Monday, September 17, 2018

Innervisions

The ideology behind AM is to create an objective forum. Based on time and space, this is a generally impossible task. As a critic, rubric or not, my omission of an album may make a very bold statement without formally criticizing the work. I personally disregard three musical artists, despite the fact that, based on the AM rubric, they may otherwise attain high marks. I simply don't like Van Morrison, Michael Jackson, and Creedence Clearwater. Van's music I go back to time and again and find it inaccessible (though I have an affinity for Them's "Here Comes the Night"). That's a subjective review based not on the rubric but on personal feelings. By not reviewing Morrison I'm off the hook, but my disregard through omission is glaringly obvious. Creedence I just don't care about. Michael Jackson, I find astronomically overrated. That indeed is true subjection. I like Michael, there are songs with which I have a great affinity, but Jackson was by no means, rubric or otherwise, The King of Pop, and I guess I resent the moniker.

Unfortunately, omission often sends a false negative. AM has followed a historical trail over the past several months. We've made it into '74 and reviewed Court and Spark, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Supertramp's Crime of the Century, Steely Dan, Queen, Elton John, Zappa, Dylan, Eno, Jackson Browne, Mott the Hoople; indeed a cavalcade of stellar artists and albums. But AM courses a path that is far from inclusive. I have to step back at times to recognize what I have missed, not through omission, but through forgetfulness or "into-ness." I've been obsessing of late on Roxy and Bowie and David Sylvian, the new Death Cab, and have simply overlooked one of the great albums of an era: Stevie Wonder's Innervisions (as I have overlooked many others. Among the AM10s: Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On, Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road, Curtis Mayfield's Superfly Miles Davis's In a Silent Way). The point remains, the goal at AM be as objective as possible, but now my little secret is out: I will not be reviewing Michael Jackson or Creedence or Van, and you know why. On the other hand:

Innervisions (AM10) is flawless: the gurgling funk of "Too High," the lustrous quiet guitar of "Visions" (Dean Parks on nylon string and David T. Walker on a sweet electric), the punchy, raucous soul of "Living in the City" and its trademark riff in an off-time signature, the ascending Latin and jazzy tinged organ-drenched "Golden Lady" on side one alone. Side two: a demolishing wah-wah-filled propulsive beat in "Higher Ground," the jazzy and hum-able "Don't you Worry 'bout a Thing" and the lovely and teary ballad "All is Fair in Love." This is Stevie delivering proof of his multi-instrumentalist skills and his peculiar flair for making a beat irresistible and melodies memorable, and doing it all on his own. Innervisions was released in August 1973 and remained deservedly high on the charts throughout '74.