I sometimes forget this wasn`t Stevie Wonder`s debut album. In fact, it was his fourteenth! It`s just that it was the beginning of something - for Stevie, for us, and for music itself.
Whenever I think of this man`s music, despite his political and environmental concerns, which came to the fore more with each succeeding release, I think of a sunlit, richly textured, warmly sung and played world of music that communicates with passionate immediacy. If I may be fanciful, Wonder has always worn his musical heart on his sleeve. He`s less subtle musically than label-mate Marvin Gaye, say, or Al Green. By that, I simply mean that his music can be grasped at first hearing; embraced wholeheartedly in fact.
It seems pointless to go through each track on this glorious album. Like so many of his 70s records, it sounds all of a piece - almost as if he and his musicians (who must have been a meagre group, as he plays most of the instruments himself) went into the studio and just played for hours until they had an album. We`re in overdub city, but nothing sounds at all contrived, quite the opposite. MOMM is one of the most organic sets of songs I`ve heard. It`s all good, as they say.
Some of these songs are so full of sunlight, bursting positive energy, and Stevie`s
own brand of pop-soul sweetness, that it would be impossible to hear them and not feel a little better about life. To me, he has always possessed more real `soul` in his voice than Michael Jackson, or any of his soundalikes, and is far less mannered too.
This is, to my mind, virtually as good as any of the celebrated albums that followed, and musically more successful than the rather overrated, less spontaneous Songs In The Key Of Life - not that I don`t like the latter, but I play it much less often than MOMM.
Happier than the morning sun? I am when I play this joyous disc.