Review #4: Songs in the Key of Life, Stevie Wonder

Karla Clifton
3 min readJan 7, 2021

#4 Songs In The Key of Life, Stevie Wonder

If it wasn’t already obvious from my cantankerous personality, I am not much of a dancer. One New Year’s Eve, my friend tried to pull me onto the dance floor to dance to Sublime’s “Santeria,” a song she knew I loved. I reflexively punched her in the stomach.

Everything changed when I heard Songs in the Key of Life. Maybe it’s the delirium that begins to set in after four hours of driving, at which point I had gassed up my car once more. I narrowly avoided disaster at the beginning of the album, after nearly running out of gas in Kansas, the worst place in the world. I had stopped at a tiny Sunoco just off the highway that had turned out to be out of service. Stevie Wonder began to serenade me as I focused on the void ahead of me and white-knuckled the wheel, as my Low Fuel light glared at me. Every gas station in Kansas looks like it’s at the end of the world, so I had no idea when my next fuel stop would be — and as it happens, I lost cell service at this time, too.

But after ten minutes, Stevie Wonder and I found another, functional gas station. And for the next hour, as we sailed back onto the highway, full of coffee and gas, I danced in the driver’s seat.


“Love’s In Need of Love Today” — This song absolutely blew my mind, because I realized that I kind of knew who Stevie Wonder was. Many of these songs were ones I knew quite well, and had somehow internalized them as Michael Jackson songs, probably because they both have bright powerhouse voices. I promise that I will never make this mistake again.

“Have a Talk With God” — Why is this song about God so sexy?

“Sir Duke” — I dance to this song every time I hear it. This song is about how amazing music is, and when he sings, “You can feel it all o-o-over!” I can!

“I Wish” — This and “Sir Duke” are back-to-back. It was right around this point that I decided that Stevie Wonder was the best musician that ever has been and ever will be.

“Pastime Paradise” — The humiliation I felt when I realized that Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” samples this song, and I’d never known…

“Ordinary Pain” — I live for the second the choir kicks in on this one.

“Isn’t She Lovely” — It really is kind of touching when he has recordings of his baby crying. Also, Stevie Wonder has RANGE.

“Black Man” — This song made me groove the hardest. “This world is made for all men!”

“All Day Sucker” — I love when Stevie Wonder’s voice is all bright like this.


“Confusion” — Any Stevie Wonder song that doesn’t feature Stevie Wonder’s godlike voice gets an immediate X from me (although the guitar on this rules).

“Summer Soft” — On the road trip, this song felt like it was 20 minutes long. Turns out it is only 4.

“Ngicuelela-Es Una Historia-I Am Singing” — Stevie Wonder has a beautiful voice but I distinctly remember that it was right around here that I started being ready for the album to end.

“Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call)” — Are you SERIOUS, Stevie Wonder? You’re gonna end this on a HARMONICA INSTRUMENTAL? I know this was technically on the LP that accompanied it, but do you have any idea what a bummer it was for this to be the last Stevie Wonder song I heard in Kansas? Do you know what I would have given to hear “Sir Duke” one more time?


Yes, I think this might be the greatest album of all time!

Review #3: Blue, Joni Mitchell

Review #5: Abbey Road, The Beatles