a dream I had about meeting Stevie Wonder

I don’t know where we were; it seemed like the eatery area of a shopping mall; but I was with Jamel when I saw him. “That’s Stevie Wonder,” I said aloud as I approached him. He looked skinnier and younger than he is in real life, but, at first sight, I was convinced it was him.

He was standing behind a counter like a cashier would if it really were a shopping mall as I greeted him hand to hand; something I almost certainly wouldn’t have done in real life. He had a big smile on his face; I remember his sunglasses and dreadlocks; as I showered him with praise.

I was like a typical zealous fan, telling him how much of a “legend” he was, and he seemed to appreciate it. That is until I told him, rather Jamel and the sparse spread of strangers around us, that he was “one of the big three”, listed the order and pointed out that he was “number two”.

I meant it as a compliment, meaning that, in some hyperbolic blarneying 1980s-throwback way, he was the second best or at least biggest music icon in the world, but he seemed to take it as a bit of a gibe as if I was emphasizing the fact that he wasn’t the best.

I started with number three; Prince; then named himself as number two as he continued to smile. It’s not until I apologized to “Mister Wonder”; something else I probably wouldn’t have done in real life; and said that Michael Jackson was number one that he seemed to take umbrage.

Perhaps it was the way the people around us; I remember unwittingly standing in the way of a freakishly tall guy after all this; reacted when I said it, like the crowd at a rap battle when one rapper lands a devastating insult to his opponent, that made Stevie jump to his own defense.

He wasn’t actually angry or upset, at least he didn’t seem to be, but neither was he smiling as big as he’d been until then. I don’t even remember what he said, but the gist was less how dare I say he’s not the best and more a stern declaration that he is, indeed, the best.

I mentioned what I probably wouldn’t have done in real life and I doubt Stevie Wonder would’ve really argued with me even if he disagreed. He seems humble enough and he and Michael Jackson were Good Friends, so he probably would’ve just laughed or made a joke about it.

2021 ( July 19 )

audio review : You Will Know ( song ) … Stevie Wonder

For this ballad, Stevie Wonder plays the role of Jesus Christ. You Will Know, The Lord sings in reply to the prayers of his troubled believers, “Trust and I will show.”

Perhaps it’s merely a metaphor to say that “problems have solutions”, but the vocal melodies sound about as soothing and reassuring as any good gospel song.

my rating : 4 of 5

1987

audio review : Characters ( album ) ... Stevie Wonder

audio review : Conversation Peace ( album ) … Stevie Wonder

audio review : Conversation Peace ( album ) ... Stevie Wonder

“The conversation is peace,” Stevie Wonder insists. He’s talking about world peace; a utopian state in which problems like poverty and war don’t exist. It’s an unrealistic fantasy. Human nature doesn’t work that way, but Stevie Wonder is a visionary, so he continues to spread benevolent messages thru music.

If you’re listening for the magic melodies of past albums, you’re in for a disappointment. These songs; meticulously produced, sometimes to the point of bloatedness; are mostly inferior. Exceptions include Robins Will Sing and Cold Chill, both of which serve as worthy additions to the Stevie Wonder song archive.

my rating : 3 of 5

1995

audio review : Jungle Fever [ Music From The Movie ] ( album ) … Stevie Wonder

audio review : Jungle Fever [ Music From The Movie ] ( album ) ... Stevie Wonder

Songs From The Movie would be a better subtitle as Stevie Wonder not only provides the music to Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever but also the vocals. This is, in effect, a Stevie Wonder album. That it’s also presented as the official soundtrack to the movie, which it also is, undermines that fact. The singer should’ve let the director have the title track, which is the worst song anyway, and save the others for himself. A new Stevie Wonder album with no connection to a movie would make more sense, especially considering it’s been four years since his previous one.

Characters doesn’t sound this good though. From the very first song, a summer bop entitled Fun Day, Stevie Wonder parades his knack for composing wonderful vocal melodies. The not-so-obvious drawback is that the verses sometimes outshine the hooks; Queen In The Black is probably the best example; when it should be the other way around. If She Breaks Your Heart, the lead vocals of which are actually provided by Kimberly Brewer; Stevie Wonder is no homo; gets it right though. Make Sure You’re Sure, a romantic jazz ballad, is gorgeous.

my rating : 4 of 5

1991