C8S7CD7 Marvin Gaye was a troubled soul, or so most of the books and articles I have read have told me and they all can’t be wrong.
He always had a (e)strange(d) relationship with his Father (who ending up shooting and killing him) and I think this would impact on many of the decisions and relationships throughout Gaye’s life. I think Marvin Gaye hated being told what to do, whether that be from his record label, (musical output) authorities (we’ll get on to that) or Government (he fled the US when demands for tax mounted up) His most coveted album What’s Going On was seen as a commercial disaster prior to release by Motown his record label and particularly Berry Gordy the label owner who saw success as single sales and had always been right in the past. They were horrified he was writing about politics something that hadn’t been done in Soul music prior to this watershed release. What is seen as normal now was seen as commercial suicide in the 70’s. The fact that What’s Going On was a huge success gave Gaye the ability to do what he wanted and that’s leads me to Here, My Dear.
The background to this album is that Marvin Gaye was getting divorced from the sister of Motowns owner Berry Gordy as he had fallen in love with another woman. He was ordered by the courts to pay a substantial amount of money to his ex-wife and in order to do this wrote this album! His opening words on the album “I guess I’ll have to say this album is dedicated to you, although perhaps I may not be happy.....” says it all! The album’s title Here, My Dear and then song titles:
- · I Met A Girl
- · When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did You Stop Loving You
- · Anger
- · Is That Enough
- · You Can Leave But It’s Going To Cost You
- · Falling In Love Again
Map the end of one relationship and the beginning of another. Lots of artists have written break up albums, Bruce Springsteen Tunnel of Love and Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago are two that spring to mind as classics but this is album is too personal, all the dirty laundry there for everybody to look at and it seems to have been written out of spite and anger rather than of heartbreak and sadness like the other two I mentioned. Gaye turns himself from cheating Husband into the victim and this seems to have been a theme throughout his life.
There are touches of Gaye’s genius here A Funky Space Reincarnation and Sparrow smack of what is great about Marvin Gaye but the rest feels like Marvin getting too personal with the lyrics whilst going through the motions with the music.
Playing this album has only made me want to play What’s Going On or Let’s Get It On classic Gaye classic soul and seminal albums that everybody should hear. I’ll never throw this album out but I can’t say I’ll play it again soon (or ever)