Feb 052008

Like most of the rest of you RTH old-timers, I’ve been waiting *years* for our Moderator to explain his feelings about Stevie Wonder. At first, I thought his hostility only focused on Stevie’s sprawling “Songs In the Key Of Life” — we all know of the Moderator’s deep misgivings about real musical *ambition*. But after reading this brief aside about the song “Tuesday Heartbreak,” I’ve finally realized that there may be much that needs explaining — and I feel doing so may result in some much-needed Healing for our Moderator’s soul:

Hrrundi, is “Tuesday Heartbreak” one of those sappy love-songs-to-Jesus-masquerading-as-praise-for-coke-off-a-backing-singer’s-nipples numbers that Stevie’s been known to crank out?

Please, Mod, if only for your own good: share.



  8 Responses to “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Mr. Moderator Summoned To Explain His Hostility Towards Stevie Wonder”

  1. I too was going to suggest “Tuesday Heartbreak.” It’s a fine song, and I eagerly await Mr. Moderator’s case against.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    Jeez, on this historic day of CHANGE I get called onto the carpet for a simple question regarding a forgotten Stevie Wonder song? Certainly, in retrospect, I could have asked the question in a better, less-inflammatory manner, but then I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of nearly snorting a raisin through my nose when I logged onto RTH to see this SUMMONS awaiting me.

    So, first, to answer my question, No, this is not one of those numbers. This is one of his joyful-I’m-gonna-spend-some-time-rolling-on-the-carpet-with-the-kids numbers. I tend to like those numbers in Stevie’s oeuvre a lot better and feel he’s got a real knack for. In fact, I’d say no popular artist has a better knack for playful, loving numbers of this variety. I’ve said it before: that long playful part Stevie gets into at the end of one of his early ’80s hits, “Do I Do”, is fascinating – for good reasons. It’s the sound of a guy having a party in his head and sharing it with all of us. Although I don’t think “Tuesday Heartbreak” is as good as an inner party, I can enjoy it along similar lines.

    Now, about the category of Stevie songs I thought this number fell into… I hold no hostility toward Stevie Wonder – or maybe just a little; I seem to hold a little hostility toward everyone as a reflection of my feelings toward myself. My hostility IS directed at those songs! It’s bad enough they’re slow and ponderous and that the lyrics come equipped with a bouncing ball, but I feel I’m expected to raise my hands and sway back and forth. You know I have nothing against any form of god in songs, but I do object to a song dragging me into a church. It’s VERY RARE that I can enjoy a song that’s dragged me into a church pew. If I can’t like the music first, I have no interest in contemplating the depths of Stevie’s spirituality. That’s all. That’s the root of this hostility you correctly perceive. Those songs try my patience and practically challenge me to lash out at whatever “sophisticated” setting I’m supposed to stroke my beard and tap my pipe to.

    I’m down with probably every other aspect of Stevie’s music. In fact, I have a soft spot for “Ebony and Ivory”, a shameful – to most – intersection of two artists prone to syruppy, hand-holding message songs. McCartney doesn’t drag me to church, however, but to the florist. I sometimes balk at his Hallmark moments.

  3. I’m on Mod’s side here. Stevie Wonder has a number of great songs, but he quickly turns cloying and smarmy. Playing the radio when I go into work, for instance, the Stevie Wonder number that comes on, depending on what number it is, can be either the best or the worst song of the morning.

  4. Mr. Moderator


    You’ve held my feet to the fire. I’ve responded without hesitation or, most likely, need for further clarification. I’m curious to know if my answer was as healing for your as it was for me. Thanks.

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod, sorry. I’ve been in tech support hell today. I’m still way down here in the fire and brimstone; let me get back to you in the evening. I did appreciate your prompt response.


  6. I clicked the wrong option on the poll. Whoops.

    The only Stevie Wonder I’m familiar with is Songs in the Key of Life, which I think is great, even if it is a sappy at times. Bad lyrics can be forgiven if the music is good enough, so even though “Love’s in Need of Love” is preachy, it’s a great song.

    At the same time, I can forgive overly morbid / depressing lyrics. In fact I think the Chameleons are one of the best bands of the 80’s. (anyone familiar with them? I think they’d make for a good discussion)

  7. Mr. Moderator

    I never tuned into Chameleons, Hissing Fauna. I get them confused with a bunch of other late-80s bands that Jack Rabid from The Big Takeover is always going on about. I bet Berlyant knows their stuff. Tvox too.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Mod:

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your post. Sadly, all I have to say to what you wrote is: “huh?”

    And, look, I swear I don’t mean that in an assholish kind of way. I went back and re-read your post a few times, and I still don’t get it. Based on Mwall’s reply, I don’t think he got it either.

    You originally said:

    “… is “Tuesday Heartbreak” one of those sappy love-songs-to-Jesus-masquerading-as-praise-for-coke-off-a-backing-singer’s-nipples numbers that Stevie’s been known to crank out?”

    In your elaboration/explanation of this strangely hostile (though humorous) question, you first clarified that, no, “Tuesday Heartbreak” wasn’t one of those songs. So far, I got you — but then you didn’t clarify what those songs sound like, or which ones they are, or how many of them there are, or anything. You just went on to say that there are some Stevie songs that you resent because you’re supposed to like them on a higher spiritual plane — or something; and you don’t, or can’t — or something.

    It might help if you could give us an example or two. All you did in your previous post was give us examples of some Stevie songs that *aren’t* this archetype that you don’t like.

    I await your response.


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