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That's The Way Of The World

Earth, Wind & Fire

1975

That's The Way Of The World
Album Summary

That's the Way of the World is the sixth studio album by American band Earth, Wind & Fire, released on March 15, 1975 by Columbia Records. It was also the soundtrack for a 1975 motion picture of the same name. The album rose to No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Soul Albums charts.That's the Way of the World has also been certified Triple Platinum in the U.S by the RIAA.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.51

Votes

13173

Genres

  • Funk
  • Soul

Reviews

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Mon Aug 02 2021
4

My favorite EWF songs are (and pay attention, these are in order) Fantasy, September, and their transcendent cover of the Beatles' Got To Get You Into My Life. None of these are on this album, the lone EWF entry on the list. Shining Star opens the album, followed by the title track. They're both 5's (although not in my own personal Top 5, which tells you how great EWF were). But what I really want to learn more about is that apparently this album is the soundtrack to a movie of the same name starring Harvey Keitel. One would think with all of the streaming options available that at least one of them would have this curiosity available for our ready viewing pleasure. Earth, Wind & Fire actually appear in the film as a fictionalized version of themselves in a group known as...The Group? An IMDB user tells us the movie is worth seeking out and even likens it to the Paul Simon vehicle "One Trick Pony". That's all the inspiration I needed (big props to IMDB user lambiepie-2, as Prince would say, may u live 2 c the dawn), so I found this cinematic marvel on Tubi. The movie is everything I imagined it would be. It opens with EWF performing "That's The Way Of The World" while a young Harvey Keitel runs the control board. And it's pretty much a disaster from there. Keitel's record label would rather Harvey showed more interest in wan seemingly incestuous white trio called The Pages (which is somehow an even worse name than The Group). The Pages are a mix of the Carpenters, Helen Reddy, and the Starlight Vocal Band before they discovered the joy and wonders of a Nooner. White family acts were hip back then, you see. It's a thinly veiled commentary on the music industry and faceless, corporate America. It's cheesy in a way you'd expect from a forgettable film released in 1975. The script goes out of it's way to have characters say the title of the movie at least three times (possibly more, I just gave up after the third time). The movie made me appreciate the album, Harvey Keitel, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, and possibly Karen Carpenter, even more.

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Sun Aug 22 2021
4

“That’s the Way of the World” by Earth, Wind & Fire (1975) This is some of the best soul music ever. Listen to it as an antidote to the nightly news. Celebratory themes lift up the listener, giving gentle encouragement with soul. Earth, Wind & Fire preach (yes) a message of living a well integrated life with a funky groove. I’m in. If you’ve ever spent much time in an African American Baptist or Methodist church, you know exactly what’s going on here. This is neither Oprahfied self esteem nor the anger inducing kerygma of Farrakhan’s NOI Incorporated. It’s actualized joy. These songs come at us in a wholesome and upbeat mood only slightly tarnished by astrological and pseudo mystical wackiness. The closing track (“See the Light”) is either gospel or heliolatry, depending on your perspective. And there’s a love for newborn babies sprinkled throughout. And who doesn’t love newborn babies? (Ok, you smart alecks in the back row, put your hands down!) Lead and backing vocals display an extraordinarily diverse palette of timbres, including ghostly baritone, croaky-to-sassy-to-silky tenor, and entire gospel choirs of falsetto flavors. It’s not a stew. It’s a buffet. On top of that, we hear heavenly horns, tastefully arranged, with potent punctuation in interludes. Some of the ‘fill’ comes across as dated, but it still has nostalgic value. It’s only a minor flaw. But the standout instrumental performance on this album is the inventive bass lines by Verdine White, one of the greatest bassists of all time. He synthesizes progressive jazz, funk, and (believe it or not) classical symphonic music. It’s worth listening to this entire album with both ears trained on the electric bass. I dare ya. The album is well constructed, with the splashy lead track “Shining Star”, and the meditative end of “All about Love” to finish out side one, while side two begins ‘back to the splash’, winding up (and down) to the beautiful resolution of the closing anthem “See the Light” (starting with a rapid 7/8 that I actually wanted to dance to. You’ve got to hear it to believe it). The choral arrangement of the closing bars before the outro are ethereal. One could wrap this up with an ‘Amen’. 4/5

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

Shining Star is always fun, the upbeat tempo and "happy" singing make for a fun, encouraging song. A good one to lead with. Interesting though as the feel is very different than the rest of the album. The sound is the "same" though. Yearnin' Learnin' is, upon first listen, my favorite song on the album. There is something about the beat and the tone of their voices, a sort of exaggerated "meah, meah, meah" sound. At first I did not think I liked Reasons but I forced myself to continue listening and I love her voice being dominant with the guys harmonizing in the background and the jazzy trumpets hitting two beats (?) mixed in. As far as lyrics, All About Love (First Impression) is my favorite. The "spokenness" of the lyrics helps drive it home and easier to listen to. Africano, I am not a fan typically of the flute (it seems to be a tin or small wood one), so the sound of the flute is not my favorite. Towards the end of the intro it has a sound of water that is reminiscent of "Native American" music. A lot of interesting sounds all together in this song, very "Cosby-showish" sounding to me. So, unfortunately hearing Cosy before this song, I hear a TV show and not the song. I am not a fan of the trumpet or sax too much in songs...this is heavy on those. The numerous sounds work well together and keep you entertained, almost as though you don't know where to look. Overall the album has a smooth, mellow sound that is hopeful and enjoyable even as the lyrics call for thinking. I liked Earth, Wind & Fire before listening to this album but I still really enjoyed it. It reminded me of The 5th Dimension's Age of Aquarius a bit.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
3

Half are Super funky, jazzy grooves and half are typically lush mid 70s ballads. Pretty cool. Tracks opening each side are straight up funk. Africano is a wah wah funk jazz tour de force.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
4

Going into this album, the only song that I recognized immediately looking at the tracklist was the classic opener “Shining Star.” By 1975 Earth, Wind and Fire were well on their way to establishing themselves as one of the leading R&B/funk bands of the decade. Track two is the monster title track, which somehow I had forgotten about until the opening notes kicked the song immediately back into my brain. The track leaves little doubt the band was as comfortable in mid-tempo territory as when they are dropping classic funk tunes. Mixing jazz and world influences into “Happy Feelin’” the band is just humming and mastering every tool at their disposal. Did someone mention quiet storm? “All About Love” delivers that and more. Creating a template that others, like Luther Vandross, would perfect, the band utilizes spoken word, excellent background vocals, and a tremendous horn section to pepper the track with personality. However, an overindulgent keyboard part throughout the final minute is entirely unnecessary and distracting. “Yearnin’ and Learnin’” is the first sign of filler. It's not a terrible song but feels like the type of funk song the band could write in their sleep. The horn section during “Reasons” saves it from being a generic ballad. Featuring a falsetto vocal, horns, and strings, the group does everything possible to dress it up. The album regains it's footing with the afro-centric beats of the instrumental “Africano.” I’ve heard the band was fantastic live, and it's easy to see this getting an excellent work out in concert —plenty of 70s style funk guitar, horns, and percussion light this track on fire. “See the Light,” the closing track, is a rumination on the struggles of mid70s America with a hint of spirituality as well. Throw in some psychedelic-inspired keyboards and some Broadwayesque backing vocals, and the song leaves an impression. Although, I’m not convinced it's a positive one. I wouldn't call this record a masterpiece; however, there are some highlights and a couple of indisputable classics. Overall, the legendary status that surrounds EWF appears warranted.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
3

Opens with some strong funk, slides into some late-night satiny soul (shag-pile carpet, & mirrored ceiling strongly recommended), dives into disco. The flute opening on "Africano" gave me Osibisa vibes; the shift into strong funk for the second half was unexpected but very much enjoyed. It's hard to listen to this with 1975 ears and thus properly appreciate the space this album held.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
2

Well, that was a discovery. I know EWF but I've never actually listened to them other than what the Radio offers during a hits retrospective. A couple of tracks here I liked, one on different album thatI adore. I was unaware about their funk/soul & Baptist style and how disco era overlapped. I think it's a good album, not huge enjoyment for me though - just interest. An occasional track is a stonker, but this album, for all it being often ranked the best of EWF, it just doesn't connect with me. I'm unlikely to listen to again. I liked the last track the most. I've been unsure if it's a 2 or a 3 for me. I'm not comfortable with it being a low 3 so let's say high 2 stars.

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Fri Nov 06 2020
5

starts off with shining star, reasons, the sax in africano, the xylophones, great album that shows from beginning to end it deserves its place on this list

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Tue Mar 26 2024
5

The title track features a nice combination of funky bass and breezy guitar licks. Cozy atmosphere. Happy Feelin' is great as well. All About Love slows it way down and has a super cool psychedelic outro. Pan flutes feature in the intro to Africano before polyrhythmic drums come in and excellent saxophone. It's a jazzy instrumental but with a real groove, my favourite track. See the Light keeps the same jazz bass but the vocals re-enter. I would love a whole album of this. I debated not giving this full marks but the highs are high enough.

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Tue May 30 2023
4

I was expecting something more energetic but it is still nice.

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Thu Mar 14 2024
4

I used to think Earth, Wind, and Fire were a joke. I was ignorant, influenced unfairly by my parent’s prejudice of funk and soul music. My dad in particular was in high school when they were at their peak in popularity, and he was very much in his own musical world, one that he’s never really left honestly - the hard rock of the day, blues, and some jazz (but not much). So EWF wasn’t playing in my house as a kid, and whenever they or bands like them came up, they were scoffed at as being just kind of kitschy and a joke. On my own I have since learned how wrong this was. For one, I’ve learned that all music (and art in general) has merit even if I don’t love it or even like it. But regarding EWF and other soul bands like them, I’ve learned that not only does their music have merit but that it’s also, like, good. In a way that surprises and impresses me continually. This album is no different. Such feel. A soft touch when necessary but man can they crank it up when they need to. Such a talented band of musicians. I have to wonder how big the band actually is given all the instruments here. The vocals? Pristine. Not a note or vocal line out of place. The falsetto on “Reasons” is absolutely incredible and makes for legit love-making music. I really can’t say enough here. Excellent album. There’s a couple of songs I could’ve done without so it doesn’t quite hit 5 stars, but it easily, solidly earns 4. Standout tracks: Shining Star, Happy Feelin’, Reasons, Africano,

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Tue Mar 26 2024
4

I've heard Shining Star before, that song goes hard. "Thats the Way of the World"- groovy bass lines, really clean vocals, background vocals add really good texture to the sound. It kind of drags tho. "Happy Feelin"- The saxophone eats, loves the energy, xylophone or smth. "All About Love" is similar sounding to the rest of album, less memorable. "Yearnin' Love'" best song since the first one, absolute banger. The trumpets sound so good, the vocals and beat mix so well. "Reasons" I think I've heard this too, its really good, honestly this is my favorite song so far. Vocals and lyrics so good, production is perfect. "Africano" Who ever played sax on this cooked. "see the light" tuff song there vocals are so peak, the elctro funk aspect is rlly good. 4 total likes.

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Sun Apr 21 2024
4

This record makes me want to start a 12 piece band ASAP

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Mon Mar 11 2024
3

Compared to other, less popular albums of the era, this feels… slight. Graham Central Station did the rump-shakers better. Rose Royce and Chic had better uplifting, soaring anthems. The Brothers Johnson did better Love Boat interstitial themes. Good, but not great.

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Sat Mar 23 2024
3

I'm glad I finally listened to an Earth Wind and Fire record in full but the slower songs didn't stand out to me as much, and that's like 80% of the album. I'm glad I gave it a second listen through though, because I found more I liked by giving it a second chance. Still really nice but I'm just not a big ballad person.

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Sun Apr 23 2023
2

Is dit de week van de aalgladde soul? Mijn hemel mijn glazuur!

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Fri Sep 25 2020
5

It's a beautiful album. Short and nostalgic somehow

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

God, where are we in the world today. 9/10 Likes: 'Shining Star,' 'Happy Feelin', 'That's the Way of the World,' the horns of 'Yearnin' Learnin',' dear god 'Reasons' is a perfect masterpiece, best song on the album, fight me, is 'See the Light.' Dislikes: First half of 'All About Love,' though that synth part is phenomenally mesmerizing, Y'all know this is just my opinion right?

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Sat Mar 20 2021
5

smooth, easy listening with great voices

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Complete classic. Songs I grew up with and reminds me of family. Great album to listen to while working.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Perfect funk album. Incredible.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

I quite liked this album. I had only heard one or two songs by Earth, Wind & Fire previously, so it was nice to hear more by them.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

STRONG start and a real groove throughout. I've been into Nu Funk more this year and its beyond obvious how much those folks are trying to be modern EWF. Just cool cool cool all the way. probably a 4.5 but I'm rounding up ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

Absolute bangers, all the way through. Probably my second favorite EWF album behind I Am, but obviously still amazing.

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Ok, die unmittelbare Gegenbewegung zum Abba-Tiefschlag ist abgeklungen. Trotzdem danke ich allen, die daran mitgewirkt haben mich zum tieferen Zuhören und einer relativ ausgiebigen Beschäftigung mit der Platte herauszufordern: das ist nämlich wunderbar warme, cremige und eben nicht zuckerwattige, sondern eher schokoladige Funk/Soul/Popmusik. Rhythmisch total auf den Punkt, aber auch gefühlig immer richtig dosiert, und in ihrer gesamten Mischung auf der Platte perfekt ausbalanciert zwischen Uptempo, Smoothness und Verführung. Wäre ne perfekte 4 gewesen, den zusätzlichen Punkt gibts für die Entdeckung.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

Earth, Wind, and FIRE. I'd probably put it as more of a 4.5 if I could, but a 4 just seems miserly.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

Ahh so groovy and classic. Starts off strong, vocals are fantastic and really its the occasional growl and the a cappella ending of the first song for me. Loved Yearnin' Learnin', All About Love, and Africano. 4.5-5 stars

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

They didn’t even need to go this hard. Great stuff. The solos on Africano are very cool

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Sun Jan 24 2021
5

Imma be honest, the chimes in That’s the Way of the World sound like my apple watch notification; pretty impressive how they sampled that 40 years before it existed😎 Reasons is also a solid standout. Africano and See the Light are an interesting pair to finish up with, they popppingggg.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

Pretty fun! Easy to listen to. More instrumental tracks than I expected.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

What a funktastic album, I've never heard it, yet feel it was already in my soul!! 🥰🔥🥰

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Fri Apr 09 2021
5

I play bass, therefore I love Earth, Wind and Fire.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
5

These guys had it figured out.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
5

Shining Star and Reasons are so great. The whole album is just right on. Even the album cover is perfect.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

Absolutely fantastic. Pure funk. Head starts bobbing of its own accord. Not too sure about "All About Love" even though it has some good moments. Everything else is great though. Too short.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
5

🥰loved them in High School and 😍them now. As l listened more carefully this time, I felt like they were a mix of Chicago and Elton John and Marvin Gaye all rolled up in one! Great Job Earth 🌍 wind & 🔥

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Sat Sep 25 2021
5

Сладенько и хорошо

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

Shining Star is a song I remember singing when I was a kid. This album reminds me of weekends when I was a kid, cooking with my mom.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

If you aren't absolutely grooving to Earth Wind and Fire, what are you even doing? EWF has had a special place in my heart for like 16 years at this point (half my life!). Side A is better than B, but Africano may actually be my favorite track. The origin of a bass line that literally SLAPS

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

What you'd expect from EW&F + some prototypical party rap, wow

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

Absolute banger start to finish

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Mon Jan 03 2022
5

Such a smooth listen, and not too long either!

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Tue Jan 04 2022
5

Loved it! So bluesy and groovy!

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Wed Jan 19 2022
5

They've got the funk. They've got it right here in this box. They found they could see around corners. Ohhh gimmi that funky milk!

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Sat Jan 29 2022
5

Can never get enough of such music!

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

Best band of all time....FIRE

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Sun Feb 06 2022
5

tava doido pra dar 4 estrelas mas vou ser obrigado a dar 5

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Wed Feb 09 2022
5

Sonzera, groovadão dá pra por no rolê dboas

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

If I lived in the 60s I would put this album on and be happy all day long 🧡

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

A melhor coisa do Album generator é me mostrar que o que diferencia um clássico de um som comum é a atemporalidade. Você escuta o Funk e o Soul de Earth Wind and Fire em Adele, em Amy Whinehouse, em Norah Jones, em Diana Krall... é fantástico...simplesmente fantástico. "That's The Way Of The World" tem a responsabilidade musical de ser todas as músicas de Marvin Gaye em 5:45min

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Sat Apr 09 2022
5

A groovy experience through and through. It might not be the most complex album in the world, but I loved listening to it. Each song made me want to move my body, which is what I try and look for in songs. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly mine. Favorite track: Reasons

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

I love Earth, Wind and Fire so I was excited to set this. Never heard this album before but knew the first two tracks and they are excellent. The rest of the album? Loved it! I was surprised to learn that this was a soundtrack for a movie. Think I may have to check that out too.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

Delightfully uplifting. Super smooth. A great accompaniment to the day.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

This album didn't contain my most beloved Earth, Wind & Fire songs, but I greatly enjoyed every track. Lots of fun and a light, warm spirit to it.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

This is delightful. It has an unselfconscious seventiesness to it that I love.

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Wed Jul 06 2022
5

Almost perfect. Track 1 is a masterpiece.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

I can't imagine giving this album fewer than five stars.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

5/5. There's a reason this band has the reputation they do. Not my style but it's a perfect album.

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

Can not beat a bit of feel good funk

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

So dope Liked the last song a lot

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

Disco - smooth mix of Uptempo grooves and low tempo slow dancing love songs

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Mon Nov 07 2022
5

Really enjoyed this apart from tracks #4 and 8, was just a bit lukewarm on those but they might be growers. Nice surprise as I only knew a couple of songs from this band. Soundtracked a chilly and wet trip to and from Galway, one listen each way. Also, top notch cover photo!

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Wed Nov 16 2022
5

slayed the boots down houston im deceased

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

Great record. Pre-disco and surprisingly arty.

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Sun Jan 01 2023
5

EWF sounds like you're on the bus heading home on a perfect fall afternoon when you have no homework and you're blissfully unaware of the problems of the world. Just endless freedom. Best track: Shining Star

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Tue Jan 10 2023
5

Hell yeah. One of my favorite ever music acts comes through again. Favorite track: Shining Star

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

Earth, Wind & Fire..whats not to like.

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

I can almost smell my grandmother's cooking when I listen to this album. I've heard all of these songs 10,000 times just by simply growing up around my family and being black, really. Initially, I didn't want to give this album 5 stars because this isn't something I regularly come and listen to, but then again, I never NEED to come find this album to hear it throughout the year. You'll kinda just hear these songs everywhere as long as you exist on planet earth and don't live under a rock. Earth, Wind & Fire is a ubiquitous part of world musical culture.

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

Some classics, some jammers, all around fantastic album.

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

I've always been a big fan of 70's soul/funk (stevie wonder is my favorite artist of all time), but I've never checked out a full album from Earth Wind & Fire. I went into this thinking it would get a solid 4 stars from me but there's literally nothing to dislike about these songs. It's perfect, the recording is pristine without sounding over-produced or flat, the songs have personality and stick out from the others, and there's never a dull moment. I really love this album and I'm glad it came on rotation.

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