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Stevie Wonder|Hotter Than July

Hotter Than July

Stevie Wonder

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Four years after the pinnacle of Stevie Wonder's mid-'70s typhoon of classic albums, Hotter Than July was the proper follow-up to Songs in the Key of Life (his Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants concept record was actually a soundtrack to an obscure movie that fared miserably in theaters). It also found Wonder in a different musical climate than the one that savored his every move from 1972 to 1977. Disco and new wave had slowly crept their way into the mainstream record-buying public, and hindered the once-ample room for socially and politically charged lyrics. However, Wonder naysayed the trends and continues to do what he did best. Solid songwriting, musicianship, and production are evident in the majority of Hotter Than July. Wonder also carries on his tradition of penning songs normally not associated with his trademark sound, from the disco-tinged "All I Do" (originally planned to be released by Tammi Terrell almost ten years previously) to the reggae-influenced smash "Master Blaster (Jammin)," which went straight to the top of the R&B charts. While admittedly there are a few less-than-standard tracks, he closes the album on an amazing high note with one of the most aching ballads in his canon ("Lately") and a touching anthem to civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr. ("Happy Birthday"). While most definitely not on the same tier as Innervisions or Songs in the Key of Life, Hotter Than July is the portrait of an artist who still had the Midas touch, but stood at the crossroads of an illustrious career.

© Rob Theakston /TiVo

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Hotter Than July

Stevie Wonder

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1
Did I Hear You Say You Love Me
00:04:08

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
All I Do
00:05:06

Morris Broadnax, ComposerLyricist - Betty Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Clarence Paul, ComposerLyricist - Eddie Levert, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Jackson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Walter Williams, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Rocket Love
00:04:39

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
I Ain't Gonna Stand For It
00:04:39

Charles K. Wilson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Wilson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
As If You Read My Mind
00:03:39

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Master Blaster (Jammin')
00:05:07

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Do Like You
00:04:25

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Cash In Your Face
00:03:59

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Lately
00:04:05

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Happy Birthday
00:05:55

Stevie Wonder, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gary Olazabal, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1980 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Chronique

Four years after the pinnacle of Stevie Wonder's mid-'70s typhoon of classic albums, Hotter Than July was the proper follow-up to Songs in the Key of Life (his Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants concept record was actually a soundtrack to an obscure movie that fared miserably in theaters). It also found Wonder in a different musical climate than the one that savored his every move from 1972 to 1977. Disco and new wave had slowly crept their way into the mainstream record-buying public, and hindered the once-ample room for socially and politically charged lyrics. However, Wonder naysayed the trends and continues to do what he did best. Solid songwriting, musicianship, and production are evident in the majority of Hotter Than July. Wonder also carries on his tradition of penning songs normally not associated with his trademark sound, from the disco-tinged "All I Do" (originally planned to be released by Tammi Terrell almost ten years previously) to the reggae-influenced smash "Master Blaster (Jammin)," which went straight to the top of the R&B charts. While admittedly there are a few less-than-standard tracks, he closes the album on an amazing high note with one of the most aching ballads in his canon ("Lately") and a touching anthem to civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr. ("Happy Birthday"). While most definitely not on the same tier as Innervisions or Songs in the Key of Life, Hotter Than July is the portrait of an artist who still had the Midas touch, but stood at the crossroads of an illustrious career.

© Rob Theakston /TiVo

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