Stevie Wonder – Hotter than July (1980/2014) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Stevie Wonder – Hotter than July (1980/2014)

FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 45:45 minutes | 956 MB | Gerne: R&B
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Unknown | Artwork: Front cover | Label: © Motown Records

Jam until the break of dawn! Released in 1980, Stevie Wonder’s brilliant Hotter Than July followed up with a bang a film soundtrack that witnessed the end of the legendary artist’s “Classic Period.” And how. Excited after meeting Bob Marley, Wonder embraced reggae’s sunnier feel and colorful look on the album, which yielded four Top Ten singles in the U.K. and three charting singles in the U.S. Hotter Than July remains the peerless composer’s last true masterpiece.

Possessing a slightly faster and jam-oriented direction that Wonder’s other trademark efforts, the record finds the singer doing what he does best: Crafting memorable arrangements and addictive grooves, all the while ignoring the musical trends that surrounded him at the time. Wonder flirts with a disco pulse on “All I Do,” yet the main attractions relate to his irrepressible soulfulness. Rather than play everything himself, he switches up his prior methods by employing all-star backing choirs and abundant rhythm sections that grace songs with insouciant tunefulness and buoyant hooks. More than a dozen backing vocalists (including Michael Jackson, Eddie Levert, and Angela Winbush) as well as multiple handclap percussionists are involved in the process.
Historically, Hotter Than July not only marks a return to form, but a launching pad for the now-observed Martin Luther King holiday. With the anthemic “Happy Birthday,” Wonder issued a call to action and ultimately, got it. The song is line with the mood of the majority of the album: celebratory, positive, and lively. Wonder, however, doesn’t abandon his penchant for social critique, as “Cash In Your Face” stands as a protest against housing discrimination. Simply put, Hotter Than July has it all, and more than 30 years after its original release, continues to burn brightly.

Four years after the pinnacle of Stevie Wonder’s mid-’70s typhoon of classic albums, Hotter Than July was the proper follow-up to Songs in the Key of Life (his Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants concept record was actually a soundtrack to an obscure movie that fared miserably in theaters). It also found Wonder in a different musical climate than the one that savored his every move from 1972 to 1977. Disco and new wave had slowly crept their way into the mainstream record-buying public, and hindered the once-ample room for socially and politically charged lyrics. However, Wonder naysayed the trends and continues to do what he did best. Solid songwriting, musicianship, and production are evident in the majority of Hotter Than July. Wonder also carries on his tradition of penning songs normally not associated with his trademark sound, from the disco-tinged “All I Do” (originally planned to be released by Tammi Terrell almost ten years previously) to the reggae-influenced smash “Master Blaster (Jammin),” which went straight to the top of the R&B charts. While admittedly there are a few less-than-standard tracks, he closes the album on an amazing high note with one of the most aching ballads in his canon (“Lately”) and a touching anthem to civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Happy Birthday”). While most definitely not on the same tier as Innervisions or Songs in the Key of Life, Hotter Than July is the portrait of an artist who still had the Midas touch, but stood at the crossroads of an illustrious career. -Rob Theakston

1. Did I Hear You Say You Love Me 04:09
2. All I Do 05:07
3. Rocket Love 04:39
4. I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It 04:39
5. As If You Read My Mind 03:39
6. Master Blaster (Jammin’) 05:08
7. Do Like You 04:25
8. Cash In Your Face 03:59
9. Lately 04:05
10. Happy Birthday 05:56

Stevie Wonder – Vocals, Synthesizer, Drums, Fender Rhodes, Bass Synthesizer, Clavinet, Background Vocals, Arp, Vocoder, Piano, Harpsichord, Celeste, Keyboards, Bass Melodeon, Harmonica, Cabasa, Percussion, Bells, Handclaps, Flute Synthesizer
Nathan Watts – Bass, Background Vocals
Benjamin Bridges – Guitar, Background Vocals
Dennis Davis – Drums
Earl DeRouen – Percussion, Background Vocals
Isaiah Sanders – Fender Rhodes, Background Vocals, Pianet
Hank Redd – Saxophone, Handclaps
Robert Malach – Saxophone
Larry Gittens – Trumpet
Nolan A. Smith Jr. – Trumpet
Paul Riser – String Arrangement
Hank Devito – Steel Guitar
Rick Zunigar – Guitar
Background Vocals – Angela Winbush, Mary Lee Whitney Evans, Susaye Greene Brown, Alexandra Brown Evans, Shirley Brewer, Ed Brown, Charlie Collins, Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Michael Jackson, Jamil Raheem, Betty Wright, Ronnie J. Wilson, Charles K. Wilson, Syreeta Wright, Marva Holcolm, Melody McCulley, Delores Barnes
Handclaps – Stephanie Andrews, Bill Wolfer, Trevor Lawrence, Dennis Morrison, Kimberly Jackson

Recorded and mixed 1979-80 at Wonderland Studios, Los Angeles, California with the Record Plant Remote Truck. Additional recording at I.A.M. Studios, Irvine, California and Crystal Sound Studios, Hollywood, California.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.