Remastered reissues of Gaye's meditations on big and little deaths
LET’S GET IT ON
What’s Going On routinely tops critics’ polls, albeit for the wrong reasons. It is the documentation of a confused mind wishing to find its place in a hostile world. Gaye talks with his sibling in Vietnam (“What’s Happening Brother”) and seeks salvation in God (“Wholly Holy”) but his reverie is tempered by brutal reality (“Inner City Blues”). Global and personal anguish were never so exquisitely conveyed.
Gaye turned his attention to the carnal on ’73’s Let’s Get It On. His deliberations on the boundaries between love and sex are beautifully sung but undermined by conventional MOR arrangements, bar its two great set pieces: the lamentation of “Distant Lover” and the shattering “Just To Keep You Satisfied”, which could serve as a requiem for humanity.