Friday, September 28, 2018

#338 - Todo Está Bien Chévere

   Stevie Wonder is one of three musicians that fall into a very unique category for me.  Willie Nelson and Billy Joel are the other two.

   They each have the distinction of being artists that I didn't care for (borderline hated) in my younger days.

   And, before I move on, I have no idea what genre to tag this one with.  A solid argument could be made for about 5 or 6 different ones.  I settled on R&B.

   Willie Nelson's voice was too warbly and inconsistent.  His guitar picking was, fairly speaking, pretty outstanding and yet simplistic.  Is he folk? Is he country?  Many years later, with all of the covers he released, is he Pop?  His lyrics, safely said, were on par with his generation.
The Man...
   Billy Joel was a caricature of a musician.  He wasn't a visionary, he wasn't an outstanding vocalist.  He was, in all fairness, a phenom of a piano player.  But, hey, a piano is not guitar and it didn't resonate with me back then.  And his lyrics, too, were on par with his generation.
The Myth...
   Stevie Wonder was the punchline for a bunch of offensive blind jokes (I'm a straight, white, southern male from the 80's, remember?) His music was roller-rink, couples-only fodder.  His harmonica playing, if I'm being honest, was exemplary and usually the only thing that perked my ears enough to stop me from what I was doing to listen for a few seconds.
The Legend.
   His lyrics, though...his lyrics were beyond anything and everything his generation was producing.

   Problem is, I didn't grow up in the 70's and, therefore, was not influenced by those lyrics until much later in life.

   And, in keeping with the tradition I've set forth thus far in these early posts, this song is a terrible example of that point:

Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing (1974)
Innervisions
Stevie Wonder
The Lyrics
   "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" is the first of two Stevie Wonder songs that will grace this list.  I don't know that there is anything all that groundbreaking with his lyrics here.  But, that sound!  There's so much going inside there!

   The next Stevie song is THE song that led me to start listening to his music a couple of years ago.  We'll revisit that topic next July.  Those lyrics are some that we'll get into a bit deeper.

   Honestly, this particular song might not have even made the list had it not been for Tori Kelly's version from the recent children's movie, Sing.  Somehow, I had never really listened to the words until a kid movie slowed it down and caught my ear.



   Since then, if you catch me somewhere in the last 4-5 miles of my trip to work every Friday morning, you'll see the windows rolled down and hear the Stevie version pumping out the windows of my car.  This song has become my, "Come on...only 1 more day to go!" song.

   It's been several years now since I've come to appreciate and love Stevie Wonder's music, just as I have the Red Headed Stranger's and the Piano Man's.


BONUS VIDEO!
One of the best episodes of James Corden's Carpool Karaoke!

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