on this album however, go unnoticed. I especially love the song “Ngiculela-Es Una Historia-I Am Singing’ in which he is singing literally in a different language. Stevie’s music brings the listener a certain sense of joy similar to the vibe that Earth Wind & Fire brings.
I never had the pleasure of seeing Stevie Perform live, however, I do have 50+-year-old parents who have. I like to put Stevie in the same musical realm as a Michael Jackson and Prince (may they both rest in peace) but obviously performance-wise they have a different element to them. While Michael will be on stage dancing and singing his ass off and Prince rocks out on his guitar with his band backing him, Stevie has a unique presence to him when he performs, especially because he is blind. My dad told me he saw him perform once with several pianos set up in a circle around him and his chair would swivel around to these different keyboards and he would play each one live. Now that’s pretty damn impressive for anyone, let alone someone who is blind!
Stevie has a condition called synesthesia where he can see sounds as different colors. Plenty of musicians have this as it makes their music more ‘colorful’ but for Stevie to be blind and have this, it makes a lot of sense based on his music. He has been making music practically his entire life and is still performing until this day. Stevie has an incredibly impressive career and his talent cannot go unnoticed.
I do have other vinyls of Stevie’s that have been handed down to me by my parents, but this one is probably his most classic. I need to listen to the others to really appreciate the musician he is, though I feel like I do already.
Take Songs in the Key of Life for a spin below via Spotify: