Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants

Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants

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by Stevie Wonder
     
 

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Stevie Wonder broke a three-year silence, one that followed a series of six classic albums released within six years, with this double album, the score/soundtrack to a little-seen environmental documentary directed by Wild Bunch co-screenwriter Walon Green. From the release of Songs in the Key of Life through the

Overview

Stevie Wonder broke a three-year silence, one that followed a series of six classic albums released within six years, with this double album, the score/soundtrack to a little-seen environmental documentary directed by Wild Bunch co-screenwriter Walon Green. From the release of Songs in the Key of Life through the release of Plants, Wonder had been active, actually, but only as a collaborator, working with Ramsey Lewis, the Pointer Sisters, Minnie Riperton, Syreeta, Ronnie Foster, and Michael Jackson. Even so, three years was a considerable lag between albums. Anticipation was so high that this release peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 and R&B album charts. It quickly slipped to footnote status; when Wonder's 1972-1980 albums were reissued in 2000, it was left out of the program. Plants is a sprawling, fascinating album. Though it is dominated by synthesizer-heavy instrumental pieces with evocative titles, there is a handful of full-blown songs. The gorgeous, mostly acoustic ballad "Send One Your Love" was a Top Ten R&B single, while the joyous "Outside My Window" registered in the Top 60. Beyond that, there's the deep classic "Come Back as a Flower," a gently lapping, piano-led ballad featuring Syreeta on vocals. Otherwise, there are playfully oddball tracks like "Venus' Flytrap and the Bug," where Wonder chirps "Please don't eat me!" through robotizing effects, and "A Seed's a Star," which incorporates crowd noise, a robotized monologue, and a shrieking Tata Vega over a funkier and faster version of Yellow Magic Orchestra. The album is not for everyone, but it suited its purpose and allowed its maker an amount of creative wiggle room that few major-label artists experience.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/09/2004
Label:
Universal I.S.
UPC:
0731453010628
catalogNumber:
5301062
Rank:
23159

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stevie Wonder   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Voices,Multi Instruments,Shekere
Syreeta   Vocals,Background Vocals
Rick Zunigar   Guitar,Background Vocals
Tata Vega   Vocals
Michael Sembello   Guitar,Vocals
Lamine Konte   Percussion,Vocals,Kora
Gordon Bahary   Synthesizer
Shirley Brewer   Background Vocals
Ben Bridges   Guitar,Sitar
Alexandra Brown   Vocals,Background Vocals
Ibrahim Camara   Percussion,Conga,Drums,Bass Drums,Vocals,Bells,Djembe,Jimbae
Kathy Collier   Vocals
Dennis Davis   Drums,Syndrum
Earl DeRouen   Bongos,Conga,Vocals,Background Vocals
John Fischbach   Synthesizer
Larry Gittens   Trumpet
Susaye Greene Brown   Vocals
Marva Holcolm   Vocals,Background Vocals
Josie James   Vocals
Joe Johnson   Vocals
Ron Kersey   Keyboards,fender rhodes
Gary Olazabal   Synthesizer
Hank Redd   Saxophone
Isaiah Sanders   Background Vocals
Abdoulaye Soumare   Vocals
Angela Winbush   Vocals,Background Vocals
Bill Wolf   Synthesizer
Clark Spangler   Synthesizer
Susaye Greene   Vocals
Nathan Watts   Bass,Vocals
John Taro Akiyama   Vocals
Masaki Hori   Vocals
Kimie Linda Ishibashi   Vocals
Hiroaki Kuwabara   Vocals
Takeshi Kuwabara   Vocals
Takaya Matsuda   Vocals
Kathleen Minagawa   Vocals
Takako Nagumo   Vocals
Hikaru Nishida   Vocals
Satoshi Sugimoto   Vocals
Takeshi Sugimoto   Vocals
Tsuyoshi Tanguchi   Vocals
Junko Taniguchi   Vocals
Joe Johnson   African Bells

Technical Credits

Michael Sembello   Composer
Stephanie Andrews   Composer
Michael Braun   Producer
John Fischbach   Engineer
Jay Mark   Engineer
Gary Olazabal   Engineer
Basil Poledouris   Composer
Abdoulaye Soumare   translation
Stevie Wonder   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Syreeta Wright   Composer
Yvonne Wright   Composer
Ginny Livingston   Artwork
John Cabalka   Art Direction
Christopher Bird   Author
Mary Ann Monkoski   translation
Margo Zafer Nahas   Artwork
7Gary Olazabal   Engineer
Keith Harris   Cover Design

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Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When this album was originally released I had just graduated high school and was a big Stevie fan. I couldn't wait for it to come out. I was not disappointed. It is not an album you will hear on the radio or in dance clubs. It is far better than that. It was the precusor of "New Age Music" and "World Music". It includes at least 2 of the best songs Stevie has ever written in "Black Orchid" and "Same Old Story". And maybe even most importantly, it gave us information about the world of plants and how important they are to us (not we to them!) for our survival in this world. Besides the afore mentioned songs others to listen and pay close attention to are "The First Garden" "Voyage to India", "Venus Flytrap and the Bug", "Tree" and of course, "Finale". Do yourself a favor, BUY THIS RECORD and open your minds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
when this came out nobody liked it. i guess people liked rick james better than this project. this was a creative project that is so underrated. if songs in the key of life was his tommy, then plants was his quadrophenia. in the box set at the close of a century they picked out send one your love the vocal version and i liked it. it was not the follow up the stupid motwon bosses wanted but stevie follwed with the diverse hotter than july. it's sad the music world died with all the rap stuff and the disgusting diva parade but i finally found the album that was in danger of being out of print. i liked diverse albums than stupid commercial albums. as i get sick of the hits i put this on and relax.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the album that Stevie seemed to have forgotten. He doesn't do any of the songs fro this album in any of his concerts. This album is the turning point of the the Wonderman's career. He was riding high on a string of number one producing albums since Music Of My mind. This album had been the anticpated follow up of Songs In the Key Of life. Berry Gordy had asked him to release an accompanying album with it and he refused. He regretted that decision and tried to make up in the next album Hotter Than July. Still, I believe this is some of his best work. If you can take the time out to really listen to this album you will find the gems which I have found. Songs pouring from Stevie's innovative mind. These were met with confusion and rejection even though the album reached #4 on the charts. Songs like Same old Story are pure and clever. He displays the creative newness that we all enjoyed on the seven previous albums and seemed to transcend our understanding. This album is a great one and deserves a second listen. Syreeta does a great job and Come Back As and everyone involved seemed taken with the porject. You will also become infected with Venus Flytrap and the bug. The last six songs are the last of the real Stevie every released. Everthing since then have been pure formulated hits. This album marks the close of his vibrance and spontenaety. The songs are classics and reflect the times when he was enjoying true freedom to recreate himself. Outside my window is a perfect example of this. The last three songs will blow you away with their unabashed purity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the few Stevie Wonder Albums that was not what you'd call his greatest albums. This came out during the time when Stevie was embarking on a nationwide tour and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in person. During the performance, which lasted well over 3 hours of just his music, he preformed some of the songs from this album, and to see the actual scenes from the movie that matched the music was a sight to behold. That night convinced that we had just began to see what Stevie Wonder was capable of as an artist and a man. There are several songs on this recording that are note worthy, but one song really stuck out in my mind, "Venus' Flytrap and the Bug". Not because it is a dance tune but it shows how Mr. Wonder had began his new turn toward a more jazz infused, funk styled music. His usage of the stand-up bass with the keyboard being the second instrument and the jazz styled drum beat showed that he was about to embark into a whole new musical direction. Clearly, this was the beginning of the next coming of the Wonder. i.e. He is using his given name more now that ever before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Stevie Wonder released Secret Life Of Plants in 1979, the world wasn't expecting it. His Fans especially weren't. That is probably why the album was overlooked the way it was. It is one of those rare pieces of music that doesn't just reflect the music environment it's in but also advances it. It was the first "world music" album drove electronic even more to the forefront. I personally call it his "classical album". Stand out traditional songs are "The First Garden" which uses animal sounds to represent the first song sang on Earth, "Come Back As A Flower", "Venus Fly Trap" (very jazzy, walking bass and all), "Same Old Story" and one of the best songs he's ever written, "Black Orchid". Do your self a favor, buy this album and REALLY listen to it. You won't be disappointed.