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Stevie Wonder - Hotter Than July Click here to see this CD at Amazon.com!

By Rickey Wright

Not as great as Innervisions (what is?), but quite probably better than Fulfillingness' First Finale, Hotter Than July is the last of the string of classic albums that included those milestones. While going for big statements only a couple of times during its 46 minutes--the celebratory reggae rocker "Master Blaster (Jammin')" and the Martin Luther King Jr. tribute "Happy Birthday"--the disc shows off a lot more than the expected high-level craftsmanship. Like humor: "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" merges an affectionate burlesque of country music ("Somebody's been rubbin' on my good-luck charm," he sings of a two-timing girlfriend) with a funk backbeat. And humanity: "Do Like You" celebrates family ties in an especially nice way, while "Rocket Love" and "All I Do" are among Wonder's most underappreciated love songs. This is worth buying for the deathless "Master Blaster" alone, but after you do, you'll be glad you own it all.

Tracks
1. Did I Hear You Say You Love Me6. Master Blaster (Jammin')
2. All I Do7. Do Like You
3. Rocket Love8. Cash In Your Face
4. I Ain't Gonna Stand For It9. Lately
5. As If You Read My Mind10. Happy Birthday

 

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"Hotter Than July is certainly a must-have for fans, and, indeed, is one of Stevie's five or six truly classic albums. I would place this below 1973's Innervisions - his finest work - and '72's Talking Book, but tracks like 'Master Blaster (Jammin')', 'All I Do' and the lovely ballad 'Lately' mean this is still essential."

--Phil Armstrong

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MUSICAL NOTES

Artist: Stevie Wonder

Released: September 29, 1980

Availability: CD, Vinyl

Awards: 


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