Picks and Pans Review: An Interpretation of Stevie Wonder's Songs
Various Artists (Motown)
The trouble with doing a Stevie Wonder tribute album is that no one can touch the original versions of these songs. As star-studded as this disc is—with everyone from Mary J. Blige to Marc Anthony to Eric Clapton covering Wonder gems—Conception ultimately makes you want to dust off your old Stevie records and hear the real thing. Many of the remakes, such as Wonder soundalike Glenn Lewis's version of "Superstition," are a bit too faithful. Meanwhile R&B singer Joe's hip-hoppish take on "That Girl," which features an awkward rap by Mr. Cheeks, tries a little too hard to be contemporary. Still, it's hard to really mess up material this Wonder-ful. Among the best interpretations are Stephen Marley's reggae-intensified reworking of "Master Blaster" and Dave Hollister's gospel-powered rendition of "Love's in Need of Love Today."
BOTTOM LINE: Fails to reach higher ground
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