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Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (1973)
Producer: Marvin Gaye, Ed Townsend
Let's Get It On
Please Stay (Once You Go Away)
If I Should Die Tonight
Keep Getting' It On
Come Get to This
You Sure Love to Ball
Just to Keep You Satisfied
Released in 1973, Let's Get It On is the twelfth album by Marvin Gaye, and immediately follows his classic war and poverty-stricken cum drug abuse concept album of 1971, What's Going On. That album had afforded Gaye freedom in the studio and had won him many new fans, as well as reaffirming the love of his established fan base. Next on the cards would be something sultry - even a bit naughty - but nevertheless approached with the same intensity that was applied to his rich political statement previously.
All of the greatest music has taken form amongst either the breakdown or glorification of a passionate relationship - it's simply the way it has always been. In the wake of his failed marriage, Isaac Hayes' conquered the double-album market with his brutally honest arrangement of various covers on Black Moses in 1971; The Cure, despite prolifically delving into the realms of mope-rock where albums are concerned, had a string of singles in the 1980s pronouncing true love, all of which have stood the test of time (bet you thought I couldn't shoehorn a Cure reference into a Tamla/Motown review, right?). Marvin Gaye's 1973 album, Let's Get On, assumes the role of fulfilling the latter statement, making for one of the all time great albums, which, almost forty years on, still manages to stir both romance in the bedroom and interest from critics.
I'd be hard pressed to find a more sexual album than this. Let's Get It On is carried by its sensuality and wry nods towards innuendo, but is rarely crude or brash. 'I contend that sex is sex and love is love. When combined, they work well together, if two people are of about the same mind,' is but one statement proclaimed by Marvin Gaye within the liner-notes accompanying the album. It is this notion that love is almighty that indulges the listener and fuels the fires which undoubtedly elevate Let's Get It On to classic status.
The title-track will need no introduction. Whereas Gaye would later win mass-appeal with the brazen hit single Sexual Healing in the 1980s, it is here that you will find a deft hand turned towards subtlety and true seduction as an art form. As Gaye proclaims, "Giving yourself to me can never be wrong, if the love is true," he delivers one of the most brilliantly yearning vocal performances ever captured in the recording studio. The guitars carry a fair degree of promiscuity on their notation, while the rising strings which reoccur throughout diligently inspire wanton desires. The song is later reprised by Keep Getting' It On, originally closing side one of the vinyl.
In between the two parts of the title-track, you will find Please Stay (Once You Go Away), one of the most achingly beautiful melodies ever composed. As Gaye's partner takes flight after their single steamy encounter, he pleads to her to remain forevermore, yes, to keep the restless nights at bay. If I Should Die Tonight follows in a similar vein, declaring utmost love and the intolerable loneliness which must be encountered without the comfort that a partner brings.
Yet another winner in our midst, Distant Lover's light flickers in the foreground, all shimmering and silky, washing over you like that of a sea of honey. Its fluid grooves are dappled with a pulsating lust, setting a stellar example of the genre which has been studied intently ever since. The multi-tracked vocals from Gaye cascade ever downwards, tweaked to absolute perfection. Such production adornments lend themselves well to Distant Lover.
If you ask me (which you obviously do or else you wouldn't be reading my review), the only time the album overcooks it is the smoking hot You Sure Love to Ball. This track attempts to take the sexual themes of the album to boiling point but becomes a parody of the subject when Gaye decides to introduce the sound of a copulating couple into the fray. Maybe I'm missing something but I didn't really appreciate that, thank you.
As the painful reminiscing of Just to Keep You Satisfied reveals a broken man at a loss without his wife, the curtains are drawn upon this revealing journal documenting the fire in Marvin Gaye's loins. "It's too late for you and I," pines Gaye, without a hope in the world, "much too late for you to cry." If using this album as a backdrop to a first date, ensure that you do not play this track first as it will kill the mood, albeit in a most spectacular fashion.
Much to my father's dismay, I actually prefer Let's Get It On to What's Going On. What's Going On probably betters this record where artistic statements are concerned but the album ultimately prevails when it boils down to the music which is on offer. Marvin Gaye poured his everything into this album and the result is that Let's Get It On has a beating heart at its centre, even a living spirit and sensitivity towards the subject matter. It's honest and bare, resonant and meaningful. Yes, Let's Get It On could well be the most *soulful* album ever recorded, which is surely the main objective for an artist such as Gaye.
With this in mind, I will let Marvin have the final word: 'I hope the music that I present makes you lucky.'
What words can ever do Marvin Gaye justice? I first fell in love with him and that incredible voice when I heard 'Abraham, Martin and John' (not on this album, sadly) for the very first time. It has remained my all-time favourite song.
As for his classic, 'Let's Get It On' - this is absolutely mind-blowing in its perfection. The title track is one of the sexiest and most seductive songs ever - a great song to fall in love to! As with all Marvin Gaye's songs, there is a depth of soul and passion that is hard to beat. 'Let's Get It On' is also a bonus remix at the end of the album and that's brilliant, too.
One of my favourite tracks is number 6, 'Distant Lover', which is fantastic; I also have this on vinyl on 'Marvin Gaye Live - His Classic Live Album' and it melts my heart every time I hear it.
Also brilliant is track number 3, 'If I Should Die Tonight'; listening to that is pure unaulterated bliss.
To hear 'Just to Keep You Satisfied', track number 8, is to know what Paradise must be like. There are not enough words in the English dictionary to describe it.
The musical arrangement and backing is, as ever with Marvin Gaye, almost as perfect as his voice and makes the very most of it.
If I could only have one album, it could quite possibly be this one. Every track is wonderful. Who knows how many more all-time classics we have been denied because his life was so cruelly and tragically cut short?
For my first music review as the new music guide having take over from Frankingsteins, I have decided to review one of my favourite albums of all time. Let's get it on by Marvin Gaye is regarded as one of the greatest soul records of all time and it is also one of the most cherised by fans aswell as critics. This album features some of the most well known tracks from Marvin Gaye and although it is more romantic than his legendary album What's going on it still has a political message akin to the tracks on what;'s going on?.
**Let's get it on**
1.) Let's get it on
This is a fabulous title track and album opener, this track starts off with slick guitars and a funky drum beat and bass guitar, this shows off the sexy seductive section of Let's get it on. A great track to open the album. Superb start to the album.
2.) Please stay (once you go away)
This is fabulous love song which is so seductive and soulful. Marvin's voice sounds amazingly beautiful with a superb sweet falsetto that is dripping with emotion. This track has elements of soul and jazz along with a pinch of funk.
3.) If I should die tonight
This is a heartbreaking song with Marvin's voice sounding suitably emotive, there is an outstandingly beautiful saxaphone solo towards the end of this track which will floor you. If the voice and lyrics havent already had that effect that is.
4.) Keep getting it on
This carries on from Let's Get it on andalthough it doesnt quite have the same instant spark that Let's get it on does it is still a great track that will give a great emotive feel to all listeners. This is almost like an extended version of Let's get it on.
5.) Come get this
Another seductive soul classic.This song pounds through brilliantly and is different to the other tracks on the album due to it's shuffing drum beat that pounds throught the song. One of the best on the album. Brilliant.
6.) Distant lover
This track's beauty floors me everytime. Marvin's voice sounds truly amazing and add to that the amazing music then it's easy to understand the appeal of this awesome song. Marvin at his best is awe inspiring. Just kick your feet up, close your eyes and listen
7.) You sure love to ball
This is a great track which has such a seductive feel to it, one of the most romantic songs from the era. I love to listen to this track it is such an amazing track with Marvin sounding truly amazing throughout the whole song.
8.) Just to keep you satisfied
Marvin's voice opens the track with a truly breathtaking falsetto that stops you in your tracks with it's beauty. A great end to the original pressing of the Let's get it on album.
Let's get it on
This is a remix of the classic track and even there isnt much difference in the two versions this is still a worthwile addition to the album and yet again shows off his incredible vocal tone.
You sure love to ball
Another bonus trak that is a remix of one of the other tracks on the album. This is a smoother version than the original and works extremely well. Brilliant.
There we have it, ten tracks of near perfection. This is one of the best albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and if you like soul music then this is a must have. Anyone should melt listening to his awesome voice. One of the true music greats who was sadly taken away from the music world aged just 44 years old.