Stevie Wonder Takes Us Through the Secret Life of Plants

Perhaps I’ve just been sleeping all this time, but today, the third day of spring in 2012 I decided it was the right time to listen to this soundtrack album Stevie delivered in 1979. I have been putting of the listening of this record for a few weeks now, but alas I must finish my discography listening of the man and it was that time. I couldn’t have been more judgmental and now more excited for what I discovered.

It would be impossible not to draw some connections to the changing of the seasons, the beautiful day we are receiving here in Seattle and the sounds found on this record. Created as a soundtrack to a documentary of sorts capturing plants growing (about the best description I could find, the film is unavailable), Motown released the music Stevie made for the visuals as his follow up to Songs in the Key of Life – a move that shocks me considering the critical and commercial acclaim he was coming off of.

The music here strikes me in multiple ways. Hearing an overall instrumental piece of work from Stevie at this point in time is phenomenal. Here he is, at the peak of his success, quite possibly creativity as well and he makes a double disc piece of work that is mostly sans his voice! It’s experimental in all the right ways, seeing him try out different rhythms and instrumentation. It’s bouncy and fun, there are moments when you would be convinced you had just been teleported into the latest dusty dubby tune out of London. He plays with his synthesizers and stretches out, not restricted by any kind of guidelines or pressure for a certain level of success.

In my listening through of Stevie’s discography (I’m looking at twenty left) this is a record that has received little attention. As an avid record collector, I don’t feel like I’ve seen it out in my digging excursions, nor do I know of anyone who owns it. Perhaps it’s been overlooked as a throw away, a confusing piece of work from an artist at a time in his career when the fans and critics weren’t looking for anything that would rock the boat of normal. Today though? Why not try something new. Don’t ever trust anything but your ears.

Buy Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants here.

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