There are two albums right now that are impossible for me to turn away from right now. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and Blu & Exile’s “Below the Heavens” are the only things I’ve listened to for what seems like a month now. Anytime I play another song or artist, I have to change to Marvin or Blu & Exile after three songs at the most. Both of these albums are really getting me through some crazy times in my life, because I can truly relate to both.
While I can’t connect with the entire concept of “What’s Going On,” which is the story of a soldier returning from Vietnam to see his beloved country in social and economic turmoil, I can connect with most of the other social aspects of the album. Finding a job that can actually get me somewhere is becoming increasingly difficult and I’m stuck here wondering why society is in a fucking mess. I hate to sound cliche, but I really do not understand why it’s so hard for people to just get along.
As for “Below the Heavens,” this album is practically narrating my life at the moment. For those who aren’t familiar, “Below the Heavens” is California native Blu’s debut album and a story of the back breaking transition from teenager to young man. This album touches on all aspects of my life within the last year or so including the struggles to get by from pay check to pay check on minimum wage, the quest for a substantial relationship over a lustful one, and most of all the everlasting search for some sort of answer in terms of faith and religion. Blu was 21 when he started writing the album and 22 by the time it was finished, so I can’t wait to see how much more this album grows with me.
“What’s Going On” turns 40 on May 21st and “Below the Heavens” has been out for almost four years now, and like all classics, I believe both will stand the test of time and be remembered for the masterpieces that they are even further down the road. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way about “Below the Heavens” 40 years from now that I do today, if anything, I’d probably grow more fond of it. As for “What’s Going On,” I truly believe that it will be studied centuries from now in the same manner we analyze and study the works of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.