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Talking Book (Reissue)
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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, March 21, 2000
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2011 remastered limited edition vinyl LP of the 1972 original. Wonder follows his two "head" records of 1970-71 with this mix of tender love songs as well as thoughtful political manifestos, thus producing his first real "smash" album. It's tight songwriting, intense electronic arrangements, and moving performances. Shifting away from the Motown sensibility of overusing romantic metaphors, "Talking Book" is clearer-its lyrics more personal and rooted in Wonder's own history-and thusly more open and raw. Interestingly, the biggest hit from the album wasn't a love song at all: "Superstition" is all about replacing hopelessness with political empowerment, a sentiment that is echoed in "Big Brother," another one of Wonder's most politically confrontational songs. The album is the first collated statement of Wonder's career. Motown.
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Like "Music Of My Mind" before it, "Talking Book" finds Stevie Wonder in complete control by writing, producing and performing most of the music himself. His natural songwriting talents combined with the latest technology and his unmistakable vocals make for what is undoubtedly a timeless classic.
Many of the tracks on "Talking Book" have become standards since their initial release including the wonderful "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", "Tuesday Heartbreak", "Blame It On The Sun", "You've Got It Bad Girl" and the driving funk of "Superstition". Elsewhere are stellar moments such as the hard rock of the jamming "Maybe Your Baby", the folkish "Big Brother", the beautifully orchestrated piano ballad "You and I" and the dynamic spiritual closer "I Believe".
Indeed, all 10 tracks that make up "Talking Book" are some of the best music Stevie Wonder has ever made. This isn't just an album to be listened to in sections, it needs to be played from beginning to end. As mentioned above, Stevie has made albums that have equalled "Talking Book", however this album has an extra little added kick that brings it above the others.
Although I've been familiar with the "Talking Book" album since I was born, I'm very happy to say that I finally own this album all these years later.
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Bad quality control!!