This album has me practically lost for words, but I'll do my best to review it.
I first heard this album a few years ago. I heard it because I wanted to expand my musical horizons away from hip hop. My first step in branching out was listening to Bob Marley. After that was very successful, I decided to move on to the genre of soul, figuring I would like it. Marvin Gaye was my artist of choice because I had heard him referenced in multiple hip hop songs and he's often claimed to be one of the best in the genre. This album was the first album that I heard from him. Right off the bat, I loved it. I thought that it was beautiful, incredible music and I couldn't believe how narrow minded I had been before I listened to it. It inspired me to discover new music, not only in soul, but in many other genres as well. I had been looking at music so close mindedly, but this album single-handedly opened my mind to a whole new world of music. This album will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason.
It will also always hold a special place in my heart for being among the very best music I've ever heard in my entire life. To start, this is most likely the most beautiful album I've ever heard, period. The last time I listened to it, I almost cried at a few points throughout it. On a personal note, I practically never cry. Ever since my sister died, I've had some emotionally stunted instinct to NEVER cry in front of anyone and rarely cry behind closed doors. When I heard this album last, I was not behind closed doors. I was sitting in study hall in a room full of my peers. Even my instincts could barely stop me. It should also be noted that I ONLY cry when I'm sad. This album, however, almost managed to make me cry out of sheer beauty. This is literally the only instance that I can think of in which beauty almost made my cry. In order to dissect why this album had such an emotional impact on me, I have to ask the question, "why is this album considered to be soul?" To answer that question, it's because you can FEEL it in your SOUL. I would say that "I" can feel it in my soul, but I say "you" because I find it impossible for anyone who has a soul to not feel this album. Between Marvin Gaye's amazing voice (probably my favorite voice ever), the indescribably beautiful music that he is singing over, and the amazing, emotional lyrics, this album hits me in the soul like no other album...ever.
To get away from the soul impact, I'll talk about how this this album is musically perfect. Now, I'm no authority on music, by any means, but I can't find a single flaw with this album. All of the instruments are played amazingly and with un-teachable amounts of emotion, Marvin Gaye has the most perfect voice ever, the composition is flawless, the way that the songs flow into each other is perfect, it's one of the most consistent albums of all time, and the overall vibe of the album is impeccable. I mean, seriously, is there a single flaw with this album? To put it into perspective, "Right On" is my least favorite song on the album, but...oh, would you look at that...I STILL rated it 5 stars. In order for an album to have a flaw, the worst song cannot be rated at 5 stars. Just like I honestly believe that this album is perfect, I honestly believe that every song deserves 5 stars. The reason for that is that I view every song to be vital to this album. There isn't a single second of this album that I would change in a million years. Everything is exactly the way that I want it to be. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other album that I can say that about, except for maybe Illmatic. To summarize, on an emotional level and a technical level, this album is absolutely flawless.
To say that putting this album into words has been overwhelming would be an understatement. Finishing this review would be an even more overwhelming task, which is why I'll finish it with a quote from Marvin himself. He once said, "I mumble things into the microphone. I don't even know what I'm saying, and I don't even try to figure it out. If I try, it doesn't work. If I relax, those mumbles will finally turn into words. It's a slow, evolving process, something like the way a flower grows." Mumble on in heaven, Marvin. Mumble on.