My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Here, My Dear is a double album and the fifteenth by Marvin Gaye. It was recorded over 1977 and 1978 following a settlement in Gaye’s divorce allotting half of the proceeds to his ex-wife. The album was released in December of 1978 and was a commercial and critical failure.
What I think: Upon listening to this album you quickly realize that this is a break-up album. The emotion and lyrics in the songs convey that Gaye is still wading through the feelings of the divorce. He’s angry (“Anger”), Sarcastic (“Here, My Dear”), nostalgic (“I Met a Little Girl”) and hopeful for the future (“Falling in Love again”) and those emotions rotate again and again on this double album. With more anger about the settlement and cost of the divorce, more sincerity and sarcasm and most of the time they work to great effect. You can hear a man who is just laying it all out and baring what is going through his head at a troubling and confusing point in his life. What I find most fascinating is a song like “Time to Get it Together”, where you have a person who believes in a God who is loving and willing to save his soul, but he, himself is unable to hold up his end of the deal and knows it will lead to damnation.
And as music that is listenable on repeat occasions works for the most part. Like most double albums, though it would have been better had he paired off some of the fat and brought it down to a single disc. “A Funky Space Reincarnation” for example is a fun eight minute Parliment-type romp, but it doesn’t fit here. It might have made for a really cool single released on its own though.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? It’s rare that musicians bare there soul so clearly without becoming self-concious, but that is what is here and I think it deserves a listen. It might even be worth some repeated examination.
Rating (Out of 5): 4/5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (331/433)
Amount that are new to me: 76%