Stevie Wonder Robert Christgau - Essay

Robert Christgau

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The first notes of Songs in the Key of Life waft up from a choir of humming colored folks who might be refugees from Vincente Minnelli's Cabin in the Sky. Their music is mellifluous, placid, and elevated; it seems to epitomize (as black critic Donald Bogle wrote of Cabin in the Sky) "ersatz Negro folk culture … passed off as the real thing." The catch is that this ersatz culture may be the real thing….

Fallacious or not, questions of intention arise immediately, as they so often do in popular culture. In order to understand what is actually going on here we are well-advised to try to determine what is supposed to be going on. So if we've forgotten for a moment who this...

(The entire section is 1250 words.)