Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life (Motown, 1976)
Barney Hoskyns, Uncut, 2004
BERRY GORDYS former boy genius already had a string of single-album masterpieces under his belt when he put his signature on summer 76 with this smorgasbord of soulful pop, ghetto funk and luscious black MOR. Sly meets Mozart meets Ellington meets Bacharach as Songs ranges over not just four rollercoaster sides but a bonus EP to boot. From ebullient pop-funk ("I Wish") and chamber-soul lamentation (the Coolio-sampled "Pastime Paradise") to a righteous litany of minority American heroes ("Black Man"): few were the musical forms Wonder didnt completely master in the 70s.
Total word count of piece: 92