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  1. #1

    Is it me or is Marvin Gaye's music post Let's Get It On pretty damn bad?

    Just like the majority of you, I also grew up with Marvin Gaye, I was born in 1959 [[so a baby boomer) and I've been listening to Marvin Gaye since the Moods Of Marvin Gaye record and my fandom started from there.

    I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye records yesterday and I truly feel like his music post Let's Get It On is pretty damn bad... Now I understand what he was going through from 1976 onwards but I Want You, Here My Dead, In Our Lifetime etc are just so poor, the quality drop is insane.

    To me Marvin Gaye's peak was from 1966 - 1973 from Moods Of Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On.

    What do you all think?
    Last edited by MichaelSherry59; 08-25-2021 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake

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    Couldn't agree more

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    My fave Marvin solo is 1962-1966 then his duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston & Tammi Terrell."Stubborn Kind of Fellow" is my all time fave Marvin Gaye record!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    My fave Marvin solo is 1962-1966 then his duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston & Tammi Terrell."Stubborn Kind of Fellow" is my all time fave Marvin Gaye record!
    What did you think of his duet record with Diana Ross?

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    Nobody remains at peak form in their career indefinitely. The world was changing, music
    was changing and Marvin was changing. With What's Goin' On he was setting trends but
    by the time of In My Lifetime he was following them. At the same time still trying to
    negotiate all the emotional turmoil that was his life. I don't waste my time complaining
    about the weaknesses of some material in later years because nothing invalidates the
    strength of say, Distant Lover or Inner City Blues. I Want You was not a bad album, either, IMO. After The Dance and Since I Had You were favorites with my crew. Even
    Hear My Dear produced I Met A Little Girl and Everybody Needs Love. Marvin gave all
    he had. For me that was more than enough...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    Just like the majority of you, I also grew up with Marvin Gaye, I was born in 1959 [[so a baby boomer) and I've been listening to Marvin Gaye since the Moods Of Marvin Gaye record and my fandom started from there.

    I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye records yesterday and I truly feel like his music post Let's Get It On is pretty damn bad... Now I understand what he was going through from 1976 onwards but I Want You, Here My Dead, In My Lifetime etc are just so poor, the quality drop is insane.

    To me Marvin Gaye's peak was from 1966 - 1973 from Moods Of Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On.

    What do you all think?
    The last Marvin Gaye album that I really liked from start to finish is I Want You. I only liked a few cuts from Here, My Dear, In Our Lifetime? & Midnight Love [with 'Sexual Healing' as his last great single]. And I'll add that Moods Of Marvin Gaye is his first good album of the '60s [and one that has both Marvin's Soul Hits of that time along with some of his mainstream ballad material]. Now if the last album by Marvin that you liked was Let's Get It On, that's just the way it is [and there's nothing wrong with that].
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 08-26-2021 at 10:31 AM.

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    I can handle " I want. you " but not interested in anything later on.

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    A personal perspective.....

    For me, Marvin’s greatest strengths are in what he did with material rather than as a songwriter per se. This is what brought him success in the 60s, and a lot of his better material from 1971 onwards also arose from collaborations.

    In the end, I see What’s Going On as a true creative pinnacle and a personal favourite. It starts with a new musical idea and then follows that with a whole album of new material that’s arranged, produced and mixed in a new way. No filler from start to finish.

    Trouble Man is also a favourite of mine. It’s not a conventional album by any means, but, again, it’s musically novel in some respects.

    Let’s Get It On isn’t far behind WGO, and it’s an album that launched lots of musical imitators. It is, however, a bit of a hotchpotch, with every second of “Let’s Get It On” mercilessly wrung out to give us “Keep Getting’ It On”, and with a few older tracks pulled out of the can and finished. They’re great tracks, but they demonstrate that Marvin wasn’t really that prolific as a songwriter. This is in stark contrast with Stevie Wonder, who was creatively non-stop from 1971 onwards, and who just kept churning out great songs not only for himself but also for other artists.

    I Want You is great, but it’s as much Leon Ware as Marvin Gaye, and it’s the amalgamation of those two visions that makes it what it is. Some of the lyrics are hard to make out, but that is, perhaps, part of its style and longer term appeal. The groove was king on this album. This is also the album where Marvin’s multi-layered harmonies hit a luscious creative peak. Again, however, it mercilessly wrings every second out the title track with a number of instrumental reprises. Whether this is an artistic decision or a commercial one, I’m not sure. We also get a pointless instrumental version of “After The Dance” as filler.

    Hear My Dear is, to me, a cheaply produced one-sided semi-rant; plus it’s one half of a marital row being aired in public, which isn’t always a good thing. There are some good moments in it, but there’s also a lot of meandering over a few chord changes that doesn’t really catch my heart. The remixes on the 2CD Deluxe Edition improve things, but the paucity of classic material, the sparsity of the instrumentation, and the sparsity of those classic background harmonies are all still there to disappoint me.

    In Our Lifetime has grown on me over the years. OK, it’s not full of WGO-level songs or production, but it does have an ensemble of great musicians playing some great music over some great grooves. There’s some true musical energy there and a nice, fresh and clean-sounding mix. For me, it’s an album that slowly insinuates itself across repeated plays, and it gets more plays from me in the 21st century than I might have originally expected on first listen back in 1980.

    For me, Midnight Love has two really good tracks – “Sexual Healing” and “’Til Tomorrow”, and the first of these launched another raft of imitators. I always wished that he’d used more real musicians on this album, but that wasn’t to be.

    A missed opportunity was the idea that gave rise to Vulnerable. This unfinished album shows what Marvin could do with material, including over-the-top and old-fashioned arrangements for a proposed late 60s album of ballads. Isn’t hindsight annoying and sad?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    I can handle " I want. you " but not interested in anything later on.
    Personally I just love the Vulnerable album.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sotosound View Post
    A missed opportunity was the idea that gave rise to Vulnerable. This unfinished album shows what Marvin could do with material, including over-the-top and old-fashioned arrangements for a proposed late 60s album of ballads. Isn’t hindsight annoying and sad?
    I agree! I remember hearing Vulnerable when it first came out and I liked it much more than Here, My Dear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sotosound View Post
    A personal perspective.....

    For me, Marvin’s greatest strengths are in what he did with material rather than as a songwriter per se. This is what brought him success in the 60s, and a lot of his better material from 1971 onwards also arose from collaborations.

    In the end, I see What’s Going On as a true creative pinnacle and a personal favourite. It starts with a new musical idea and then follows that with a whole album of new material that’s arranged, produced and mixed in a new way. No filler from start to finish.

    Trouble Man is also a favourite of mine. It’s not a conventional album by any means, but, again, it’s musically novel in some respects.

    Let’s Get It On isn’t far behind WGO, and it’s an album that launched lots of musical imitators. It is, however, a bit of a hotchpotch, with every second of “Let’s Get It On” mercilessly wrung out to give us “Keep Getting’ It On”, and with a few older tracks pulled out of the can and finished. They’re great tracks, but they demonstrate that Marvin wasn’t really that prolific as a songwriter. This is in stark contrast with Stevie Wonder, who was creatively non-stop from 1971 onwards, and who just kept churning out great songs not only for himself but also for other artists.

    I Want You is great, but it’s as much Leon Ware as Marvin Gaye, and it’s the amalgamation of those two visions that makes it what it is. Some of the lyrics are hard to make out, but that is, perhaps, part of its style and longer term appeal. The groove was king on this album. This is also the album where Marvin’s multi-layered harmonies hit a luscious creative peak. Again, however, it mercilessly wrings every second out the title track with a number of instrumental reprises. Whether this is an artistic decision or a commercial one, I’m not sure. We also get a pointless instrumental version of “After The Dance” as filler.

    Hear My Dear is, to me, a cheaply produced one-sided semi-rant; plus it’s one half of a marital row being aired in public, which isn’t always a good thing. There are some good moments in it, but there’s also a lot of meandering over a few chord changes that doesn’t really catch my heart. The remixes on the 2CD Deluxe Edition improve things, but the paucity of classic material, the sparsity of the instrumentation, and the sparsity of those classic background harmonies are all still there to disappoint me.

    In Our Lifetime has grown on me over the years. OK, it’s not full of WGO-level songs or production, but it does have an ensemble of great musicians playing some great music over some great grooves. There’s some true musical energy there and a nice, fresh and clean-sounding mix. For me, it’s an album that slowly insinuates itself across repeated plays, and it gets more plays from me in the 21st century than I might have originally expected on first listen back in 1980.

    For me, Midnight Love has two really good tracks – “Sexual Healing” and “’Til Tomorrow”, and the first of these launched another raft of imitators. I always wished that he’d used more real musicians on this album, but that wasn’t to be.

    A missed opportunity was the idea that gave rise to Vulnerable. This unfinished album shows what Marvin could do with material, including over-the-top and old-fashioned arrangements for a proposed late 60s album of ballads. Isn’t hindsight annoying and sad?
    You make a lot of good points.
    Marvin himself admitted to being lazy at times. Ed Townsend knew Marvin would kick back and smoke a joint rather than work on material. Trouble Man was his entry into
    the movie soundtrack game which a lot of people was best done in popular music by
    Curtis Mayfield with Superfly and Isaac Hayes with Shaft. Still Trouble Man became a
    jazz standard just over a year after it's release. Stevie Wonder? Forget about trying
    to compare anybody with him...Like the kids say today he has GOAT status...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    What did you think of his duet record with Diana Ross?
    Sorry, I didn't like it.

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    Don't you think HEAR, MY DEAR was recorded hastily and INTENTIONALLY subpar?

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    I don't know if I'd quite say 'bad', but perhaps largely forgettable. A while back I posted a thread asking if Marvin's music still held up [[for me, it largely doesn't) and I was interested that the few replies that the thread received were of the 'Yes! Of COURSE!' variety with no further commentary. Every now and again I'll pick a Marvin lp to listen to and ... just don't make it through. Some good, some great, cuts without a doubt, though. It's my opinion that 'da ganja did Marvin in and sapped way too much of his creativity.

  15. #15
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    Ganja wasn't what got Marvin, it was his own emotional instabilities buried under piles
    of cocaine. He knew he was not well and was risking losing himself. He talked about it,
    wrote and sang about it as early as What's Going On. He had too much trouble through
    much of his life. Despite the triumphs he had too much loss beginning with the death
    of Tammi Terrell all the way to his failed marriages. Still Marvin's music is referenced,
    is played and is covered over and over again today...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    Just like the majority of you, I also grew up with Marvin Gaye, I was born in 1959 [[so a baby boomer) and I've been listening to Marvin Gaye since the Moods Of Marvin Gaye record and my fandom started from there.

    I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye records yesterday and I truly feel like his music post Let's Get It On is pretty damn bad... Now I understand what he was going through from 1976 onwards but I Want You, Here My Dead, In Our Lifetime etc are just so poor, the quality drop is insane.

    To me Marvin Gaye's peak was from 1966 - 1973 from Moods Of Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On.

    What do you all think?
    if you catch me on the right day I May say Here my Dear is my favorite Marvin album - I really like the remixes on the hip o select release

    i never liked the I want you album past the title song

    in our lifetime is the definition of underrated and overlooked

    ive Always said til tomorrow is my least favorite Marvin Gaye song

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Don't you think HEAR, MY DEAR was recorded hastily and INTENTIONALLY subpar?
    Yes! It's been suggested by a few critics that Marvin Gaye did that intentionally so that his ex-wife Anna wouldn't get a lot of money from the sales of that LP. I'd also like to add that Here, My Dear was too long [remember it came out as a two-record set].

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Yes! It's been suggested by a few critics that Marvin Gaye did that intentionally so that his ex-wife Anna wouldn't get a lot of money from the sales of that LP. I'd also like to add that Here, My Dear was too long [remember it came out as a two-record set].
    Not a good career move. Shows that Marvin was a guy with serious issues.

    Is that the way for a lot of great artists, however?

    Are the personality characteristics that allow such open-minded and unfettered creativeness also the same personality characteristics that render a person relatively unstable and not well-suited to the harsh world of commercialism, ego-stroking, and fan adoration?
    Last edited by Sotosound; 08-28-2021 at 12:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sotosound View Post
    Not a good career move. Shows that Marvin was a guy with serious issues.
    Indeed; Marvin Gaye while being one our most beloved artists had a lot of serious issues especially at the time that his ex-wife Anna divorced him. And you can read all about them in the many books that have out since Marvin's tragic murder in 1984 [like David Ritz's Divided Soul or Michael Eric Dyson's Mercy, Mercy Me].

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sotosound View Post
    Are the personality characteristics that allow such open-minded and unfettered creativeness also the same personality characteristics that render a person relatively unstable and not well-suited to the harsh world of commercialism, ego-stroking, and fan adoration?
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of similar stories in the world of music [as well as sports, movies, politics as well as everyday life] to Marvin's where gifted people way lost their way due to adoration, narcotics or commercialism.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Indeed; Marvin Gaye while being one our most beloved artists had a lot of serious issues especially at the time that his ex-wife Anna divorced him. And you can read all about them in the many books that have out since Marvin's tragic murder in 1984 [like David Ritz's Divided Soulor Michael Eric Dyson's Mercy, Mercy Me].
    That book is one of the darkest books about a soul singer I have ever read

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    That book is one of the darkest books about a soul singer I have ever read
    You Said It! I picked up Divided Soul the moment it came out in 1985 and yes, it was one of the darkest [and saddest] stories about an artist. It's too bad that Marvin Gaye did not go into therapy in order to deal with the many demons that he had.

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    Marvin is my favorite male artist of all time. I Want You IMO is as artistically high as LGIO, although I am much more partial to LGIO. "Got To Give It Up" is one of the most enduring dance classics of all time. Here My Dear is artistic expression in it's purest form. Rumors about Marvin's intentions to under perform in order to stick it to Anna aside, the album sounds to me as Marvin letting it all out without any regard for contemporary accolades and public consumption. While the album isn't a particular favorite, I've never understood the overly negative fan reviews. To me Here My Dear is just an extension of WGO, LGIO and IWY, whereby the first one was Marvin lamenting about the world and it's issues, the second and third the joy of sex and love and even a bit of heartbreak. Here My Dear is probably Marvin at his darkest, when love turns into something else.

    In My Lifetime could've been better, but I find that it's still a pretty good listen. Midnight Love is where I'm the most disappointed in Marvin's recorded work. "Sexual Healing" is the only song I love on the album, while "Rockin After Midnight" is the only other song that I might ever play. Marvin's voice deserved better than the tracks he was using. Complete turn off. I fear where he might have gone after that had he lived.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Marvin is my favorite male artist of all time. I Want You IMO is as artistically high as LGIO, although I am much more partial to LGIO. "Got To Give It Up" is one of the most enduring dance classics of all time. Here My Dear is artistic expression in it's purest form. Rumors about Marvin's intentions to under perform in order to stick it to Anna aside, the album sounds to me as Marvin letting it all out without any regard for contemporary accolades and public consumption. While the album isn't a particular favorite, I've never understood the overly negative fan reviews. To me Here My Dear is just an extension of WGO, LGIO and IWY, whereby the first one was Marvin lamenting about the world and it's issues, the second and third the joy of sex and love and even a bit of heartbreak. Here My Dear is probably Marvin at his darkest, when love turns into something else.

    In My Lifetime could've been better, but I find that it's still a pretty good listen. Midnight Love is where I'm the most disappointed in Marvin's recorded work. "Sexual Healing" is the only song I love on the album, while "Rockin After Midnight" is the only other song that I might ever play. Marvin's voice deserved better than the tracks he was using. Complete turn off. I fear where he might have gone after that had he lived.
    Probably would have followed the New Jack Swing trend and incorporate rappers to his music... Soul was dying throughout the 80s sadly

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    Probably would have followed the New Jack Swing trend and incorporate rappers to his music... Soul was dying throughout the 80s sadly
    True. I love New Jack Swing, but I'm pretty sure I would've hated a New Jack Marvin. Maybe had he lived, he would've gotten clean and maybe that would've opened up the floodgates of creativity.

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    I'm such a biased fan so I can't agree that it was awful. But his demons sent him to directions that would’ve been different had he learned to deal with it. Religion, sexual confusion [[both his sexuality and sex appeal), his father, mental instability and drugs really clouded his judgment a lot of times that I can understand why some feel cold about his later material after I Want You.

  27. #27
    I don’t agree, I really like all Marvin’s 70s and 80s albums, the subject matters are interesting, maybe ground breaking and each have their own highlights… I am still amazed that “soon I’ll be loving you again” from “I want you” didn’t get sensor’ed..

    Whilst I also love his 60s material, “in the groove” especially, I would rather listen to Marvin doing his own material than as a roster artist - the same applies to Stevie! To me it’s more personal…

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    Quote Originally Posted by simon.millar View Post
    I don’t agree, I really like all Marvin’s 70s and 80s albums, the subject matters are interesting, maybe ground breaking and each have their own highlights… I am still amazed that “soon I’ll be loving you again” from “I want you” didn’t get sensor’ed..

    Whilst I also love his 60s material, “in the groove” especially, I would rather listen to Marvin doing his own material than as a roster artist - the same applies to Stevie! To me it’s more personal…
    His 70s stuff was RAW!!! He was one of the first Motown artists to gain controversy for his works. And I'm with you on the last bit. 60s Marvin was great but 70s and 80s Marvin was GREATER.

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    I agree with you, Michael. I much prefer Marvin's '60s Motown material over his '70s self-produced albums [[although I do love his "What's Going On" album). I also prefer Stevie's 60s output over his '70s self-produced stuff.

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    I think Marvin’s declining quality of his LPs matched the decline in soul music generally. There were plenty of good LPs out in the early seventies; Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Temptations etc all producing classic albums. But by 1974 the decline had started. Soul music staggered on for two more years then come 1976 it all seemed to change.

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    I Want You was his last quality Motown lp. Here, My Dear is pretty dismal, all proceeds were going to his ex wife Anna to fulfill alimony and child support by court order so therefore he didn't put his best into it. In Our Lifetime was issued basically unfinished and Gaye was so enraged that he left Motown.

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