Marvin Gaye: What's Going On: 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition  

Motown/UMG

If 1971's What's Going On is the gem of Marvin Gaye's rich catalog, this is the crown jewel of its many reissues. The voluminous extras, both written and audio, on this sumptuous (and pricey) two CD plus vinyl 12x12 set substantiate the somewhat ostentatious title of "super deluxe." But the real find of the set is the rare, previously unreleased original "unsweetened" Detroit mix on vinyl. It captures the darkness, anger and frustration behind classics such as "Mercy Mercy Me" and "Inner City Blues" as Gaye originally intended. Timeless is an adjective that gets tossed around too lightly, but Gaye's themes of senseless wars, sweeping urban poverty and the country's ecological concerns are every bit as powerful, riveting and pertinent today as on this classic's original release four decades ago. This groundbreaking album was the first to show that soul music could be erotic, edgy and edifying while staying commercially viable. (5 out of 5 stars)

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