2 LP’s + 1 Bonus 7”
Millions of Dollars spent
If there is a 50+ year old that has not listened to this record or at least one of the 21 songs I am not aware of it. How a 21 track album can make Tondo’s Top 100 List records you can hear over and over again it’s a mystery, but Songs in the Key of Life does not tip toe its way into my list, rather it breaks the door down and reaches near the top.
For the listeners who are not Americans, or that do not fully understand it’s lyrics “Songs in the Key of Life” remains a beautiful record filled with amazing melodies, great arrangements and instrumentally superior, but for those who understand, follow or care about the lyrics it’s clear that Stevie Wonder had two very separate albums in mind, one about Love, the other about Social Protest and a scathing commentary on the State of America during those times of Civil unrest, drug use and rampant poverty in the black community.
For the sake of this review I will stay clear of politics and social commentary, however it must be said that here we are in 2022, and this record released in 1976 is as relevant today as it was 46 years ago.
As for me, the first time I heard this was through my older brother Adriano. He came home with it and that night we stayed up late listening it to it over and over. The record came with a huge lyric’s booklet and we took the time to translate it by hand, word for word. At times we did understand the context of the lyrics, like in “Sir Duke” with lyrics such as:
For there’s Basie, Miller, Satchmo
And the king of all, Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose
At the time I was clearly not aware of Duke Ellington’s immense contribution to music, let alone of his passing in 1974, but as I grew older I began to better understand the gentle soul of Stevie Wonder, his sensitivity and gained an appreciation for all 21 of these songs and throughout my life I have played this record in its entirety easily 100+ times.
From beginning to the end not a single “filler” song, perfectly arranged and composed by Stevie Wonder.