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Midnight Love & the Sexual Healing Sessions
Genres: Pop, R&B, Soundtracks
This set's first disc is a sparkling upgrade of Gaye's final album. Hardly as frivolous as the artist claimed in the David Ritz-penned biography Divided Soul, 1982's Midnight Love finds an assured-sounding Gaye melding wit... more »
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This set's first disc is a sparkling upgrade of Gaye's final album. Hardly as frivolous as the artist claimed in the David Ritz-penned biography Divided Soul, 1982's Midnight Love finds an assured-sounding Gaye melding with smooth, rhythmically dense tracks; the thoughtful smash "Sexual Healing" is hardly the only masterwork here. "Third World Girl" nods toward Bob Marley, "Joy" perfectly captures Gaye's trademark urgency, and "Turn On Some Music" is a sex song worthy of "Let's Get It On." The second CD's archaeology sometimes gets tiring (anyone for an "alternate 12-inch instrumental" of "Sexual Healing"?) but turns up the occasional winner (the a cappella version of that song). A must for soul students and those who just want to seduce--or be seduced. --Rickey Wright
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One of Many Albums Overshadowed by Michael Jackson
Timothy Pernell | Saratoga, North Carolina, USA | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When you think of Marvin Gaye, CBS Records and the year 1982, you think of these things:
1.) Marvin was now 43 years old at this point
2.) Marvin had been in exile from U.S. soil in three years
3.) Marvin hadn't had a big hit since 1977
4.) Marvin had just left Motown
5.) CBS was starting to get into a overhaul for new records from Billy Joel among others
6.) Younger artists like Rick James, Luther Vandross, Prince, Cameo, and the Gap Band had taken over the airwaves once dominated by Gaye and Stevie Wonder, who was still atop the pop music world around this time
7.) Michael Jackson was releasing an upcoming album in the months following the release of this record
8.) Marvin was considered a "has-been" and "old" at this point
9.) Marvin had just gotten out of a drug addiction
10.) Marvin was given doubts he would return back to the top
Despite these obstacles and more, somehow, some way, and UNBELIVABLY... and tragically for the last time on this earth, Marvin Gaye gave it his all and more. With the release of "Midnight Love", he calmly let his music and vocal prowess do the talking.
With "Midnight Love", Marvin learned how to mesh in contemporary R&B styles with his classic soul and rhythm and blues sound. Each track display an emulation of a sound that had already been established by other artists but mesh brilliantly by the Prince of Soul:
1.) Midnight Lady was a tribute to the overflowing horn sounds and conga rhythms of '70s era Earth, Wind & Fire
2.) Sexual Healing, of course, the most original of the joints, brings in a reggae meets disco meets electronica new wave meets classic R&B flow that is as complex as beautiful
3.) Rockin' After Midnight had the feel of Cameo and the Gap Band but was less rough as it was smooth and intricate - as always the style of Marvin
4.) 'Til Tomorrow was classic Marvin with his usual "DON'T GO, GIRL!" stance as he had used during some of the classic moments in 1973's "Let's Get It On"
5.) Turn On Some Music is the real tribute to Rick James... but it's less punk-funk... in fact, you can say it's the kind of funk that Rick overdub too many times... Marvin is in a different brand of funk called cool-funk... no one really gives him props for it
6.) Third World Girl has Marvin once again dabbing in reggae and it's a great tribute to reggae legend Bob Marley
7.) Joy was a funk-rock tribute to his father and in the rarest moments of his career, other than Ray Parker, Jr.'s great guitar solo in "I Want You", marked another time Marvin put a guitar solo in a song, it's used perfectly
8.) My Love Is Waiting has Marvin thanking God and his fans before he goes into song and then he goes into that contemporary R&B feel that almost seems as home to Marvin as he was in two decades ago
But that's not the most amazing thing about the album. In this one, Columbia showcases Marvin's making-of efforts into what became "Midnight Love". Some of the songs sounding different than the other. Of course if your biggest hit is "Sexual Healing", they're gonna want to get it all over the album. It's almost redundant but I love hearing the different mixes. Erick Sermon got his props to sample Marvin's raw demo of "Turn on Some Music". While "Third World Girl" showcases a mixture of reggae and blues with the harmonica over a deeper-sounding Marvin almost overlapping his vocals down a notch than he's used to.
Overall, it's a great album and recollection of how far Marvin Gaye had gone from where he was and how he got back to the top, if not for one more time.
With the album's release, it debuted atop the Black Albums chart at #1 and at #7 on the Pop Albums chart, his first Top 10 Pop album since 1977's "Live at the London Palladium". It also served him right that "Sexual Healing" would become the artist's biggest hit of his recording career and 22 years later, it's still a classic... never overrated or overplayed. It won Gaye two Grammy's when he should've received a Grammy for throughout his 2-decade career.
I honestly think if Marvin had stayed over at Belgium and had Michael released his album maybe in EIGHTY-THREE instead of eighty-two then maybe Marvin's album (and other albums released that year) would get bigger props. In today's Grammy's, this album would easily notch a Best R&B Album Grammy nomination or better. It's a shame Marvin didn't get his rightful props until before he really die. But hopefully younger fans who are just getting into Marvin would understand how really talented dude was and how big of a hole he left for R&B artists to fill when he died. Twenty years has passed and no one has really taken the throne.
Long live the prince of soul music."
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 02/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Midnight Love was released in late 1982, no one expected much from it. Marvin Gaye had fallen off the map. Due to his rabid cocaine habit and troubles with taxes, he was living in exile in Belgium. He hadn't recorded an album in three years, hadn't had a hit in five and had left Motown Records after an almost twenty year association. But like the mythical Phoenix, Mr. Gaye rose out of the ashes and released an album equal to anything else he had done in his magnificent career. Spurred on by the biggest song of his career, the album went into the top ten and brought him back as a musical force. The was "Sexual Healing" and it is a stone cold classic. With it's percolating beat, seductive lyrics and smoldering vocals, the song hit number three on the pop charts and spent a staggering ten weeks at number one on the r&b charts. The song won Mr. Gaye his only Grammy Award and was a major triumph. The rest of the album is made of impressive music. "Midnight Lady" is a funky jam that opens up the album and "Turn On Some Music" is another sexy jam. "Joy" is a great and should have been released as a single as it would have certainly been a hit. "Third World Girl" is a reggae flavored song that was a tribute to the late Bob Marley. The second disk is interesting, but a bit repetitive especially with the numerous takes on "Sexual Healing". Midnight Love was a big comeback, but unfortunately was short lived as Mr. Gaye's life was tragically cut short when his life was taken by his father in 1984. The music world lost a giant, but we have his music that will keep his voice alive."
Very soothing and sexy music!
Ramon Grupe Cacho | Makati, Metro Manila, The Philippines | 03/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was so surprised when I saw this combination released. I always wanted all the alternative versions of "Sexual Healing," and I suppose, they're pretty much all here. However, Disc Two in this two disc set claims that all the tracks contained there are previously unreleased tracks, which is very wrong! I purchased the "Alternative Vocal Mix" of Sexual Healing and My Love is Waiting as a 12" release from Old Gold Records Ltd. in London. I've just been looking for other versions, and that's why I ended up purchasing this CD with absolutely no regrets. Check out the "Alternate Instrumental Version" of Sexual Healing, it'll make you melt... instantly."