Thursday, October 29, 2020

"Skeletons" by Stevie Wonder

Song#:  3302
Date:  10/17/1987
Debut:  66
Peak:  19
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B, Synthpop, Electro-Funk

Pop Bits:  Wonder's 1985 album In Square Circle was a double-platinum success thanks to a pair of Top 10 hits including the #1 "Part-Time Lover." Next up for Wonder was his twenty-first studio effort, Characters. Once again, the album was produced, written, and mainly performed by Wonder. This first single was released and it became a major hit at R&B reaching #1. It was his nineteenth song to reach the top of that chart. Unfortunately, the track didn't have the same mainstream appeal as some of his other hits and it stopped just inside the Pop Top 20. The album would then perform similarly. It would get to #1 at R&B while stalling at #17 on the Pop chart. It was his first album since 1972 to not make the Pop Top 10. Unfortunately, this single would also end up being Wonder's last to crack the Pop Top 40.

ReduxReview:  This single definitely showed off the funkier R&B side of Wonder's music, which was a nice change of pace following the tepid pop-leaning singles he had been releasing in the mid-80s. However, the song wasn't as catchy or memorable as some of his classic jams like "I Wish" or "Boogie on Reggae Woman." and that certainly hurt its chances over on pop radio. Once again, Wonder relied on a lot of keyboards and synths. While that was appropriate for the time, I think both he and the song would have been served better by an actual band. The song also needed a more defined chorus. While I like the groove Wonder set down, in the end the song sounded a little incomplete and the production quite mechanical.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  With this song hitting #1 at R&B, it gave Grammy voters something to chew on and in the end it would receive two nominations. One for Best R&B Song and one for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The single came out late in the year, but in time for Grammy consideration. The album arrived after the deadline, which then made it eligible for the following year's Grammys. The album would earn Wonder another nomination in the Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, category. None of the three nods would net him a win, but it hardly mattered. By this point in time Wonder already had 14 Grammys to his credit. As of this posting date, he had amassed 25 wins from 74 nominations.


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