Review #420: That’s The Way Of The World, Earth, Wind & Fire

Karla Clifton
2 min readJul 18, 2023

#420: That’s The Way Of The World, Earth, Wind & Fire

I was just talking to someone about how Denver was surprisingly underrepresented on the list, and when he Googled bands from Colorado, EWF came up. I looked them up and felt betrayed. They’re from Chicago!

But no, even that isn’t technically right — bandleader Maurice White is from Tennessee, moving to Chicago to be a songwriter before putting this band together. The band was named for White’s star sign Sagittarius, which something something every element except water. (No, I won’t look this up.) They moved to LA and started making records. This one found mainstream success. It was their sixth album in five years and came with a movie of the same name, which bombed worse than Mimi’s Glitter did, even while the album was being hailed as a “spiritual soul masterpiece.”

And yes, three of them hailed from East High School in Denver, recruited in 1972. All 3 are now in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame: keyboardist Larry Dunn, saxophonist Andrew Woolfield, and co-lead singer Philip Bailey (the guy with the superhuman falsetto on “Reasons”). He sang “God Bless America” during Game 3 of the 2007 World Series, Rockies vs Red Sox at Coors Field, and God help me I might have been there! (UNfun fact, the Rockies swept the Phillies that season.)

Like other funky albums of the era, there are few simple love songs. Instead there’s a dramatic rap from Maurice White on “All About Love (First Impression),” climaxing with You gotta love you … If there ain’t no beauty, you gotta make some beauty. “Yearnin’ Learnin’” is similarly philosophical. Then there’s opener “Shining Star,” a song so hippie dippie it could have been written in Denver, a song quite literally about stars, a song so G-rated that Ruben Studdard covered it in Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.

Earth, Wind & Fire are astrologically inspired sonic painters, using melody as an argument. “That’s the Way of the World” is apathetically chill, “Happy Feelin’” all drums and xylophones, and “See the Light” has some eek! scary moments that I think fit a song about revelations.

They had their drama and their tragedy, but mostly they just seem like a weird group of people making funky music and bad movies. Still, it seems wrong not to at least try and rent it from the library, when I know the soundtrack kicks ass.

Fun Fact: I need to ask you all something, I feel like I’m going insane: What lyrics are coming up for “Africano” in Deezer? Why do I keep getting the lyrics to “Live Forever” by Oasis? Is it because I just saw Noel Gallagher play it live?

Review #419: Chief, Eric Church

Review #421: Arular, M.I.A.