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Album Review

Stevie Wonder shocked fans by taking only two years to release his next new non-soundtrack studio album, Characters. Unfortunately, it had long since become clear that Wonder was willing to settle for good pop music without challenging himself to make great pop music. And by now, a big chunk of his formerly mass audience had gotten the message: this was Wonder's first new album to miss the pop Top Five in 15 years. (The black music audience, however, responded far more favorably, as the album topped the R&B charts for seven weeks.) The biggest single was the "Superstition"-like dance track "Skeletons" (number 19 pop, number one R&B), and Wonder also charted with the pretty "You Will Know" and an up-tempo duet with Michael Jackson, "Get It."

Customer Reviews

Overflowing with greatness

Too often, people simply repeat what they have heard said about Stevie's later recordings rather than really listen and make their own minds up. The fact is that this album is simply outstanding, and features a number of songs that are just as powerful as those on 'Innervisions' and 'Songs in the Key of Life' - namely 'With Each Beat of My Heart', 'One of a Kind' and 'Cryin' Through the Night'. An essential record in any collection of Stevie's wonderful music.

Good, without ever being great.

This is by no means one of Stevie Wonder's great works of art. However, once you get past the fact that this isn't Innervisions, you are still left with a highly listenable album. "You Will Know" and "With Every Beat of My Heart" are the kind of flawless slow numbers that Wonder can write in his sleep, while staying streets ahead of most of the competition. "Dark 'n' Lovely" and In "Your Corner" are two well paced movers that were never going to set the world alight, but are still good enough melody wise to stick in your head hours after you listened to them. For me the highlights are the funky numbers "Get it" and "Skeletons." The former, a duet with Michael Jackson wouldn't have sounded out of place on Jackson's Bad album, released at around the same time as Characters back in 1987, while "Skeletons", a deserved R&B chart topper in the states, kicks in a way that is out of synch with most of the album, and yet still works. chances are, if you are anything less than a huge Stevie Wonder fan, this album and it's songs will be totally new to you, and for that reason alone it's worth the purchase, because while it isn't his best work, its far too good to be ignored.


Brilliant album Skeletons is the main reason for purchase as I previously heard it in the second GTA V trailer


Born: 13 May 1950 in Saginaw, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Stevie Wonder is a much-beloved American icon and an indisputable genius not only of R&B but popular music in general. Blind virtually since birth, Wonder's heightened awareness of sound helped him create vibrant, colorful music teeming with life and ambition. Nearly everything he recorded bore the stamp of his sunny, joyous positivity; even when he addressed serious racial, social, and spiritual issues (which he did quite often in his prime), or sang about heartbreak and romantic uncertainty, an...
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