What's Going OnMarvin Gaye
Wow. This album puts you into such a specific mood. The rain on Marvin's face reflects today's weather accompanying my listen to this record. We start off this album with a political statement on "What's Going On" that is a very serious statement about police brutality hidden behind what sounds like jubilation and a very calming groovy bongo beat. Apparently when Marvin brought this to Motown they were appalled. Said it was way too political. I'm glad that Marvin stood his ground and argued that it was a very political time to be alive, pushing for the very real nature of this album. It feels visceral, like music that isn't made simply to make music. Lyrics like "Who Really Cares // Who's willing to try // To save a world that's destined to die?" are not the type of lyrics the label was expecting to hear, I'm sure. A lyric I deeply identified with. Save the damn babies. I absolutely love the way it flows, at least from the start through "God Is Love". Like I'm watching a movie. I will say that while the songs after "God Is Love" are still beautifully written and arranged, I wish that the entire album flowed together rather than dropping that concept midway through. Loved the drums on "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)". Loved all of the brass and woodwinds on "Right On". Loved the entirety of "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)". So many simple lines in this song that are just so great. "Panic is spreadin', God knows where we're headin'" As Marvin states on the final track, "this ain't livin'". We've made a lot of progress since 1971 but honestly this record could have been made yesterday and the themes Marvin's lyrics touch on would still be just as pertinent now as they were back then. The album cover makes sense to me now. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. 5/5.