Stevie Wonder Vince Aletti - Essay

Vince Aletti

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Any of the 12 songs on Stevie Wonder's [Signed, Sealed & Delivered] holds more creative singing than you're likely to find in another performer's entire body of work. And while everything may not reach the energy level of the title song, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," there's not a bad cut on the LP. One of the best is a version of Lennon-McCartney's "We Can Work It Out," which had a startling, brand-new vitality even on an early unmixed tape. In its finished state, it's extraordinary.

The rest of the album is original material, most of it written in part by Stevie…. Nearly every number has single potential, but a few rise above the rest: "I Can't Let My Heaven Walk Away" is a beautifully-written Lost Love song ("I accused my angel of being a liar / I said the flesh is weak and guys keep tryin'") that Stevie delivers in fine style—the way he slashes at the work "flesh" in the quoted line is worth the whole cut….

Stevie Wonder shines throughout, yes he does, and joy (takes over me), (p. 48)

Vince Aletti, in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1971; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Issue 74, January 21, 1971.

["Where I'm Coming From" represents Stevie Wonder's] final emergence fror, being just another cog in the Motown hit machine to become a fully-fledged songwriter/musician with something personal and worthwhile to say.

Not that Stevie really ever was just another cog; he has always stood slightly apart, remaining a resolute and instantly recognisable voice through all the successive "sounds" dictated by Motown producers. This album confirms his identity and reveals new depths. It really is impressive with something of a "Sgt Pepper" feel in its conscious use of widely-differing moods and styles and its touches of wry humour…. [This album is] a solid delight.

"Stevie Works Wonders," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), June 19, 1971, p. 40.