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This Ain't Livin'

Posted : 6 months, 1 week ago on 24 February 2014 05:59

What we have here is Marvin Gaye's masterpiece. it's been hailed at that title, and rightfully so since it was first released in 1971. After his duo partner Tammi Terrell's sad death, Marvin set the pace to release a culturally significant album that tackles the issues of back then and current day events; Ranging from poverty and ghetto live to environmental awareness, all the way to the brutally honest lyrics that are paved all over this masterpiece. Make no mistake - it deserves every bit of the praise it gets. A lot of people don't seem to understand the album and they call it "overrated" cause they fail to understand any of the problem that Marvin is talking about in the songs, and that don't really surprise me since most Americans don't even like to read when such shit like 50 Shades of Grey and The Da Vinci Code are hailed as 'genius' so I can't expect them to understand real shit like this album that don't hide behind a false perception of reality being all nice and happy.

The album opens with the title track of course and it's gut wrenching lyrics that shake your heart down with reality. To the surprise of most Motown albums, this one has some very nice instrumentation here that finally utilizes Marvin's beautiful vocals, unlike his earlier albums from the 60's that followed the same cookie cutter production. On here, the music blends nicely between the string arrangements and alto sax coming in to play solos. The song follows into what could be called a Part II with What's Happening Brother. Yet again, Marvin's lyrics are key here as he pushes the problems of society and don't leave anything out in describe the hell it is.

Most of the album likes to fade the song in and out of one another and that's what happens on the entire first half (the A side of LP in other terms)as the album quickly goes into Flying High In The Friendly Sky which serves as a prelude to the short sad ballad God Save The Children. Following these two songs are God Is Love and Mercy Mercy Me that can accurately be stated as more fade in medley songs that sound perfect going together lyrically and musically arranged. Mercy Mercy Me is a beautiful song and has what could possibly be the most awesome sax solo on a Marvin album. The lyrics go into the environmental damage of the world and pollution. (I'm just waiting on some crazy conspiracy theorist to argue it being a song about "chemtrails")

Right On is one of the most honest lyrical songs you'll ever hear and it reigns supreme on this album with it's lovely piano melodies and laid back rhythm. Easily the most 'happy' sounding song on the entire album when it comes to the mood here. The piano drives the song and it sounds very impressive.

Finally the album goes into Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) and it couldn't have ended with a better song to close the book from where the title started. This song is my favorite and I believe all of us knows exactly what he's speaking of - living paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by, can't pay taxes, bills stacking up sky high. It hits close to home and is very easy to sing along to, cause don't we all just want to holler and throw up our hands too? The album ends with a nice coda to top it all off with the end of this song.

The remaster of this record adds two bonus tracks that were B sides to the singles. There is a single edit of God Is Love that turns the song into a more radio friendly ballad (typical Motown production for the single). The other bonus track is Sad Tomorrows which is really just an alternate version of Flying High In The Friendly Sky and isn't really important, but it's cool to have for the sake of it.

Overrated or Underrated?: Neither
What The Rating Should Be: 10 out of 10
Is This Album Worth The Money?: it runs around 4-8 dollars, and that is an easy yes.

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What's Going On review

Posted : 2 years, 11 months ago on 5 October 2011 04:40

Sublime and heavenly music wafting through the inner cities. He asked what was going on but knew what the answer was and composed this album. Soul with a capital 'S'.

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