Coming as it did after "There's a Riot Goin' On", who knew what was in store for the listener. After huge success, Sly had retreated from the world. When he came back,he had ditched the optimistic stance that had brought him popular acclaim, and a multi racial audience, and moved firmly into a Funk groove, and a very dark vision of the world. So would he do more of the same, or try to reclaim some of the audience he had lost, would he retreat deeper into the depression that appeared to overtake him, or had he got another surprise in store.
As it turns out, he developed the Funk. With "Fresh" you still get social comment, and Sly's fatalistic view, but the overall tone of the album is not as relentlessly dark as "Riot...". There are monster Funk grooves at every turn: the opener "In Time" is driven by a burbling bassline, with punctuating horns and a guitar riff that appears to come from a different song. "If You Want me to Stay" was a successful single release, featuring that Bass again, but this time the horns are well back in the mix and an organ and an electric piano fight it out up front. Stand out tracks also include "Skin I'm In", where a defiant Sly whoops and wails, and the truly unexpected "Que Sera Sera".
Together with "Riot" and "Stand", this album represents the peak of Sly Stone's output. He was a huge musical influence, particularly on Black Music, just listen to early Commodores or the Ohio Players. That he fell into a commercial slump within a couple of years after the release of this album was something of a mystery, but this album deserves your attention if you are a music fan and is essential if you love the FUNK