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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2004
The result of a musical genius at his creative peak, "Songs In The Key Of Life" is a sprawling masterpiece, and Stevie Wonder's magnum opus. However, no grand words or superlatives can really do this album justice... the songs speak for themselves.
For an album of such stature and brilliance, there are surprisingly few 'famous' tracks. Of these, 'Sir Duke', 'I Wish' and 'Isn't She Lovely' are the most well-known, but merely represent the songs that were released as singles and hence into the mainstream. In reality, this album is far wider in scope than these three songs only hint at.
Stevie Wonder explores his creative and musical limits here, and executes his ideas with considerable aplomb. Quite frankly, there is not a bad song on the entire album, and there are simply too many highlights to single out for distinction. Suffice it to say that there is an example (and a good one at that) of every facet of Stevie's musical ability here.
But it's not just the music and vocal acrobatics that are outstanding, but also the lyrical content of the songs. Stevie Wonder has often been labelled, somewhat unfairly, as being too sentimental. However, this album represents a hugely powerful retort to his critics, with some really meaningful lyrics. Tackling issues such as race relations ('Pastime Paradise' and 'Black Man') to social deprivation ('Village Ghetto Land') and depression/suicide ('Have A Talk With God'), these are not lightweight, throw-away pop tunes by any stretch of the imagination. But the real skill in his songwriting ability lies in the way that you are always left with a feeling of hope from his songs. Maintaining a positive attitude throughout, without pandering to the over-sentimental (most of the time), "Songs In The Key Of Life" is an uplifting and beautiful collection of songs worthy of a special place in any record collection.
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on 10 August 2001
What can you say about this album that hasn't already been said in all these reviews.This masterpiece is nothing if not a mammoth musical journey through the mind of a man fit to burst with wonderful music! He is a visionary and,yes there are perhaps one or two songs that don't necessarily cut the mustard but then I've never one single album where every song does.You need to take those weaker songs for the message they convey,every song on this album conveys a message,there are no soppy love song fillers here (the love songs that are here are beautiful,heartfelt songs). This album displays Stevie's prodigious talent as a melodist better than any other.Every tune is hummable,memorable,above all musical! It is this allied to his no less incredible ear for harmonic invention that draws me to this work time and again. It is the outpouring of a man at the height of his powers,it simply put never got better than this. The quality of the songs is highlighted by the fact that this album really does still sound fresh 25 years after its inception (the secret to the lasting success of any album), even the now very dated synthesised sounds (many of them pioneered on this album ) don't sound intrusive because they are used very tastefully. Add to that the fact that,on most of these tracks Stevie plays nearly everything from Harmonica to kit(and then layers it) you get an idea of just what his achievement was here. Alongside various albums by the Beatles,Beach Boys,Marvin Gaye,Led Zeppelin etc.etc, this one must take its place amongst the 20th century's greats,even with all its indulgences {longer tracks than you might normally expect to hear), and its more idealist, less musically satisfying songs. Stevie sees more of our World and reflects on it more poignantly than most of us can with our eyesight intact, isn't that alone good enough reason to purchase this album? ( PS, if you can ,get the version with the extra tracks ,definitely worth hearing the dirty funk of "All day sucker" and the mellow beautiful "Easy goin evening".)
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on 19 November 2003
I was only 2 when this was first released on vinyl and I'm still playing it 25yrs later.
In a time when most albums we buy are over processed, heartless, easily forgotten junk, isn't it time you treated yourself to something that's not only greatly pleasurable to the ear but can take you through every emotion known to man. You feel every word on SITKOL as if being told to you by some wise member of your family whom you love intensley.
I'm tired of forking out hard earned cash for lack luster albums with 3 out of 14 good tracks on them. I'm tired of skipping to my favourites because the rest are mostly annoying. You can't do that with this album! I've yet to hear such a spiritually satisfying mix of music on one album. Every song is a beautiful masterpiece that takes you on a journey.
No life is complete without this album! It's quite simply lifes greatest soundtrack. It's also an education in humanity!
Buy it and feel it's power!
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on 31 March 2009
In 1976 at the ripe old age of 14, I saved all my pennies to buy this album and played it over and over until it was completely worn out. Needless to say 33yrs on I have it on CD. In fact I have bought it many times on CD, for the car, the children, and friends.

My three children were brought up on Songs in the Key of Life, it was always playing in the kitchen, subsequently all of their friends who came for dinner were introduced to the album, especially my son's, who as impressionable 16 yr olds were only keen to listen to gangster rap or heavy metal. I am happy to say that on his recent trip to the UK a great many of them attended his concerts and are now completely hooked

...Yes it's a masterpiece, but it's also a great way of teaching, your children and even your grandchildren.... love, tolerance and the pure joy of living.

Thank you Mr. Wonder for being part of our family for so many years and hopefully for so many more years to come!
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on 21 July 2000
'Songs in the Key of Life' was released the year I was born so I was lucky enough to have been fed it from birth and thank God I was! It's such a special album and, like so many of Stevie's, one that leads you through an incredible journey of thought. Stevie has always had the gift of being able to take you through a rainbow of emotional highs and lows while ultimately leaving you with such a positive feeling. His eclectic style makes it an album for all moods with tracks ranging from the thought provoking harmonies of "Love's in Need of Love" to the funked-up nostalgia of "I Wish". It's the first thing I turn to when I really need to put my life back into perspective because the songs on this album move me more than any others in the world. In my opinion these songs are untouchable and in spite of various covers and reworkings by other artists they'll always remain unparalleled in their truest form. If you've never heard it before, give it some time. Like all great music you can't let it wash over you. You have to savour it and let it under your skin before you can appreciate all that is being communicated, and then the message is clear.
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on 6 September 2000
One of the reviews mentions that this album shows its current relevence through Coolios use of Pastime Paradise as the basis for a song. Coolio, WHO-lio more like - we are talking about The Master Blaster! The album is relevent because it IS. The first song alone carries more weight than the entire career of many artists. 'Loves In Need Of Love Today' is one of the greatest songs ever written - don't take my word for it, listen to it every day for a week then try and kid yourself that Stevie hasn't sold you his message of love. You won't be able to do it! Admittedly there are a few weak points on the album, but Saturn and one or two others aside, this collection of songs, sentiments and sounds is an absolute must. Summer Soft, Ordinary Pain, Summer Soft, Knocks Me Off My Feet, If Its Magic and I Wish are all classic tracks in their own write. But to top all of them perhaps is Joy Inside My Tears, one of the most brilliant and moving love songs you will ever hear. Don't take anybody's word on this album, just go out and get it. It has a depth which makes years of re-listening possible, with new ears each time, and new messages coming from the sounds. Above all however, the album speaks of the power and hope of love, and does so as seductively as is musically possible.
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on 4 November 2013
I have owned this album both on vinyl and non remastered CD.The vinyl sounded good but the audio on the CD was really flat and lifeless.It has since been remastered on CD but I'm so glad they decided to bring this wonderful album out on Blu Ray audio.It may have only got a stereo mix which as some have pointed out is a wasted opportunity instead of a 5.1 surround mix but what a difference in sound quality.

I'm hearing things I've never noticed before and highly recommend a purchase.This album was the last of four classic Stevie Wonder albums.
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on 20 November 2005
Well this is another great double album from the Seventies. Although the Beatles’ White Album set the precedent in the late ’60s, double albums became much more prevalent in the ’70s. Not always with great results. But I admire anyone who puts out a double album as it was in those pre CD days a hell of a gamble and retailed at nearly double the price. So there were quite a few which sank without trace, lost in either mediocrity or self indulgence or both. But there are a few which stand the test of time. This is one of them.
There is so much varied music to be enjoyed here and as with all great albums it is its ambition which gives it that extra something. Stevie was aiming for the stars here and for about two thirds of this set he succeeds emphatically. The opening track is a decent heartfelt ballad but gives no clue really as to the heights this album would reach. For when this album is good it is Very Good. And there are some songs here which are basically the highlight of a long and interesting career. Take ’Village Ghetto Land’ for example. It is incredibly moving, the string arrangement is nothing less than heartbreaking. And a beautiful melody of course did help. The two singles ’Sir Duke’ and ’I Wish’ are all time dance classics. Try playing these loud at a party and see who’s left on the sofa! The musicianship I must add is absolutely first rate. Funky. My favourite track is probably ’Saturn’ which combines a sad and incisive lyric which does a pretty good job of persuading the listener to pack up bags and move to the planet Saturn. This is not a joke. Who else could achieve this conviction with such a seemingless ridiculous lyric? To a place where 'people live to be two hundred and five!’ Quite tempting, eh? And then ’Ebony Eyes’ is ridiculously infectious. And a great dance number of course. None of the mainstream knows of these two tracks’ existence! Those who do should count ourselves supremely lucky.
The second disc is hardly short of classics either. ’Isn’t She Lovely’ is a wonderful romping number in tribute to his new born daughter. Any parent will be moved by this. The ballad ’Joy Inside My Tears’ is admittedly sentimental, but he was to do far less impressive efforts in this oevre in later years. Silly Love Song maybe, but this song is dynamite.
There are others such as ’As’, ’Pastime Paradise’ and ’If’ which are truly worthy of mention. Only a couple of the longer songs ’Black Man’ and ’Ordinary Pain’ outstay their welcome slightly. Despite the great lyrics. This album should be owned by any fan of Stevie Wonder as it displays his many eclectic qualities on one set, mostly to great effect. But it is for those career highlights, particularly the unknown ’Saturn’ and ’Ebony Eyes’ that I direct you to this album. When Stevie was this good, there was no one to touch him in the 1970s. And as with all great albums, they last forever.
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VINE VOICEon 8 February 2014
This High Fidelity Pure Audio disc has to be the best version of this album I have heard glorious 96/24 sound captures all of the nuances of the album so well.
The music is so well known that I cant really write about it the hits 'Sir Duke' and 'Isn't she Lovely' are stand outs as is the 'Pastime paradise' which younger viewers might recognise as something else.

While the sound quality is excellent, disc presentation is kind of strange with a horrible menu and no track details, just a track number to pick from.
The disc auto starts on the LPCM track which is great, but why also include DTS MA and Dolby True HD when they are all effectively the same, though on some players Dolby THD suffers from a horrible Dai-norm issue, because it was predominately designed as a film encoding and not for music.
For me a 5.1 mix would have been the icing on the cake again a wasted opportunity.
Despite the above I have to give this 5 stars this is a great release and after all it is the sound that counts.
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on 22 December 2013
I am really enjoying listening to this Blu-ray audio copy of songs in the key of life. The album is a classic of course but the sound from this new format is superb it really conveys a wonderful warm and full bodied analogue sound through my system. I just can't get enough of these Blu-ray discs. Played through a box standard Sony blu-ray player hooked up to the stereo with van den hul cables. Well worth the 10 quid spent.
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