1973, Music

Let’s Get It On (1973) by Marvin Gaye

This is not my genre of soul music. But the record is so famous that it is kind of hard to deny it the same way I might deny a Philly Soul record that most of the world has forgotten about.

The title track is justly famous and, if you go for this sort of thing, it’s a classic of its genre. It is too damn smooth, but that is sort of the point for most people, I suspect.

The remaining songs are just not up to that standard, though a few of them are close. Gaye’s songwriting is love- and sex-obsessed, as you might have guessed by the title of this record. That’s not really my thing in terms of lyrics, but this record is about lyrics in a different sense than the way I normally enjoy or appreciate lyrics.

They are subservient to the vibe, you might say. And to that end, Gaye has created what you might call a sumptuous record, or a lush record, a record that feels like you’re in a rich man’s bedroom, while he’s trying to seduce you. That’s some kind of aural accomplishment, I think, and it’s certainly more of an accomplishment than just the run-of-the-mill smooth soul sound.

But it is still smooth as fuck, and so damn polished. If I am going to listen to a record about a man wanting to have sex with women, I’ll take James Brown’s version over Marvin Gaye’s any day of the week.

Well done, but not my thing at all.

7/10

  1. “Let’s Get It On” (Marvin Gaye, Ed Townsend) 4:44
  2. “Please Stay (Once You Go Away)” (Gaye, Townsend) 3:32
  3. “If I Should Die Tonight” (Gaye, Townsend) 3:57
  4. “Keep Gettin’ It On” (Gaye, Townsend) 3:12
  5. “Come Get to This” (Gaye) 2:40
  6. “Distant Lover” (Gaye, Gwen Gordy, Sandra Greene) 4:15
  7. “You Sure Love to Ball” (Gaye) 4:43
  8. “Just to Keep You Satisfied” (Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover) 4:35
  • Arrangement, Conduction (Orchestra): David Van De Pitte (tracks: 5 to 6, 8), Gene Page (track: 5), René Hall (tracks: 1 to 4), David Blumberg (track: 7)
  • Bass: James Jamerson, Wilton Felder
  • Bongos: Bobbye Hall Porter
  • Bongos, Drums: Eddie “Bongo” Brown
  • Drums: Paul Humphrey, Uriel Jones
  • Guitar: David T. Walker, Eddie Willis, Lewis Shelton, Melvin Ragin, Robert White, Don Peake
  • Percussion (Mallettes): Emil Richards
  • Percussion (Special Treatment): Bobbye Hall Porter, Ernie Watts, Plas Johnson
  • Piano: Joe Sample, Marvin Gaye, Marvin Jerkins
  • Production, lead vocals, background vocals: Marvin Gaye,
  • Background vocals: The Originals (“Just to Keep You Satisfied”)
  • Vibraphone: Emil Richards, Victor Feldman

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