Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Jun 8, 2022
“I just want to ask a question: Who really cares, to save a world in despair?”

I remember the first time I listened to this record. It was October 11th, 2021. At the time, I was focused on mainstream pop and hip-hop. So, due to that, this record was just another one of those classics that didn’t hold any importance to my life. That goes for almost every classic to be honest. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and The Beach Boys are a few examples out of countless classic albums that I could see the appeal of, but they never connected with me personally. Although I was trying my best to understand what was so amazing about these albums, I wasn’t quite there yet in my musical journey. My mind was completely full of trap, r&b, and whatever you call Drake at this point. In October, I was focused on school, and there was almost no drama in my life. Over the next 8 months, major highs and brutal lows impacted me, and that helped me gain insight about life itself. I progressed as a person, and my music journey improves by the day. I started to keep an open mind about any type of album. The resonating topic that I tend to hear about a lot of albums is that they’re the most enjoyable when it's the right place at the right time. When I relistened to What’s Going On for the first time in 8 months, it didn’t feel like a regular relisten. My heart was touched. There was something about it that made me feel like I’ve truly progressed. Enjoyment isn’t a choice, so it’s truly a blessing that I’m finally able to appreciate and enjoy this record for what it is. If I had to give this record a visual, I’d say it’s like watching flowers bloom right in front of your eyes, and the field is pleasant as the sun shines on it as far as the eye can see. After multiple listens, I notice new things every time, and I most likely haven’t even discovered the true meanings of the record. It blows my mind that Gaye put this all together in a month. After his label saw the vision for the title track, Gaye was forced to make an album surrounding the track in a month. The way he was able to work under pressure is truly unmatched. Adding on to that, Gaye made an album that’s not only hit after hit, but it’s cohesive. The record is smooth throughout, so I was surprised that the ending didn’t have a major high note or anything. The track I’m describing is Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler). It might not seem like an outro, but it’s a beautiful track nonetheless. The record slowly faded instead of having a grand finale. Thinking about it now, it didn’t need a major high note or a legendary ending. The ending was smooth and calm, and that added to the cohesion. Going back to the beginning of the record, the title track is not only one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, but it’s one of the most uplifting songs of all time. It gives me hope that no matter how bad life gets, everything will be okay. From the powerful lyrics, to the orchestra, to Marvin Gaye’s perfect vocal performance, it doesn’t get much better than this. If you don’t focus on certain tracks, the album feels like a song full of hope. Not only is the record cohesive, but the transitions are stunning. From What’s Happening Brother to Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky), I barely ever notice when the track changes. Although I haven’t dissected the album to its full extent, I’ve said what I felt was important to mention. Also, what hasn’t been said about this album? To conclude, I wanted to talk about the track that stood out to me the most. Save The Children is one of the only tracks I’ve ever heard that lyrically captivated me. I’m not saying that it’s the best track ever written, I’m saying that I barely ever focus on lyrics, but this got my full attention. It’s like everything is hopeless, as he says “what a shame” and “who really cares”, but out of nowhere there’s peace and hope and care, as he says “You see, let's...let's save the children. Let's...let's save all the children”. The line that intrigued me the most was “Who's willing to try… To save our sweet world… To save a world that is destined to die.” This was pure genius to me. He’s saying that our beautiful world will end one day, but someone should be brave enough to fight for our world. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On is a piece of art that truly seems to be a form of peace for all people. What’s Going On is not only a landmark for music, but it’s one of the best albums ever made.

I never appreciated soul music until I heard this, ty ryan
monkey pox
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