Earth, Wind & Fire

The Need of Love

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The ambitions of Earth, Wind & Fire only increased after their stellar debut, and the group brought an abstract sense of composition to their sophomore record, The Need of Love. The opener, a ten-minute piece named "Energy," is proof enough, with several extended passages inspired by everything from free jazz as well as in-the-pocket funk like Kool & the Gang. The next song up, "Beauty" is also positive and intriguing, though in an overly similar groove as "Fan the Fire" from the first album. The closer, a cover of Donny Hathaway's gloriously funky "Everything Is Everything," does justice to the original (and that's saying a lot). Compared to the debut, The Need of Love lacks a sense of exuberance as well as a passel of solid songs and performances.

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