14) Talking Book - Stevie Wonder
Another treasure uncovered during my record store days. Stevie Wonder has had quite the storied career, but the man who sang "I Just Called to Say I Love You" is a far cry from the man here.
I didn't know a lot about Stevie before working at the store. People would play his stuff every once in a while (mainly "Songs in the Key of Life"), but the first time I heard "Talking Book", it was stuck on me. It's damn near flawless. From "You are the Sunshine of My Life" to "Maybe Your Baby" to the closer "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)", it's hard to find something wrong.
And then I saw "High Fidelity". And it made me fall in love with "I Believe..." It's one of the most perfect songs ever written. It is. Don't even challenge it. Starting off sweet and delicate with a soaring chorus, and then turning into a pseudo-funk number, its optimism is infectious at the least.
See? It's hard not to feel optimistic about things by the end of the song. Especially love. It's especially interesting once receiving the knowledge that Stevie played EVERY. SINGLE. F'ING. INSTRUMENT. ON IT. It's funny- musicians like Trent Reznor and Prince are called control freaks for wanting to play everything and write everything and oh, what, it's fine now because he's f**king blind? Alright, it is. But rightfully so. In fact, the majority of what you hear on this album is played by Stevie, with a few exceptions- Ray Parker Jr (of "Ghostbusters" fame) plays on "Maybe Your Baby", Jeff Beck shows up, as does David Sanborn and Syreeta Wright.
Sometimes I wonder if there's a way to include Spotify links to albums in these, as you should listen to it. I mean, you don't have to take my word for it.