(All Album Reviews by daddysangbassdude)
Stevie Wonder lightened up again on his social commentary for this 1974 release which still garnered plenty of awards and fan favor. However, much like the more issue-oriented pieces from the ‘lighter’ Talking Book, when he made a statement here he didn’t hold much back.
Religion again was a centerpiece in “Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away”. Here he says “If there is a God, we need Him now.” With all the trouble in the world, his friends ask, “Where is your God?” Well, He has a long way to come. And that statement alone can be interpreted literally or figuratively. On the other hand, “Why can’t they say that hate is 10 zillion light years away?” Good question.
Another hard-hitting moment comes in the form of “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” which by itself - aided by an ‘amen chorus’ from the Jackson 5 - could have been enough to get Stevie added to Richard Nixon’s “bad side” list along with guys like Daniel Ellsberg and John Lennon. “But when misled who knows a person’s mind/Can turn as cold as ice.” Strong stuff. It was Stevie’s biggest hit from the album, if for no other reason than it was darn catchy, but maybe it also struck a huge chord in a population fed up with Watergate in more ways than one.
He doesn’t just go after lying politicians here. He saves some equally hard hits in the lyrics of “They Won’t Go When I Go”, addressing lying friends, those of us with unclean minds, “people sinning just for fun,” those who “take more than they give,” and the despair surrounding us all, following us all to the bitter end. It’s like a modern funeral dirge. Preachy? Maybe. But it still gives us all something to consider in our own lives, and how much music really does that?