Stevie Wonder Jon Landau - Essay

Jon Landau

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The range of material on I Was Made to Love Her] is very limited, making it difficult to listen to the album as a whole.

Stevie's … style is essentially a variation on the kind of thing he did on "Uptight," a fine record. On that cut he added to the standard components of a Motown single a very personal lyric, and then sang the whole thing in a driving style from beginning to end. Stevie doesn't go in for dynamics, rhythm changes, or crescendoes, but prefers to sing frenetically for the duration of a piece.

The "Uptight" style continues to be the basis for all of Stevie's recordings, and the title song of his new album, I Was Made to Love Her, is a beautiful example of what Stevie can do using this approach. By far the best cut on the album, it contains a personal, down home lyric, some of Stevie's wild harmonica, and the basic overdrive that characterizes all of his records. (p. 179)

[The] album has all the worst characteristics of the Motown sound with only a very few of the saving graces. The whole thing has a blatantly manufactured quality to it typical of Motown's capacity to crank out albums without giving any thought to experimentation or expanding the range of its artists' capacities. The result is an album of second-rate single material. (p. 180)

Jon Landau, "'I Was Made to Love Her'" (originally published in Rolling Stone, December 14, 1968), in The Rolling Stone Record Review by the editors of Rolling Stone (copyright © 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Pocket Books, 1971, pp. 179-82.