When he reached the age of majority, former child prodigy Stevie Wonder renegotiated a contract with Motown Records that granted him creative independence. This was big news as a business move — but when you’re dealing with perhaps the purest raw talent in pop music, “independence” takes on another meaning. His first release under these terms, Music Of My Mind, demonstrated that Wonder could work as a truly self-contained unit — writing and producing all the songs, and playing virtually all the instruments, entirely alone. His next album, Talking Book, secured his position as the reigning genius of his era. With earth-shaking funk (“Superstition”), candy-coated pop (“You Are the Sunshine of My Life”), and an emotional range from the blues of “Maybe Your Baby” to the soaring exuberance of “I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever),” in a career full of classics, Talking Book is Stevie’s most perfect album.
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