[22 March 2004]
So what the hell can I say about Let’s Get It On—a work of art that is firmly woven into the American fabric—that hasn’t already been said? Umm, nothing. If you want the scoop on Gaye’s career and the making of this seminal album, then check out the numerous books penned on the man. If you don’t already own the incredible four-CD Marvin Gaye box set, then shame on you! Put down whatever your sucka’ self be doing, scrape together your change, and either go to your nearest independent music store via cyberspace or that born from concrete and buy the sucker. Your life will be richer for it. Guaranteed. Or if you truly can’t muster the dough, then try Let’s Get It On, the 2-CD Deluxe Edition released a few years ago, complete with many bonus cuts—in fact, a whole disc’s worth. But if you can’t afford that, and can’t find the much cheaper original release in the “best buy” bin, then I guess you should pick up this latest edition of one of the best albums of all time by one of the greatest artists of all time.
I say pick up the earlier version because A) it’ll cost less than a movie, and B) unless you’re a true Gaye completist, the two “bonus tracks” found on this “Expanded Edition” won’t make or break you. Really, put the extra cash toward that box set I mentioned. Okay, that said, if you happen to pick up this edition you certainly won’t be disappointed. The remastering is fantastic; never has the album been sonically better. The Funk Brothers crew are helped by a few Crusaders—Wilton Felder and Joe Sample—as well as the mighty guitar chops of David T. Walker. If you have a set of worthy speakers, sit back, relax, and get it on for the magic this disc provides. These 39 minutes will float by and you will feel you’ve only blinked once, yet within that blink of an eye a lifetime will have passed. Sounds cheesy but try it.
Again, not qualified of commenting on the actual material contained within, I come back to the question of should you buy this? Record companies scramble to release anything that will be a solid cash cow these days. Usually this means re-releasing a slightly augmented version of an established classic that they already may have reissued. It’s a scheme that preys on the insecurity or obsessions of the diehard fan who won’t risk missing out on a possible gem for their collection, regardless of the extra cost. This is a practice that sucks. I wish the companies would invest the cost of the re-reissue into developing new talent and curating old, by reissuing until-now-out-of-print albums, and by skimming through the reams of master tapes shamefully collecting dust in vaults known and forgotten. Universal, whose collection of music and musicians seemingly comes closer to their name every day, are you listening? Let’s get! it on!