The singles alone: "Sir Duke", "I Wish", and "Isn't She Lovely" are enough to warrant purchasing this extravaganza, "As" is an unfathomably funky tour de force, seven minutes of unadulterated groove. This is an amazing love song for those who want to show their love without syrupy ballads! "Black Man" another funk masterwork is eight and a half minutes of groove while educating the listener on all the inventions and groundbreaking contributions to society which were done by non-whites throughout history, but it even throws in a few white accomplishments, as well. "Pastime Paradise" is a great black empowerment song about working to improve the African Americans' experience by: "Living for the future". Not to mention, the melody will be recognizable to a younger generation via Coolio who appropriated the song for his huge hit "Gangster's Paradise". "Contusion" takes funk to the jazz instrumental end, while "Village Ghetto Land" is another installment in the vain of "Big Brother" or "Living For The City", giving the non-inner city American an understanding of life in the harsh poor neighborhoods of America, where you not only hear the lyrics, the listener feels the life in the music. Ok, "Village Ghetto" is not quite of the power of "Living For The City", but it still really hits the listener in the gut, nonetheless. Lest I forget to mention, on all but a few tracks on this 2 CD, originally 3 LP set, Stevie Wonder plays every, yes EVERY instrument!
The album was not only a masterwork for the listener, it was even acknowledged by the public and the Grammys, being the #1 selling album of the year and sweeping multiple Grammys. One of the few times when Grammys and best sellers went to true musical work of genius! Unfortunately, he released only one more great album, "Hotter Than July", before he descended into cheesy ballad, pop song commercial work, that next to Songs In The Key Of Life and Talking Book sound trite and influenced by other lesser artists rather than Wonder being the influential ground breaker.
For those unaware of 1970's Stevie Wonder who think of "I Just Called To Say I Love You", "Part Time Lover", or "My Cherie Amour" as the standard Stevie Wonder songs, it is time to be enlightened to some of the best music the 1970's or any period of music has to offer. Wonder wrote some of the best topical, most influential songs of all time and so many of them are here in Songs In The Key Of Life, named so because he poured his heart and soul into every note and he still thinks of it as his definitive statement!