The basic “problem” with Stevie Wonder is this: By age 26, he had accomplished everything any musician could hope to accomplish. Hit singles we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives? Started doing that around age 13. Artistic accomplishment? He effortlessly wove new sounds into R&B without losing sight of the past (case in point: Sir Duke, released on his two-LP set Songs in the Key of Life in 1976). Meaningful songs that resonate in society and make people think? I think Superstition and Higher Ground should cover it.
So I guess we can forgive I Just Called to Say I Love You and an awkwardly staged halftime show, if only because he was able to sneak a little bit of Living in the City before a national TV audience. (Has anyone ever written a line that better captures a character than “Her clothes are old but never are they dirty”?)
Housekeeping note: I might not be blogging much the next three weeks. Well, I’ll be blogging, just not here. I’ve off to Torino tomorrow. Sure, I’ll have Net access, but it’s safe to say the epic post on the decline of rock guitar playing will have to wait until March.