City Slang: “Innervisions” revisited

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Back when I was living in England, years ago, a buddy called Alex Kane who had played in the early ‘90s band Life, Sex & Death and now plays with AntiProduct told me in no uncertain words that Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions had saved his life on a number of occasions.

At the time, that made no sense to me. This was the radio-friendly softy soul star of “I Just Called to Say I Love You” fame, the guy that my mom and Aunts like. Non-threatening, and zero passion. Man, how wrong can one man be?

As my obsession with Detroit and, in turn, Motown grew, so did my love for Stevie (although I still detest “I Just Called to Say I Love You”). The more I learned, the more I liked. By the time I found out that he had performed at the “Free John Sinclair” concert, I was fully converted.

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Of course, Innervisions is Wonder’s 16th album, and by the time he recorded it, Motown had been in LA for a year. Still, this is an artist we can call our own on a label bearing our name. Try taking it away from us.

As for the music, it’s exemplary. Personally, I believe this is Wonder’s greatest moment, though that’s arguable. Whatever, from the opening “Too High” through the magnificent “Golden Lady”, the career-defining “Higher Ground” and the frankly perfect “Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing”, this record is without flaws.

If you haven’t played it in a while, go do it NOW.

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