Stevie Wonder John Rockwell - Essay

John Rockwell

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Stevie Wonder] isn't consistent; he has a distressing predilection for cosmic meanderings and soupy sentimentality. But listening to his albums in sequence is an instructive experience; it indicates that Wonder is perhaps most comfortable as a live performer and that his gifts are more constrained by the confines of the studio than those of some artists, and it suggests that the supposedly sharp break in his career around 1971—when he reached legal maturity and renegotiated his Motown contract to obtain a far-reaching artistic freedom—needs to be partially reevaluated. Certainly the post-1971 Wonder records are more innovative than those that preceded them. But the same polarities in his art can be observed from...

(The entire section is 576 words.)