What's Going On is both time-stamped and timeless: a picture of Vietnam-era turmoil that will blow minds as long as there are ears. This 40th-anniversary version lives up to its bombastic billing: two CDs and a vinyl LP, plus demos, B sides and the stripped-down version of "What's Going On" that Motown refused to release. But it's the original LP (heard here in remastered form) that transfixes: Listen to Gaye's unearthly multitracked voice over the spacey gospel of "God Is Love." Greatest protest album ever made? Most stirring soul-music symphony? Yes and yes. And then some.
From The Archives Issue 1133: June 23, 2011