1972 | Pop
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“You've killed all our leaders, I don't even have to do nothin' to you.-- You'll cause your own country to fall."
- Talking Book hit #3 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and #1 on the R&B Albums chart while boasting the #1 hits Superstition & You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.
- Big brother's only credited musician is Stevie Wonder.
- Talking Book followed a tour Wonder embarked on with The Rolling Stones and it marked a first time an R&B artist topped the pop charts gettting support from rock fans.
THE HOT TAKES
Let's not go voting anyone as President of our Soul, shall we? Big brother. The state. The NSA. Whatever you call it, whichever functionaries of the most massive government that has ever existed decides to monitor you, it's a problem. The more you watch someone's behavior, the more you find to criticize. This is apparent to anyone who has shared a living arrangement with someone else. Everything's great when you're friends, but then when you're roommates you can grow to resent the other person. Dating is great, but living together reveals all kinds of habits that drive you mad. When the state is living with you, they will find things wrong with your conduct. That sounds innocent enough, but the state holds all the cards. You don't know for sure what they know about you. And they can change what is and isn't "okay" whenever they want to. As the great Frank Zappa said: "The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced."
Ok, can we just take a minute to bask in the brilliance that is Stevie Wonder? The man is a musical powerhouse. Writing and generally playing all of the instruments on his albums. Wow! He’s had many songs with political commentary and this one was inspired by Orwells, 1984, one of the most prophetic books ever written, in my opinion. While listening, I couldn’t help but think of COINTELPRO- the 20 year program established by Hoover’s FBI where they would track, harass, discredit, infiltrate, and try to destroy dissident groups in America. Initially aimed at the Communist Party, it would expand to many other dissident movements, like the anti-war crowd, the Black Panthers, Socialists, and The KKK, among others. While I hold no love for many of the targets, I do believe in their rights to dissent from the status quo. This program was maleficently outside of The State’s own law, the Constitution, yet the whole bureau and all of the agencies that were connected with it did it anyways. It is said that Hoover said he wanted to make people believe there was an FBI agent behind every mailbox in America. Not intimidating or creepy at all. Big Brother does what Big Brother wants. He is more powerful and has bigger toys. He can hit harder and run faster, and generally exert his power over you whenever he wishes. What a fitting name for The State, a bunch of exalted bullies. Never believe the laws are for them, they are for you.
How woke was stevie wonder on the race issue? From the lyrics to this song I'd say at least somewhat. My only complaint is that he doesn't seem to have taken the lesson of this song to its logical conclusion. The lyrics make not that they only hear from government in two instances. When it's telling them to behave because it's watching and later begging for their vote under the assumption that they'll make life better for them. But as politicians would do they fail to deliver on their promises to help and always deliver on their promises to curb your liberties. It strikes me as such an insane concept that here in America minorities vote on the side of growing government when it's been government policy that has openly damaged them so greatly. Slavery = law of the land, Jim Crow = law of the land, red lining = law of the land, drug war = law of the land. Even if you support welfare it is inescapable the effect it has had on making poor minorities dependent on the government. I guess my point is this song is from the early 70's, how is the black community still falling for this bullshit?