Could someone explain the appeal of Stevie Wonder? I have never understood his appeal.
He lost his voice 20 or 25 years ago and sounds god awful.
He sings the same 4 or 5 songs over and over and over - like a hack.
His voice was never very good in the first place.
I'm no expert on his music, but he did record a lot of good stuff in the 70s. Then it took him 3 years to put out 1979's "Secret Life Of Plants" which was the beginning of his decline. It's a double-album soundtrack to a little seen documentary, way too long and weird. It looked like he'd lost his marbles, so he bounced back with the straightforward pop album Hotter Than July, but it was all downhill into adult-contemporary swill after that.
The crowd at the Inaugural Ball wasn't responding to him AT ALL. Alicia Keyes also got a subdued reception. I don't know how the crowd reacted to Jamie Fox. I turned down the sound the minute he started to warble. It was a pretty lame line up for entertainment.
R2 has it right...but he seems to have forgotten the '60s. He did some great stuff in the '60s too.
[quote]His voice was never very good in the first place.
I don't agree.
Most pop stars of the 60s & 70s (see all) sound like shit today, but there still seem to be an audience for them, so they keep going and love the applause.
He had some great songs in the 60's and 70's, but for whatever reason, some people find him annoying. I can never find him annoying because of "Innervisions", "Fulfillingness First Finale" and "Songs In The Key Of Life", all amazing, classic albums.
It was all downhill after "Fingertips"
The only thing I find annoying about Stevie Wonder is pedestrian lyrical sensibilities. His chord changes and general musical accomplishments are stellar, but his lyrics are pretty much ridiculous. "Oh so long for this night I prayed
That a star would guide you my way
To share with me this special day
Where a ribbon's in the sky for our love"
Find some quiet time and listen to the songs:
Do I Do
All I Do
My Cherie Amour
Jammin (Master Blaster)
Living for the City
Isn't She Lovely..... I could go on and on and on. Just try it.
Creepin', Golden Lady, Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing, As, Send One Your Love, Until You Come Back To Me (I love his even more than Aretha's great version), You Haven't Done Nothin', Higher Ground -- he is great.
His early 70s albums are all excellent. As others have said, it all went downhill by the end of the 70s.
In 2008, the Obama campaign used "Isn't She Lovely" for Michelle at campaign stops and also at the DNC.
Careful! I hear he trolls the Datalounge!
He was magnificent, OP.
He's just stayed too long at the fair, and his voice is shot.
Also, he hasn't had an interesting new release in 30 years ("Hotter Than July" was the last one).
People still love him, though. It's nostalgia.
And you know...if we wanted to dig down and be truthful, all the same things (shot voice, new material not what the old stuff was) could be said about Stevie Nicks.
'My Cherie Amour' is a pretty cheesy song, but Stevie sounds so lovely in it. He's lost that softer element to his voice, but his keyboard playing live is still terrific.
To deny his genius is ludicrous.
To criticize his declining powers is trivial.
To attend his performances is optional.
To troll post on DL about a man who has contributed so much to the cultural richness of this planet is just pathetic.
"Lovely as a summer day, distant as the Milky Way".
I always loved that line - anyone who's ever been in love with someone unattainable can probably relate.
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" was really insipid and cheesetastic in that 80's MOR pop way. Ditto for the cringeworthy Ebony and Ivory-- co-penned by the equally cheesetastic in the 80's Paul McCartney.
But like McCartney, his early work trumps all the mistakes that came after.
R17's right about the horrible 80s work, but I feel like the kid in red at 0:40 when I hear this song.
Not many people can play live on Sesame Street and still be cool.
He had tremendous help in the '60s from the Motown teams.
He was dragged kicking and screaming in the '70s by producers to funkify his classic albums of the time.
Since the 80s, he's created music his way and the results have shown that.
I F&Fed the OP because he's a flaming freak.
R15 so right.
One of least of his songs is a favorite of mine. Perhaps sentimental, romantic. But this is what falling in love feels like for me. All that hope.
Ooh, don't get me started on Stevie. I ain't nevah gon' forgive him. He promised me his song "Until You Come Back To Me" and I even did a few trial demos for him. The next thing I know, he's gone and given the song to that bitch Hateretha. I just know that Ree Ree probably fucked him for that song. Retha has always been a tramp who's constantly in need of peen. Of course Miss Diane Ross is the queen of FFT but 'Retha Louise ain't too far behind, gurl.
Shit, Stevie. I can't believe that you let me down just for a cheap, nasty ass fuck with Hateretha.
looks like the bridge is cleared for skipping
stevie is just plain-ol-fun guys. when he gets 'happy' there's nothing like it. forget his current vocals, his emotive quality is off the charts.
[quote]He sings the same 4 or 5 songs over and over and over
It works for me.
[quote] He was dragged kicking and screaming in the '70s by producers to funkify his classic albums of the time.
He and Marvin Gaye both fought for control of their work. "Music of My Mind" was Stevie's first album he did that was more self-directed.
Then Innervisions - widely considered one of his best albums, if not his masterpiece - followed. The 70s albums were all Stevie's mark.
He peaked in the 80s, but in his day he was very attractive (he was quite muscular and sexy in the 80s) and he had that beautiful bright voice that was so lovely from when he was young until he was in middle age. And he's a wonderful composer of pop songs.
This song is said to have been a charting single when I would have been a senior in high school (1986), but I had absolutely no knowledge of it until people started using it for American Idol auditions. It's lovely.
It was written for an album in the 70s but not used until years later, which is why it sounds so much better than anything else he created in the 80s.
Yep his voice might not be what it was but there is no denying the legend that he is.
He has also penned some huge hits for other singers, Tell Me Something Good (Rufus & Chaka Khan), Until You Come Back to Me (Aretha)
My favorite from Stevie
Ugh...the ignorance and bad taste...
Stevie Wonder was one of the greatest pop song writers ever. He wrote songs that became Standards. Songs that were sung by everyone from Sinatra and Aretha...on down.
Stop what ever you are doing, and watch the video linked below.
It's Aretha Franklin and Wonder having a ball with his CLASSIC "Til You Come Back to Me".
Franklin released this in 1974. The performance below is 2005. Not ancient history. And they're both in great form.
Everything today is SHIT compared to this:
The only song of his I ever liked was "Part Time Lover". Other than that, I've never cared about him.
he's a blind man that sings and plays piano. most of you cant even scratch your ass and tap your foot with 20/20 vision. of course you dont get it.
R25= woefully ignorant.
I hated his 60s and 70s work and I did not appreciate him until he did I Just Called To Say I Love You, That Girl, and his duet with McCartney (Ebony & Ivory).
"Can I play?!"
This thread is sooo gay.
Also: I don't get this business about Wonder losing it after the 1980s.
So? Does it negate his greatness?
And Irving Berlin... Harold Arlen... Richard Rogers... etc? They all had their time and then years of nothing important.
Paul McCartney? Bob Dylan? They haven't done anything good in decades. Are you really expecting them to? Does that make "Yesterday" and""Like a Rolling Stone" any less great?
I Miss Those Days is my favorite.
It captures to joys of being a kid in a way that makes you want to go back for a day. Brilliant lyrics. Great funky sound.
Here's a lyric video. I dare you to not have a sentimental longing for the mischief and simple joys of youth.
r49. D'oh! I saw that and forgot to change my post. Thanks for the correction.
OP has the musical taste of a 12-year-old girl.
[quote] Also: I don't get this business about Wonder losing it after the 1980s. So? Does it negate his greatness?
Not at all. Very few artists can deliver a masterwork every time.
In our age the thing about a lot of artists (McCartney, Dylan, Joni Mitchell included) is that once you become rich and have a relatively settled life, the things you wrote about before aren't issues any more.
And let's face it, the songs these folks wrote about really important issues in the world, or intense turmoil in their lives, are far more interesting than either (a) happy songs or (b) the maid didn't clean the oven completely songs.
R49/R53, you're welcome. Great song choice!
I love Stevie. He's got soul and can jam on the harmonica.
He was the best part of this song by Jermaine Jackson... his voice is very distinct.
[quote]I hated his 60s and 70s work and I did not appreciate him until he did I Just Called To Say I Love You, That Girl, and his duet with McCartney (Ebony & Ivory).
Oh, dear...gays have AWFUL taste in music.
Music threads on DL are depressing to read.
You cherry-picked the one comment that said Wonder's 80s crap was his best work, and then declared all gay people to have bad taste? Stupid.
I recall an article in the LA Times back in the 80s that wondered if black artists get a pass no matter how treacly their songs.
That if a white guy got so sugary, critics would nail him to a post.
Could someone explain the appeal of being an asshole? I have never understood the appeal.
I like Stevie's original version of Until You Come Back To Me, it's a little more melancholy than Aretha's.
[quote] black artists get a pass no matter how treacly their songs.
Sounds like bullshit. Stevie has gotten tons of criticism for some of his sappier songs.
Stevie Wonder is before my generation, but I was exposed to "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer" while watching Janet Jackson IN Poetic Justice as a babygay (I know, I know) and I still think it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.
If I was given the gift of song, and I most certainly was not, I'd sing that song all the time.
Prior to his sappy 80s period he was the greatest musical genius of the 20th century. Don't flame on me, people. That's just MY opinion. I have been a Stevie fan since 1970.
Although I can listen to some of his stuff, usually earlier stuff, with indifference, there are other songs of his that I cannot stand at all--too sappy, maudlin and saccharine. So overall I'd say OP has a good enough question although there are worse singers and songwriters.