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Hotter Than July
     

Hotter Than July

by Stevie Wonder
 

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Arguably his last great album, HOTTER THAN JULY was the follow-up to Stevie Wonder's two groundbreaking double albums: 1976's magnum opus SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE and 1979's sprawling, ambitious JOURNEY THROUGH THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS. While not as musically

Overview

Arguably his last great album, HOTTER THAN JULY was the follow-up to Stevie Wonder's two groundbreaking double albums: 1976's magnum opus SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE and 1979's sprawling, ambitious JOURNEY THROUGH THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS. While not as musically adventurous as those releases, HOTTER THAN JULY successfully combined the pop sensibility of Wonder's early Motown years with the political candor he'd recently developed. The album sizzles with both romantic and political passion. Wonder celebrates black leadership on the sensual, reggae-splashed homage to Bob Marley,"Master Blaster (Jammin')," and the exultant "Happy Birthday," a plea to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a nationally recognized holiday. These political send-ups mesh with soulful, synth-based love songs such as "All I Do" and the Jodeci-covered tearjerker "Lately." After HOTTER THAN JULY, Wonder wrote several brilliant singles, but this album remains, by far, his most consistent and engaging post-'70s collection.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rob Theakston
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.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/02/2000
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0601215736328
catalogNumber:
157363
Rank:
28897

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stevie Wonder   Primary Artist,Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
Michael Jackson   Vocals
Betty Wright   Vocals
Bob Malach   Saxophone
Bill Wolfer   Vocals
Rick Zunigar   Guitar
Stephanie Andrews   Vocals
Delores Barnes   Vocals
Shirley Brewer   Vocals
Ben Bridges   Guitar,Sitar
Alexandra Brown   Vocals
Eddie "Bongo" Brown   Percussion
Charles Collins   Vocals
Dennis Davis   Drums
Hank DeVito   Steel Guitar
Earl DeRouen   Vocals
Larry Gittens   Trumpet
Susaye Greene Brown   Vocals
Marva Holcolm   Vocals
Kimberley Jackson   Vocals
Trevor Lawrence   Saxophone
Eddie Levert   Vocals
Melody McCully   Vocals
Dennis Morrison   Vocals
Jamil Raheem   Vocals
Hank Redd   Saxophone
Paul Riser   Strings
Isaiah Sanders   Keyboards
Nolan Andrew Smith   Trumpet
Mary Lee Whitney   Vocals
Walter Williams   Vocals
Charlie Wilson   Vocals
Angela Winbush   Vocals
Syreeta Wright   Vocals
Nathan Watts   Vocals

Technical Credits

Gary Olazabal   Engineer
Paul Riser   Arranger
Harry Weinger   Reissue Producer
Stevie Wonder   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Mathieu Bitton   Reissue Design
Harper   Illustrations

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