Stevie Wonder
Fulfillingness' First Finale


4.0
excellent

Review

by pronounced "RYE-iss" USER (21 Reviews)
February 27th, 2014 | 10 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist


It's no Wonder Stevie is one of the most famous men in the history of pop music. His virtuosic piano skilled coupled with his absolutely stellar songwriting abilities is a killer duo. As if that wasn't enough, his soaring, powerful voice is one of the most recognizable in soul. He simply has so much talent, it's almost a given that he's reached the status he has. The 1970s is usually referred to as his golden period, due to releasing a string of strong efforts, including Innvervisions, Songs In The Key Of LIfe, And Fulfillingness' First Finale.

Fulfillingness' First Finale is one of Stevie's more overlooked records, overshadowed by the gargantuan legacy left by the aforementioned records. Wedged in between the two, it's often forgotten, but by no means unmemorable. It is decidedly more subdued than most of his records; at a lean ten tracks, it lacks the lengthy compositions present on Innervisions. Lyrically, he's less political for the most part and more focused on himself, therefore making it a more personal record than previous efforts. Perhaps it was the near-fatal car accident he got himself into in 1973 that made his music more cautious. Despite this, still contains the trademark mix of catchy funk, downtempo soul and quiet ballads.

"Too Shy To Say" lacks the trademark upbeat funk of an atypical Stevie Wonder song, stripping down to an unmemorable piano ballad. The true fault is its generic lyrics, making it fall into the category of saccharine-sweet commonplace love song, with groanworthy lines such as I wanna be more than a friend/Until the end of an endless end." Luckily things definitely pick up with "Boogie On Reggae Woman," featuring a highly infectious pulsating synthesizer line and bluesy piano. Stevie's vocals and top-notch, sprinkled with awesome high notes and runs. As well, Stevie's squealing harmonica solos sounds as good as ever. The song is simply a powerhouse, boasting almost all of Stevie's trademark qualities.

Songs like "Creepin" and "They Won't Go When I Go" are surprisingly sparse--for Stevie Wonder, that is. "Creepin" features Stevie wishing he creeps into a girl's dreams, bolstered by a groovy soul melody. "They Won't Go When I Go" is even more austere, a somewhat off-putting side of Stevie. When we think of him, we generally think of the buoyant eclecticism of songs like "Living For The City," "Superstition" and "I Wish," but it's never a bad thing for artists to change their sound. However, it's overlong and unsatisfactorily morose.

One of the more upbeat songs, and the only politically charged song on the album is "You Haven't Done Nothin'," a hostile diatribe against Richard Nixon. Its thick clarinet and fierce vocal performance make it a highlight of the album, proving Stevie catchy as ever. Even more gratifying is the cheerful Moog-heavy closer, "Please Don't Go." It's sparkling synth line is highlighted by the hi-hat heavy energetic drum track. Once again Stevie Wonder's harmonica solo is an excellent addition, an instrument rarely used in this style of music yet fitting right in. It's a perfect closer, wistful and lively, briskly moving on and fading before you know it.

The unstoppable force of Stevie Wonder in the 1970s released a number of stellar works and Fulfillingness' First Finale is no different. The broad mix and emotive songwriting signify that Stevie Wonder's creativeness is in full swing, with no signs of stopping in the near future. The album is usually forgotten as a mere stepping stone between two behemoth albums, yet it's much more than that and deserves its place as an excellent effort from an innovative genius.



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user ratings (88)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ryus
February 27th 2014


4986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shocked this didn't have a review

Digging: Arnold Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4

KILL
February 27th 2014


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome huge props dude

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2014


16131 Comments


didnt feel as good to me as a few others of his but I'll try it again, nice review

Ryus
February 27th 2014


4986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks, yeah overall it's not as strong as innervisions or songs in the key of life, but i'd say on par with talking book

Chrisjon89
February 27th 2014


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet. good review. this is a grower. i agree, on par with Talking Book and below his two best.

love They Won't Go When I Go, Smile Please, especially the chorus, and Too Shy To Say.

KILL
February 27th 2014


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

prefer talking book but not by much

please dont go rules

SharkTooth
February 27th 2014


6460 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"only politically charged song on the album is "It Ain't No Use," a hostile diatribe against Richard
Nixon."

Um... you just skipped straight over the previous song 'You Haven't Done Nothin' which is ALSO a
'politically charged song' against Nixon

And it was just one track behind
so much for 'only' politically charged song on the album

Digging: Astrokraut - Astrokraut

Ryus
February 27th 2014


4986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no i did mean "You Haven't Done Nothin", not It "Ain't No Use", typo, i'll fix it
"It Ain't No Use" isn't political at all

ArsMoriendi
April 16th 2014


5981 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Even the lesser tracks on here are great.

Definitely my favorite of Stevie's.

Digging: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Mirror Man

AstrialExpedition
August 25th 2014


51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'They won't go when I go' just makes this album for me



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