Marvin Gaye would have celebrated his 80th birthday this year if his life hadn’t been cut tragically short, and there’s no better way to appreciate the late star’s legacy than to listen to You’re the Man, his once-scrapped follow-up to 1971’s landmark What’s Going On. The long-lost album was finally released on Friday, and the song “Try It, You’ll Like It” is a standout moment of positivity and an excellent vocal performance from a legend.
On “Try It,” Gaye insists that sharing more love with the rest of the world would help us all out. He passionately calls for unity during trying times and for citizens to unchain their hearts and minds. The message is great, but it’s Gaye’s spine-tingling vocal performance that will leave your jaw on the floor. That mighty, refreshing voice of his is a joyful sermon above the resplendent horns and the encouraging accompaniment of the choir that backs him. It’s a gorgeous anthem that stayed in the vault for too long.
Many of the songs on You’re the Man, including “Try It, You’ll Like It,” were featured on deluxe editions of What’s Going On in the decades following Gaye’s death. Still, listening to the album as a whole in 2019 reveals something new. It’s a fiery collection that’s often even more politically charged than What’s Going On — which was a big reason he ended up deciding not to release it, since his views didn’t easily align with those of Motown founder Berry Gordy. Today, his distrust towards politicians and his firm opposition towards misogyny and violence feel as fresh as they would have if the LP had made its intended debut in the early Seventies. Even more incredible is the fact that Marvin’s careful balance of both cynicism and hard-earned hope about the country’s political conditions still fits our modern times.