Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1982 Studio Album, 18 April 2006
This review is from: Midnight Love (Audio CD)
The late Marvin Gaye remains one of the most definitive male voices in Soul music. He truly was an utter genius and had such a creative and artistic flair. He remains one of the key influences with todays new generation of wannabe Soul/R&B singers.

In October 1982, Marvin released his first (and his last) studio album for CBS Records, after fleeing from Motown Records in a bid, much like Diana Ross' exact reasons for escaping Motown, for wanting to exert total control over his career, an exercise he was most certainly capable of. The album would be the classic, Midnight Love, which though offered no social commentary or made any sort of profound political statement like much of his previous efforts had, it still stands as a compelling, solid production and a last triumph for the unbeatable legend of soul.

Marvin wrote all 8 songs on the album and also is credited as playing the rolling drum beats, synthesisers and bongos that can eratically be heard throughout each recording. Other highly acclaimed muscians included on the project were Gordon Banks on Guirtars, James Gadson on Drums and Bobby Stern on those neat Harmonica and saxophone interludes. Together they create what amounts too, a pure masterpiece!

The title track, Midnight Love opens the project. Containing multi-layered and complex musical arrangements, the synthesises effect are worked miraculously into a a startling combination of early 80's disco/pop/r&b. The track is a jamming affair with some shrewd vocal trade-offs where Marvin adds his own backing vocals. A nice beginning to the album.

Sexual Healing is perharps one of Marvin Gayes signature tunes. Its a song everyone knows all the words too and has remained refreshingly timeless. The cool, breezy musical arrangements are given startling ignition by Marvins surprisingly sensual, vibrant vocal delivery that blends fantastically well into the state-of-the-art soul production. Sexual Healing became one of his last hits before his untimely and tragic death.

Continuing in vastly the same mood is the sexually charged, Rockin' After Midnight which opens up with a slow, sultry beat that hastily leads into a striking late night, grooving and lush R&B number that is broken up by a glorious saxophone interlude which indeed proves to be a phenomenal instrument on each of these recordings, capturing the intended move perfectly.

Til' Tomorrow, begins with a sluggish drum beat and steers into a tidal wave of musical arrangements, which are enhanced further by Marvins smooth, erotic sounding vocal delivery. He changes his pitch remarkably well through various parts of the track which merley displayed his wide range of impressive and impeccable vocal abilities.

More laid back and sultry was Turn On Some Music where Marvin puts in an exuberant, crystal-clear vocal performance that gels neatly into the overly, well-crafted production. Marvin is in full romantic mood here and his delivery is touchingly genuine and sincere which always was the genius of Marvin Gaye with his straight-from-the-heart approach to his music which is probably why his work remains timeless.

The infectious, Third World Girl opens with bizarre, echoey vocal noises and leads to a flood of musical arrangements that cunningly encapsulates an exotic, Jamaican vibe. Marvins voice is once again enhanced by the customary synthsised effect.

Joy, is something of a mid-tempo masterpiece on the album. Bobby Stern works hard away on that effective tenor sax solo whilst Marvins delivery is truly exhilirating, mastered to utter perfection and merley adds to the over-all, dazzling effect.

Finally the album slowly grinds to a halt with My Love Is Waiting, where on the opening bars of the track, he pays credit to all the producers and muscians involved on the job as well as delivering a short religious ode. This then drives into this infectious offering which is incidentally much of a soundalike to Sexual Healing. Still Marvins passionate and full-throated performance is as refreshing as ever, riding neatly along the divine and sweeping musical arrangements.

Midnight Love (1982) is thriving with Marvin Gayes fire and spirit. His contribution to music was phenomenal and will never be forgotten! Finally after all these years after his death, much of his work is now seeking much wider acknowledgment and recognition. Marvin Gaye remains an unparalled artist.

Ian Phillips
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