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4.8 out of 5 stars
That's the Way of the World
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon January 29, 2001
Format: Audio CD
That's The Way Of The World was the soundtrack to film that featured a young Harvey Keitel as a record producer and Earth, Wind & Fire as a band with big potential. The band is dropped in favor of what record company executives feel was more commercial group and they gone on to major success. The film mirrored EWF themselves as the album propelled them to the top of the charts. After several years of moderate success despite making excellent records, this soundtrack album showed all the band's talents and mixing of jazz, soul, funk and positive themes. "Shining Star" opens the album with a pumping beat that set it up to the number one position of the charts. The title track starts off with a slow, smooth beat and then erupts into a harmony-fueled explosion. "All about Love" has some jazzy elements while "Africano" explores some world rhythms. "Yearnin', Learnin'" is an underrated song in their catalog and "Reasons" is a powerful ballad. That's The Way Of The World tanked at the box office and was quickly forgotten, but the album hit number on the charts and made EWF superstars.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2005
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Though it's not the stellar mind-blowing sound of the two SACD live albums "Gratitude" and "...Alive in '75", this remaster is much richer aurally. In comparison the regular CD version sounds harsh and has less fidelity at higher frequencies. The SACD version reminds me a lot of the sound quality from a very good LP setup.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album was originally a soundtrack for a long forgotten film. In fact I have never seen the film. However, the songs have been quite the opposite - unforgettable classics.
Earth Wind and Fire have always been extremely talented musicians and posses amazing vocal harmonies. What is not always realized is just how out in front they were with combining the elements of jazz, and horns, infused into smooth R&B dance tracks and ballads.
This CD contains some of their best work - namely the songs "Shining Star" and "That's the Way of the World". Both are classics and are worth the price on their own.
The additional, previously unreleased, tracks are excellent, with my only complaint that they are too short. Of particular interest is the track "Caribou Chaser (Jazzy Jam)", which showcases the ability of this band to play jazz with the best of them.
Most everything they released from the early 70's through the mid-80's is simply classic music from one of the best bands ever. Now that these great albums are being re-released with extra bonus tracks, its time to revisit them again.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
...from consistent playing as a youth. Even as I listen to the songs today on CD, I remember parts in each song where the record would skip. I didn't own a whole lotta records back then so I intimately knew each song. EWF was always more spiritual than political in their approach to songwriting and at the same time they seem to be embraced by the party people who may have missed the message in their music.
In the 'hood where I grew up, everyone digged EWF; blacks, Latinos, Samoans, you name it. "Reasons" was THE slow jam to slow dance to with the girl you liked. But the one song I played over and over was "Happy Feelin'". I was just drawn to that funky new instrument, the kalimba, that was solo'd in the song's choruses. And it was an up-tempo number that you could boogie to (that was the term we used back then).
This album is a must-have if you are serious about collecting R&B/soul music from the 70s. It catches them at a time before they too fell into the trap of commercialism.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This album is a certified classic, ...this album is very much on par with Stevie Wonder's best 70's material. From the opening lines of "Shining Star" to the last note (a beautiful falsetto by Philip Bailey)on "See the Light", this soundtrack helped to define what R&B and Funk was all about while beginning one of the greatest and most influential periods in music history.
Maurice White is a true musical avatar, like Stevie, he was able to blend several different types of musical influences while maintaining an underlying African foundation upon which he built such masterpieces as "That's the Way of the World", "Yearnin Learnin" and one of my personal favorites "Africano".
The Elements are, without question, one of the greatest musical forces at any point in music history and my favorite band of all time. Soaring vocals, majestic melodies & harmonies, outstanding musicianship and awesome lyrics are what made Earth, Wind and Fire a group not just for the 70's but for all ages.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"That's The Way Of The World" finally nailed down the formula which had been developing in Earth, Wind And Fire's sound over their last two albums; the result was a massively successful #1 smash that spawned several hit singles. The album basically takes the premise of side one of "Open Our Eyes"--alternating uplifting funk rockers with slow ballads--stretches it through the length of both sides, and adds a sheen of production polish through the use of sweeping string arrangments. The results include all of the group's finest singles ("Shining Star", the title track, "Yearnin' Learnin'"), the best instrumental since "Power" ("Africano") and a majestic closing number "See The Light" which features some great harmonies and keyboard work. The overall sound is uplifting, slightly mystical, highly commercial and completely definitive. If any complaint can be lodged against TTWOTW, it is that it also marks the beginning of an increasing slickness which would eventually steer itself toward disco as the decade progressed; funkmeister George Clinton railed against this sound with good reason, but at least on this album the formula is still largely on the safe side of the funk/disco divide.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album made earth wind and fire a pop group. Shining Star, That's the way of the world and reasons are hot. However, the songs are just as good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album is a certified classic, I don't know what the editorial reviewer of this album, Rickey Wright, was thinking or listening to. THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD is very much on par with Stevie Wonder's best 1970's material & was a natural progression of the wonderful soundtracks of the early to mid 1970's for black films Sweetbacks Badass Song, "Shaft", "Superfly" & "Trouble Man" amongst others. But it would make sense he would say that in his reviews seeing as how he's biased towards british bands who overall took their queues from many of the classic R&B acts of the 1950's 1960's & 1970's. Stevie himself admitted that he borrowed from the innovative groove & majesty of the Elements!

This album is really the 3rd of their albums from their most experimental & creative period (the first being "Head To The Sky" & the 2nd being "Open Our Eyes" in my opinion) and is the first of what I consider their 6 masterpieces. The other 5 were "Gratitude"; "Spirit"; "All N All"; "I AM" and "Faces". This album was also the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, i have the movie & it's actually a nice film about the seedy side of the music industry. Earth, Wind & Fire only have a few lines in the film as a whole but their musical performances are brilliant as always & Maurice White's production as flawless as ever! You really get to see what made them so great in the clips where they are in studio warming up and recording and how they translated that to live performances.

From the opening lines of "Shining Star" to the last note (a beautiful falsetto by Philip Bailey) on "See the Light", this soundtrack helped to define what R&B, Funk and World Music was all about while solidifing one of the greatest and most influential periods in music history. From this point on, the band would be a truly world wide phenomenon and put them on par with the greatest bands in history. They would become the first black band to have the kinds of success both on the charts and on the road that their white couterparts and contemporaries where enjoying.

Maurice White is a true musical avatar, like Stevie, he was able to blend several different types of musical influences while maintaining an underlying African foundation upon which he built such masterpieces. "Shining Star" is a musical tour de force with one of the funkiest guitar solo's you'll ever here. "That's the Way of the World" is the bands theme song with such incredible lyrical content. "Happy Feelin" & "Yearnin Learnin" allow the band to show off the reason why their the baddest funk & roll band of all time. and one of my personal favorites "Africano" shows off the elements great instrumental prowess.

The Elements are, without question, one of the greatest musical forces at any point in music history and my favorite band of all time. Soaring vocals, majestic melodies & harmonies, outstanding musicianship and awesome lyrics are what made Earth, Wind and Fire a group not just for the 70's but for all ages.

When you wish upon a star, your dreams will take you very far yeah.......
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This album is the first record that I ever remember buying. It is still my favorite album of all time, by any artist. It pushed the boundaries of rock and R&B in 1975. I have owned five copies of this album. The first three were vinyl and I just simply wore them out (using a very expensive and gentle turntable, mind you! I just played them ALL the time!). The last two were CDs, and the current one is this version with the extra tracks.
"Shining Star" started it all for me with EWF. From the first time I heard that song on the radio, I was hooked! I was the first white kid at my high school to become a fanatic of EWF, but I wasn't the last! "TTWOtW" still gives me chills when I hear it. It's one of those memorable songs that you never tire of and every note evokes great memories. "See the Light" is still one of my favorites with its beautiful sweeping synth. Maurice's voice on "All About Love" makes you glad that he changed his mind in the early years of EWF in that he originally didn't want to sing, and just wanted to sit in the back of the band and play drums!
There's not a bad performance on this CD. It is truly a masterpiece and the added tracks (original, unreleased sketches which give an alternative preview into the early formations of several songs) are icing on the cake. "TTWOtW" still sounds as innovative today as it did the first day I brought it home in 1975. That's the definition of a classic -- an album which is valued by it's ability to sound as fresh and inventive today as it did over a quarter century ago. This was the end of the era where talent was required to win a recording contract, and EWF was absolutely LOADED with talent! Unfortunately, I fear that there will never be another group with the talent level of EWF.
The later years of EWF were good, but this is the finest album EVER by EWF and places itself alone in musical history as a lifetime achievement by an extraordinary group of musicians.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
To be honest, I don't own the remastered version of this CD with the added tracks. This review is based on the original album, which I have owned in vinyl and CD form. I couldn't find the original CD on amazon.com (I assume it's out of print), so I'm putting my comments here. I'm doing this because I love the original album.
Earth Wind & Fire was a unique and wonderful funk/rock/jazz band of the 1970s that made several very good albums, but this, in my opinion, was their musical high point. Unlike their later albums, which were more disco-y and commercial, this one managed to be musically serious yet catchy and accessible at the same time. They successfully combined the pop funk sensibility of groups like the Ohio Players and Sly and the Family Stone with a jazz-influenced instrumental sophistication all their own.
"Shining Star" and "Yearnin, Learnin" are strong funky grooves that make you want to dance. "All About Love" and "Reasons" are very different but sentimental ballads. "Africano" and "See the Light" are melodically infectious funk/jazz numbers. "Happy Feelin" is an upbeat ode to life featuring Caribbean kalimba music. But my favorite song is the title track, "That's the Way of the World," a mid-tempo groove featuring sharp lead guitar work as well as lead vocal. This CD definitely stands the test of time as a classic of its era.
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