My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Talking Book was recorded in 1972 and released in October of the same year. The album is notable for the use of synthesizers which dominate much of the layered sound that replaces many “real” instruments.
What I think: The sound of this album is just amazing. The whole thing is just so layered with different instrument, synthesizer and vocals parts, and still somehow seems to have so much room in it. “Maybe Your Baby” for example has Wonder doing all the vocals and instruments (excluding electric guitar which is played by Ray Parker Jr.) and there is so much going on, but it sounds like you are standing in a center room and all of the parts are coming at you from rooms surrounding that center room. It’s just so cool. I also love that Wonder’s background vocals on the song sound like TLC traveled 20 years back in time to record with Stevie.
And really the whole album has moments like that. I personally would scratch “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” and “You and I” for being too syrupy and “Superstition” has never been a favorite of mine, buy has grown on me over the years. But there is nothing wrong with any of the songs on the album.
Another sign that this is a great album is the fact that I can’t pick a favorite. The aforementioned “Maybe Your Baby” as well as “Big Brother” and “I Believe” are all stellar, but I think the top prize goes to “Blame it on the Sun”. There is some indescribable magic in that song.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? No doubt about it, I’m kind of bummed I haven’t heard it earlier.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Talking Book Amazon Review (Out of 5): 5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (203/266)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%