- Released: March 21, 2000
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: Motown
Q - 8/00, p.1234 stars out of 5
- "...Represents an unparalleled hitching of man to machine....music of the highest standard: a burst of creativity few other '70s artists, save Bowie, could match."
Mojo (Publisher) - 7/00, p.129
"...A Grammy-winning Album Of The Year as well as Wonder's last work with [Malcolm] Cecil and [Robert] Margouleff. [A] pretty essential acquisition."
- 1.Smile Please
- 2.Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away
- 3.Too Shy To Say
- 4.Boogie On Reggae Woman
- 6.You Haven't Done Nothin'
- 7.It Ain't No Use
- 8.They Won't Go When I Go
- 9.Bird Of Beauty
- 10.Please Don't Go
Personnel: Stevie Wonder (vocals, various instruments); Michael Sembello (guitar); Sneaky Pete Kleinow (pedal steel guitar); James Jamerson, Reggie McBride (bass instrument); Bobbye Porter (congas, bongos); Deniece Williams, Jim Gilstrap, Lani Groves, Minnie Riperton, Paul Anka, Syreeta Wright, The Jackson 5, The Persuasions, Larry Latimer, Shirley Brewer (background vocals).
While the phrase, "greatest album" is a useless distinction for the great Stevie Wonder, the material contained herein finds him at a pinnacle of his more introspective songwriting mode. Released between the chart-topping splendor of INNERVISIONS and the monumental SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, FULFULLINGNESS' FIRST FINALE has spare instrumentation and a particularly personal tone. From gospel-inflected affirmations to the funky classic, "Boogie On Reggae Woman," this music is spirited.
Stevie sings out on a seamless array of love declarations ("Creepin") and social protestations ("You Haven't Done Nothin"). The melodies are simple and evocative, spiced with jazzy harmonies. Between his gentle clavinet work and his inspired synth romps, the man's got a great keyboard palette, and he surely knows how to use it. Throughout, Stevie provides excellent interplay between foreground and background, rounding out his vocal and keyboard flights with haunting overdubs. Perhaps most outstanding is the moving reverie, "Heaven Is," a hand-clapping groove on the divine. Let's face it -- few soulsters can be quite as mesmerizing as Stevie with a line like, "Love is so a-ma-zing."