Since What's Going On in 1971, Marvin Gaye has proven himself the most brilliant and complex thinker in contemporary black popular music. He's succeeded at bringing ideas beyond the novel to a form from which we expect wonderfully sung but simple passions, and the successes have expanded the music itself. The result has been the development of a personal language at ease with gospel quartet crooning, despairing gutteral moans that slide back into the delta, the purple-hearted street-corner falsetto, and the silken sound of elegant erotic ambition.
His is a talent for which the studio must have been invented. Through overdubbing, Gaye imparted lyric, rhythmic, and emotional counterpoint to his...
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