Marvin Gaye

In Our Lifetime

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Marvin Gaye's In Our Lifetime came after 1978's confessional and meandering double album Here, My Dear. Although this better set does seem effortlessly conceived, it wasn't that simple. Gaye originally envisioned a "party" album and almost released one called Love Man. After some consideration, Gaye nixed the idea and aimed for an effort that would spotlight his religious concerns. Thankfully, In Our Lifetime splits the difference between the two mindsets. The first single from the aborted Love Man shows up here. "Ego Tripping Out" works as both a parody of the "love man" with a few autobiographical flourishes as he sings, "Got a sweet tooth/For the chick on the floor." Slowly but surely the religious matters do surface here. The buoyant "Praise" has a blithe riff inspired and/or lifted from Stevie Wonder and has Gaye getting his message across without being preachy. Although no song is especially brilliant here, the level of Gaye's musical sense and his vocal prowess carry him throughout. The unfinished and non-Gaye-approved "Far Cry" has lyrics that are steam-of-conscious and are barely decipherable. The mesmerizing "Love Me Now or Love Me Later" has Gaye examining both good and evil with equal skill. The last track, the title song, has Gaye back in the party frame of mind and has great horn charts and a propulsive beat. In Our Lifetime is one of his finest later albums and captures him as his craft was maturing and becoming more multifaceted.

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