Midnight Love

Midnight Love

Marvin Gaye’s final album represented a creative rebirth for the aging singer, as he adapted his vulnerable emotional approach to the new technologies and elastic funk of the ‘80s. As one of the most forward-thinking musicians of the Motown era, Gaye was able to slide easily into new territory, but no one was expecting him to produce something as magnificent as “Sexual Healing.” At a time when many R&B artists were trading delicacy for vulgarity, Gaye used the new technology to create music that was even more vulnerable and humanistic than what had come before. Same goes for “Til Tomorrow” and “My Love Is Waiting.” Rather than detract from his humanity, the drum programming underscores the intensity of Marvin’s vocals. And yet, he proved he could still party with the best of them. “Midnight Lady,” “Rockin’ After Midnight,” “Third World Girl” and “Joy” are as freaky and funky as Rick James, an obvious inspiration. The younger James may have been more audacious, but he couldn’t match Gaye for gentle touch, the intangible ingredient that lifts Midnight Love above dozens of great R&B albums from the early '80s.


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