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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 20 July 2000
Stevie was involved in a serious car crash and he was also between a divorce and a marriage when he was putting together Fullfillingness' First Finale. It's a fascinating album because rather than the joyful, confident but sometimes heavy-handed preaching on Innervisions and Songs In The Key Of Life, here Stevie is trying to overcome his doubt and hurt brought on by recent events. When he sings 'But I can feel it, feel His spirit' on Heaven Is Ten Zillion Light Years Away it almost seems like he's trying to convince himself, and Too Shy To Say and Creepin' are both tentative but very beautiful love songs, not to mention They Won't Go When I Go, a stunning flipside to You And I. There is still joy here, though, in Smile Please (you will), Bird Of Beauty and about the happiest breakup song I've ever heard, It Ain't No Use.
The melodies here are often slightly lacking, most of the choruses being of the 'sha-la-la' variety, but the arrangements are superb throughout, with Boogie On Reggae Woman being about the funkiest, sexiest track Stevie ever cut. Also, a little of Stevie's practical joke humour comes out - he got the Jackson 5, then the biggest vocal group in the world, in on You Haven't Done Nothin' just to sing 'doo doowop' a few times.
In summary, Talking Book and Innervisions are better but I find this one more interesting and come back to it more often than any other Stevie album.
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VINE VOICEon 31 May 2008
Stevie Wonder had begun his metamorphosis from the teen star to a major and serious artist back in 1971 with "Music of my Mind", where he stretched beyond the boundaries Motown wanted to impose and began to explore the amazing creativity he had. There followed 3 of the most innovative and influential albums of the 70's - Talking Book, Inner Visions and Songs in the Key of Life, each of which could be considered a classic.

Little surprise then that "Fullfillingness...." (which came between Visions and Songs..) has been largely disregarded when critics choose their favourite Stevie Wonder album. That's a shame though, because there are some excellent tracks on display here.

The albums from this phase of Wonder's career always had plenty of variety of mood, with the uptempo and positive rubbing shoulders with the militant and regretful. FFF is no different, opening with "Smile Please" (no prizes for guessing the mood on this one), and a jaunty "Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away", before the wistful "Too Shy..." brings things down tempo. We're back up again with "Boogie On..." , before the mellow "Creepin'" and the funky and angry "You Haven't Done Nothin'", which has a scorching lyric.

"It Ain't No Use" finds Stevie in regretful mood as he says goodbye to his love (would this be the hymn to the end of his marriage to Syreeta?), before "They Won't Go...", which almost comes to a full stop in places, such is the slow tempo. But Stevie Wonder always came across as a positive individual and this reasserts itself at the end of the set, with "Birds Of Beauty", a funky, Latin tinged number, stressing the virtues of a natural high.

You may have heard some of the tracks here, but Wonder's albums always rewarded listening as a whole and this is no exception - Inner Visions remains my favourite, but this runs it close
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on 12 January 2015
When people talk about classic Stevie, most people go for "Songs In The Key Of Life" or "Innervisions" - but, to my mind, they have serious competition in this classic from late-74. It is probably overlooked as there was only 2 singles from it (the excellent funky, stinging Nixon rebuke "You Have n't Done Nothin'", and the cool "Boogie On Reggae Woman"), but every track is a classic. More reflective than "Innervisions" or "Songs", and bit more down-tempo, but there are some real beauties. The opener "Smile Please" is an encouraging, jazzy groover, followed by "Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away" with a great gospel chorus. On the ballad front, "Too Shy To Say" is wonderfully tender and vulnerable, but equally good is the requiem-like "They Won't Go When I Go". There really is nothing bad here, though - I love the catchy "It Ain't No Use", the Minnie Riperton featuring "Creepin", and the joyous finale "Please Don't Go". An excellent addition to any collection, buy it and then Minnie's Perfect Angeland Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta, both of which are equally stunning and made during the same incredible period for Stevie. Brilliant.
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on 15 February 2005
I find it difficult to proclaim anything SW did as 'my favorite' as there is so much to like about most of the stuff he did (particularly during the '70s). However, I must say that this particular album is the one I find myself coming back to time and time again. For me it is the peak of his partnership with Bob Margouleff & Malcolm Cecil, with the depth and intricity of the arranging greater than any of the previous 3 albums they had made together. It was also their final collaberation.
The way he has 2 'mini' Stevies responding to the main vocal line in 'Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away' is absolutely amazing, particularly the way that they continuosly build in volume and intensity until the full gospel choir take over to join Stevie for the chorus. This inovative use in backing vocals continues in 'It Ain't No Use' and 'They Won't Go When I Go'.
In other tunes, he simply has one line of vocals throughout and uses the other instruments to create the interest, particularly (as always) the synthesisers. My favorite use of these artificial sounds is the bass line'Boogie On Reggae Woman', which is constantly in action, playing a very busy part but without interfering. This tune also contains one of Stevie's best harmonica solo - he creates a sound on that thing that just pierces right through your ears - Amazing!
It's very tempting to go through every song in detail, as there's so much to talk about, but my suggestion is that you buy this album and give it several listens, as it might not appeal to you straight away. But once you get it, you can listen to it as many times as you like and you won't ever get bored (and that goes for all of his '70s albums).
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on 15 February 2005
I find it difficult to proclaim anything SW did as 'my favorite' as there is so much to like about most of the stuff he did (particularly during the '70s). However, I must say that this particular album is the one I find myself coming back to time and time again. For me it is the peak of his partnership with Bob Margouleff & Malcolm Cecil, with the depth and intricity of the arranging greater than any of the previous 3 albums they had made together. It was also their final collaberation.
The way he has 2 'mini' Stevies responding to the main vocal line in 'Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away' is absolutely amazing, particularly the way that they continuosly build in volume and intensity until the full gospel choir take over to join Stevie for the chorus. This inovative use in backing vocals continues in 'It Ain't No Use' and 'They Won't Go When I Go'.
In other tunes, he simply has one line of vocals throughout and uses the other instruments to create the interest, particularly (as always) the synthesisers. My favorite use of these artificial sounds is the bass line'Boogie On Reggae Woman', which is constantly in action, playing a very busy part but without interfering. This tune also contains one of Stevie's best harmonica solo - he creates a sound on that thing that just pierces right through your ears - Amazing!
It's very tempting to go through every song in detail, as there's so much to talk about, but my suggestion is that you buy this album and give it several listens, as it might not appeal to you straight away. But once you get it, you can listen to it as many times as you like and you won't ever get board (and that goes for all of his '70s albums).
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 31 December 2015
Great heavens, this is a very fine album!
If like me you sometimes find the brilliant Songs in the Key of Life a tad dry, a touch too meticulous (still terrific though) this is closer to the textured beauties of Talking Book or Innervisions, if less gritty.
The opener Smile Please is quite simply one of Stevie's most original songs, its melody and chord structure memorable, showing the truly creative side of the Wonder genius.
Paul Anka is one of the backing singers on the next track, the typically exuberantly titled Heaven in 10 Zillion Light Years Away. They Won't Go When I Go is a gorgeous, musically intriguing ballad, Bird of Beauty a very enjoyable funky Brazilian-tinged song, the closer Please Don't Go a frantic soul belter that recalls his younger 'Uptight' years, and the two hit singles Boogie On Reggae Woman and the tremendous You Haven't Done Nothin' are just two more great numbers from this hugely underrated, gloriously involving record from 1974 - when Stevie was still only 24.
There isn't a dud track here, and this set of beautifully composed, perfectly arranged, wonderful performed songs is as good an example of Stevie Wonder's uniqueness as anything he's done before or since.

Simply wonderful.
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on 21 February 2013
I'd forgotten the days of enjoying an album, that is playing it all the way through from the first to the last track. It's not something that we do with MP3s and random play and being able to purchase single tracks.

This album is a joy to listen to from beginning to end, and I find myself humming or whistling some its tracks days after listening to it. This is definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
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on 12 February 2014
I purchased this as my original vinyl LP is a little worse for wear. This remastered pressing is simply wonderful especially on a top quality record deck.i have compared the original with the new and setting aside wear the MOFI version is considerably better in all respects.I also have a cd version but I don't think this will ever be played again. MOFI pressings are normally more expensive but the few that I already have are worth the.extra expense. As for music contents this is one of Stevie Wonder's best ever albums with not a bad track.if you like vinyl and Stevie Wonder don't even consider cd.
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on 27 February 2011
I won't review the music as that has been done a zillion times, but will confine my review to the quality of this remaster. For Stevie Wonder fans the Audio Fidelity audiophile remasters are essential, to replace some of those poor-sounding 2000 and 2008 remasters. Audio Fidelity (like other reissue labels XRCD, First Impressions Music, MFSL, etc) do not employ any dynamic compression or stupidly bright EQ, so the resulting CD is usually a delight to the ears. Whilst I really despise bright and compressed masters, I do find the Audio Fidelity issue of 'FFF' to be a little dull at the top end of the frequency range, more so than the Audio Fidelity issues of 'Talking Book' and 'Music Of My Mind.' I think they went just a little overboard when aiming for that classic warm, analogue sound.

Still, it's the best CD version of this album currently available by far. Also gives slightly increased definition when played back in an HDCD player.
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on 15 August 2014
this is one of the best vinyl pressings ever... make sure you get this mobile fidelity sound lab version incase there are others....they did an amazing vinyl pressing of rickee lee jones debut as well. the thing with mobile fidelity sound labs is they press from the original tapes,where a lot of vinyl pressings are from digital master copies,which defeats the whole idea pressing on to vinyl. if ever there was a record that was made to live on in high class vinyl,it's this beautiful stevie record...one of his very best from a peak period.
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