Michael McDonald never disguises what his seventh solo album is: the title Motown makes it clear that this 2003 effort is a tribute to the glory days of Berry Gordy's Detroit empire. McDonald never strays too far from that thesis, occasionally dipping into the late '70s for material (he takes on Marvin Gaye's "I Want You") and sometimes choosing to wax relatively obscure items from Motown's vast, rich catalog, but for the most part, this is devoted to the songs that you know by heart, whether you were a kid in the '60s or raised on oldies radio. Since this is McDonald, not a neo-soul neophyte, this is cleanly and sharply produced, relying heavily on synthesizers, drum machines, and professional vocalists, but anybody who has spent any time with his solo records will find this not to be objectionable, but par for the course. If McDonald doesn't reinvent these songs -- hell, he uses the original arrangements as a blueprint, then cleans them up -- he does display a love and reverence for the work, and his singing is passionate throughout. Ultimately, Motown doesn't add much to his discography, but for those who love McDonald and Motown in equal measures, it's a fine listen.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine