Monday, September 16, 2013
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye (1971)
"Talk to me, so you can see what's going on."
I have been spinning (but for some reason not writing about) a LOT of good music lately. Actually, I've been spinning a lot of required listening lately -- from Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home" to R.E.M's "Document" -- and it has been a blast. But something magical happened when I played this record. This LP is beyond required, it's soul-enriching.
"What's Going On" is a record for all times that is absolutely of it's time. This work details one individual's account of a very specific struggle, and yet it is as universally relatable as any art could ever hope to be. Inner City Blues rings true forty years later to a country boy in Kentucky.
This is what happens when an iconoclastic artist has so much to say that words alone won't suffice. There is a feel -- an essence -- to these recordings that seeps into the core of your being and just hovers there, acknowleding and daming all the problems while simultaneously assuring you that it's going to get better.
"What's Going On" is brimming with unabashed, profound humanity. It shows the best of what we can be by shining a light on the worst.