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Album Review

Illumination

November 28, 2005

Earth, Wind and Fire recorded some of the greatest funky jazz soul of the Seventies, but they lost their way as record-makers long after entering "Boogie Wonderland" in 1979. Their twenty-third album, Illumination, taps into Santana's now-familiar Supernatural...

Album Review

Heritage

March 22, 1990

The Eighties were not especially kind to funky big bands. Rhythm machines replaced drummers, synthesizers subbed for horns, and rappers found that the easiest way to take it to the bridge was to sample James Brown. That could be one reason why Maurice...

Album Review

Powerlight

March 17, 1983

No surprises here: Maurice White and company are still pumping out the same spiffy horn parts, bouncy bass lines and stacked-to-the-sky vocals that have made Earth, Wind and Fire a persistently platinum act. Unfortunately, the passion that showed itself...

Album Review

Faces

March 5, 1981

The gaudiest Earth, Wind and Fire album to date, Faces is an effervescent pop-funk pageant with lots of color and not much substance. None of its fifteen songs is as striking as "That's the Way of the World," "After the Love Is Gone," "Boogie Wonderland"...

Album Review

All 'N All

January 26, 1978
Not Rated

At their worst, Earth, Wind and Fire indulge in some of the most pretentious excesses in current black music. As on past Earth, Wind and Fire records, All 'n All is filled with leaded brotherhood platitudes, Star Trek sci-fi and stiffly poetic love songs....

Album Review

That's The Way Of The World

July 3, 1975
Not Rated

Lousy production works to this LP's detriment — Maurice White has surprisingly chosen to have the entire album sound "hot." It easily befits such uptempo numbers as "Happy Feelin'" and the popular single "Shining Star," helping them glow with an...

Album Review

Head To The Sky

August 17, 1973
Not Rated

A dream last week: I was walking through a crowded marketplace in a city that seemed to be Paris although I've never been there. I was singing to myself and everyone I passed was singing the same song, softly to themselves. It was "The World's a Masquerade"...

Album Review

Touch the World

January 14, 1988

As the quintessential American band of the middle and late Seventies, Earth, Wind and Fire neither set trends nor adhered to them. Danceable but not disco, tough but not funk, multi-tiered and brassy in an age of economical sound, the band's records sold...

Album Review

Raise!

February 4, 1982

With each new album, Earth, Wind and Fire remain relatively true to their original sound: elaborate, neatly orchestral funk, influenced equally by American and African sources. But the band also keeps its ear to the radio. Accordingly, Raise! reflects...

Album Review

I Am

August 23, 1979
Not Rated

Maurice White, Earth, Wind and Fire's presiding genius, ranges across popular music like a robber baron, selecting only the tastiest artifacts for his collection. He adapts be-bop horn charts and soul-group harmonies in ways that make the clichés...

Album Review

Spirit

December 16, 1976
Not Rated

The songs of Earth, Wind and Fire combine pure urban fantasy with the type of facile brotherhood messages that also crop up in the music of Stevie Wonder and the O'Jays. But Earth, Wind and Fire wraps its sermons on universal love in fashionable mysticism....

Album Review

Open Our Eyes

May 9, 1974
Not Rated

A pleasant miscellany of Africana, Latin rhythms, well-mannered funk, smooth jazz, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder and the Fifth Dimension, Earth Wind & Fire's Open Our Eyes has both disco and easy-listening appeal, and it's so cheerful one scarcely minds the...

Album Review

Earth, Wind & Fire

June 24, 1971
Not Rated

Earth, Wind and Fire is a R&B tentet from Chicago with several vocalists, horn players that are polished but not too much, and a heavy Sly influence. Which is no denigration, because Sly's riffs are showing up (in sometimes peculiar contexts) in a...

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