#164: Let's Get it On by Marvin Gaye


Let's Get it On by Marvin Gaye (1973)

Favorite Tracks: "Let's Get it On"

Thoughts: This is only our second Marvin Gaye album! We listened to Here, My Dear (1978) a whopping 290 albums ago at #454. Let's Get it On was Marvin's 12th studio album, and is "first venture into the funk genre and romance-themed music. (x)"

The album opens with the eponymous title track, "Let's Get it On." I'm curious how many movies/TV shows have used the first few bars of this song for comic indication of 'sexy times' between characters. It's obviously an instantly recognizable, iconic, classic song. I have a sneaking suspicion that whole album is going to be fit for make-out mixes...

The second track almost surprised me: "Please Stay (Once You Go Away)" felt somehow...older? Dated? I mean it sounded a lot more like early 60s Motown singles than the new direction "Let's Get it On" seems to go I can imagine the Jackson 5 singing it. It's an excellent song, but more pop than I expected. The next track, "If I Should Die Tonight"--is more what I was imagining. Apparently Marvin didn't feel he should record the song (written by Ed Townsend) because he'd "never felt that way about a woman in my life" but he met his second wife during the recording of "Let's Get it On" and then decided he could sing it. (x) Pretty romantic. (Sorry, first wife.)

Side one of the album ends with the sequel song, "Keep Gettin' It On" which is basically a seamless extension of "Let's Get it On," just in case the listener had lost their way between tracks 1 and 4 as to what they should be doing while listening to this album. Side 2 opens with "Come Get to This" which has a fun tom (floor tom?) drum beat. Hey, I used to play the drums. I know what they sound like! (I'm probably wrong, though.)

Next Marvin looks out for the long-distance lovers in "Distant Lover." Did they have phone sex in the 70s? I'm in no position to know. I did a double take at the name of the next track: "You Sure Love to Ball." The song itself was surprising as well--anonymous lady moans! I wonder if this marked the beginning of that rich tradition in R&B songs? I couldn't help but smile at the lyrics, and the music itself is a fun saxophone/disco mix that I enjoyed. Were there seriously no parent groups getting together and burning copies of this album? Not even religious groups? Everyone was too into it to care, I guess.

Finally, we end the sexy times with "Just to Keep You Satisfied," which features gorgeous vocals from Marvin (though you could say the whole album shows off his gorgeous vocals), but is kind of a sad way to end an album about love, since it's meant for the first wife he was separated from at the time.

Is This Better Than Every Picture Tells a Story?: I've got to say, I never really thought of Marvin Gaye as a 70s sex god, feeling that title belonged to Barry White. But they can both share the crown! A smooth, beautiful album all around.

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