Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/9/2004
  • Label: Universal I.S.
  • UPC: 731453010628
  • Catalog Number: 5301062

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Earth's Creation (4:06)
  2. 2 The First Garden (2:32)
  3. 3 Voyage to India (6:30)
  4. 4 Same Old Story (3:44)
  5. 5 Venus' Flytrap and the Bug (2:25)
  6. 6 Ai No, Sono (2:05)
  7. 7 Seasons (2:54)
  8. 8 Power Flower (5:30)
  9. 9 Send One Your Love (3:05)
  10. 10 Race Babbling (8:52)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Send One Your Love (4:02)
  2. 2 Outside My Window (5:29)
  3. 3 Black Orchid (3:47)
  4. 4 Ecclesiastes (3:48)
  5. 5 Kesse Ye Lolo de Ye (2:59)
  6. 6 Come Back as a Flower (4:58)
  7. 7 Seed's a Star/Tree Medley (5:54)
  8. 8 The Secret Life of Plants (4:16)
  9. 9 Tree (5:47)
  10. 10 Finale (7:02)
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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
Jack Hunt Mastering
Jay Mark Engineer
Gary Olazabal Engineer
Basil Poledouris Composer
Stan Ricker Mastering
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
7Gary Olazabal Engineer
Keith Harris Cover Design
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ethereal wonder

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Stevie proves why he is the Ninth Wonder

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The One that Stevie Forgot

    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.

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