The commercially revitalized Gaye, who was back in the grips of psychosis and cocaine addiction, was planning a follow-up to 1982's Midnight Love. That, of course, was aborted when his father murdered him. Dream of a Lifetime is a mish-mash of tracks that range from bare-bones newer work as well as early-'70s Motown throwaways. The big hit, the percolating "Sanctified Lady," picks up where Midnight Love left off. Gaye originally sung another word instead of "lady"; part of it is still audible and it's still shocking, but not surprising. "Savage in the Sack" has Gaye playing on old-aged myths and having the time of his life. Despite the ready laughs, Gaye's sexual fantasies are often on the dark side here. "Masochistic Beauty" showcases a pedestrian rhythm as Gaye sings in the world's worst English accent as he says, "If you do it right, you'll get the pipe." For some it's unsettling, but it's also hilarious especially as he employs a vocoder as his lewd partner in crime. The Motown-era tracks come from various sessions from the '70s. While that fact would denote quality if not "treasures," there are few to be found here. "Life's Opera" and the title track are both heavy-handed with their overwrought sentiments. Only "It's Madness" with it's patently early-'70s production style rises above the muck. Unlike many of Gaye's posthumous releases, Dream of a Lifetime offers a fair amount of dispensable work.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Elias