5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful Stevie Wonder retrospective collection,
This review is from: Song Review: A GREATEST HITS COLLECTION (Audio CD)
Stevie Wonder ~ Song Review is rightly billed as "A Greatest Hits Collection." This is by no means THE Stevie Wonder Greatest Hits Collection, although there are certainly many of Stevie's truly classic recordings included here. This two-CD collection really serves as a retrospective on the first 35 years of Stevie's career, and I think it serves its intended purpose very well by making room for some of Stevie's less familiar yet brilliant recordings, although the absence of such great tracks as Fingertips Part 2, For Once in My Life, and Isn't She Lovely is noticeable. I consider myself a big Wonder fan, and there are songs here I had never heard before. When you look at all of Stevie's biggest hits, the ballads are somewhat overshadowed by the funky, toe-tapping, energetic tracks, and this collection restores some of the balance, touching on all of the many facets of Wonder's musical genius.
The one aspect of this collection I would question is the arrangement of the 31 songs, as there is hardly any consistency to it, and this gives birth to some odd transitions. No matter what order the songs are played, though, you will not find anything less than a five-star song in this bunch (even though Hey Love is one of the few Stevie songs I really don't care for). You get early Stevie frenetic classics such as I Was Made to Love Her, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours, and Uptight; funkadelic standouts such as Superstition, Master Blaster (Jammin'), Living For the City, That Girl, and Boogie on Reggae Woman; and unforgettable ballads such as I Just Called to Say I Love You, My Cherie Amour, Ribbon in the Sky, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, and Send One Your Love. The only way I can classify some of my favorites is by calling them songs no one but Stevie could ever have written or performed: Sir Duke, Higher Ground, and Do I Do. Ebony and Ivory, Stevie's wildly successful duet with Paul McCartney, is a welcome addition to the fold, as are the tracks Part-Time Lover and the exquisitely beautiful ballad Overjoyed from Stevie's 1995 In Square Circle album. The best of the best, though, in my opinion, are the emotionally striking All I Do and the magnificent I Wish. If I Wish doesn't get your blood flowing and at least some part of your body moving with the beat, you are in dire straits indeed.
I really wasn't familiar with several of the later songs included here, and I am indeed thankful to this collection for introducing them to me. You Will Know, These Three Words, and Kiss Lonely Good-bye are just exquisite, while the two final tracks, Hold On To Your Dream and Redemption Song, are as inspirational as they are lyrically delightful. If all you are looking for are Stevie's chart-topping hits, there are other collections that will meet your requirements much better than Song Review will, but if you want a truly representative collection of songs that clearly touches upon all facets of Stevie's wide-ranging skills and showcases his mastery of all manner of song styles, then this collection may be just what you are looking for. The liner notes, while not extensive, also do a great job of explaining Stevie Wonder's musical prowess, as he is much, much more than a singer/songwriter/keyboardist.