Let's Get It On (Deluxe Edition)

Let's Get It On (Deluxe Edition)

What do you do for an encore after you’ve just released a certified, game-changing masterpiece? That was the challenge facing Motown maestro Marvin Gaye after his What’s Going On opus was released in 1971. After 1972’s Trouble Man soundtrack, Let’s Get It On was the proper follow-up to one of the greatest albums of all time. But instead of suffering a seemingly inevitable letdown under the weight of all that pressure, Gaye leveled up again to make back-to-back classics. Indeed, Let’s Get It On defined the R&B concept album every bit as much as What’s Going On did, trading social consciousness for sexual healing in turbulent, soul-testing times. It was a different kind of wokeness—raising your libido between the sheets instead of your fist out in the streets—but no less revolutionary. There is no foreplay along this journey to erotic enlightenment. The album makes its intimate intentions clear from the first notes of the testosterone-charged title track, as Gaye comes on strong with a swag and swerve unheard in his earlier Motown material. But while there is a gritty sexuality that doesn’t leave much to the imagination, there is also a gospel spirituality climaxing with a “sanctified” rapture that blurs the lines between raunch and religion in a way that would inspire generations of other soul studs, from Prince to D’Angelo. But just like What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On—over its concise, cohesive 32 minutes—was a soul symphony bigger than any one song, as Gaye had evolved from a singles machine at Motown’s hit factory to a visionary album artist producing his own work (here, with Ed Townsend). When “Keep Gettin’ It On” takes you back to the title tune in a quasi-reprise midway through the LP, it’s like an unexpected arousal from a post-coital crash for another steamy session. Likewise, “You Sure Love to Ball” leaves no doubt that it’s all about humping, not hoops. And the album’s signature ballad, “Distant Lover,” is one of the OG quiet-storm slow jams that was the prototype for many a bump and grind. But as much as Let’s Get It On is about, well, getting it on, tracks such as “If I Should Die Tonight” and the closer “Just to Keep You Satisfied” reveal a raw romanticism and naked vulnerability that would make Gaye the voice of “sensitive people with so much to give.”

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

Disc 4

Disc 5

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