The wave of powerhouse Stevie Wonder albums continues with “Fullfillingness’ First Finale”. Not quite as highly regarded as some of his other albums during his classic run in the mid 1970s, this album still made #9 on digitaldreamdoor.com’s Top 10 Funk albums of all time, which is interesting as I don’t think of this as a funk album in its purest sense.
To be fair, the biggest hit of the album, “You Haven’t Done Nothin’”, which represents Stevie Wonder calling out the Nixon administration, is pretty damn funky. Stevie brings back his always spectacular clavinet, and as a special treat, we have the Jackson 5 on backing vocals. Listening closely, I’m pretty sure I hear a few riffs from Michael himself. This song is outstanding, and listening to it, I’m not sure there is a Stevie Wonder song I like better than this one. I also really like the mellow opener, “Smile Please”, and the fourth song, “Boogie on Reggae Woman”, which is probably the other song that got this album on someone’s Top 10 Funk Albums. This song has almost as much bounce as “You Haven’t Done Nothin’”.
To be fair, there are some very uninteresting songs (at least to me) on this album as well. “They Won’t Go When I Go” truly sounds like funeral music, or at least a very dark classical piece, and was actually performed at Michael Jackson’s memorial service. It is complex musical composition, but just a little too sad and depressing for me. “Creepin’” is another song that doesn’t really grab my attention either. It is meandering R&B, and at a minimum, it certainly isn’t Top 10 funk music.
Even as a less than breathtaking album, there is some amazing content on this album, and beyond the Jackson 5, we also have Paul Anka, Sergio Mendes, and Deniece “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” Williams all making an appearance as backing vocals, so there is that.