Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sorry to be AWOL; I conked out early. Musta needed a day off. We're here, I swear!
glisten: Blue CD 7

13. Stevie Wonder - "Girl Blue"

Juan - Two things wrong with this song: there is a kind of robotic voice on the first chorus, and is that the Yamaha dx7 horrible signature sound? Other than that, great Stevie Wonder song.

Admittedly, that synth warble is all kinds of Velveeta. Somehow it blends with Stevie's vocoder vocals in such a way that makes me think of a Motowned-out Daft Punk.
That's good. Leastways I think so.

Brian - Old Stevie Wonder, before bad things started to happen to him (can any explain exactly what happened to him? When did he start to be…well…bad? Lackluster?). Funk, funk, funkity funk funk. This is aqua blue. Blue love, like a summer rainstorm washing all the bad things away.

I'm champing at the bit to hear Stevie's new album A Time 2 Love. It's been delayed several times (the current rumour has it he's adding tracks to memorialize Brother Ray) and he backed out of a promotional concert at Bryant Park for Good Morning America that I was gonna go see come hell or high water (it was cancelled due to the coverage for Reagan's death).

I wouldn't call Stevie's more recent work "lackluster" necessarily (tho' the 'Jungle Fever' soundtrack was a bit of a stinker). It's certainly not on par with the period when he produced tracks like THIS, of course... but there's some gold in that straw if you take your time.

Rob - Almost sounds like prog rock i.e. early genesis with Stevie Wonder vocals ('Invisible Touch', indeed!). I'm not that enthused on the first listen, but maybe being in an altered state of mind could make it all make sense. Or it could just be messed up =)

Pastor - I don't know - this one left me kind of flat. If I were driving in my car, it wouldn't be bad enough to force me to change the station, but I probably wouldn't actively listen to it either.

Stevie's experimenting with trippy pop, getting ready for a half a decade of nonstop brilliance.

Buy "Music of My Mind", Stevie's '72 breakthrough to conscious RnB.
Make no mistake; this is just a warmup for the flood that was on the way ("Talking Book", "Fulfillingness' Final Finale", "Innervisions" and "Songs in the Key of Life" would be on the way in less than FOUR YEARS) but this offers a few great tracks too.
Other faves off this one include "Evil", "Sweet Little Girl" and "Love Having You Around".
Actually, now that I'm looking at the tracklist, I wanna break this one back out. Hella good.
Explore this excellent Stevie fansite.
Read this incredible Stevie Wonder interview... conducted by Kermit the Frog!
Read this selective, opinionated and interesting annotated discography.


14. Suzanne Vega - "Small Blue Thing"

Juan - Sorry, doesn't do it for me."I am cool and smooth and curious, I never blink"?? Don't come close to me!

Brian - Ah, nostalgia. For some reason, I always think of Lloyd Cole when I hear Suzanne Vega. No good reason. Perhaps it’s a time and place thing. It’s too bad people still only think of Luka or Tom’s Diner when it comes to Ms. Vega. She crafted some beautiful and haunting songs. Delicate and lovely. This is one of those songs. Perfectly grey afternoon. (your perfect blue raincoat?)

Rob - Great voice and the poetic lyrics really make the song for me. The minimalistic guitar with fills suits the song well and keeps with the tone.

Pastor - The song is pretty enough but personally I'm not a big fan of 'I am a [blank] and this is how I see the world' type stuff. Mediocre coffee house fare with synthesizers (which sound a little dated to my ears).

What can I say? I'm a sucker for Suzanne Vega. It's part nostalgia and part appreciation for a sweet soft voice.

Buy "Suzanne Vega", her eponymous '85 first release, from Amazon.
Explore Vega's excellent homepage, overflowing with soundsamples.
Read this interview with Suzanne.

I absolutely refuse to say die on this Sufjan concert review.
As John Holmes was known to remark: It'll come, it'll come.
Better get cracking on my writing.