Saturday, April 30, 2016
Track of the Week: Stevie Wonder "You Haven't Done Nothin'"
With all of the deaths of musical pioneers this year, I have been making an effort to appreciate those of advanced age that we still have with us. Stevie Wonder is right at the top of that last, and a couple of weeks ago I found a pristine copy of Fullfillingess' First Finale on LP. It's one of the lesser-discussed records of his 1970s run of greatness, but just as good as the likes of Talking Book and Innvervisions, as far as I'm concerned.
The highlight is "You Haven't Done Nothin'," a red hot tune that appears to be about those who talk a big game about changing the world but doing little to actually make it happen. In this election year, full of empty promises, it's especially relevant. Like the best songs on Talking Book, the riff is merciless hard funk with horns blasting gloriously over it. The song is a burning accusation against those who claim to act in the interests of others but really only care about themselves.
I've heard it said that the song was directed at Richard Nixon, but I hear it more as a denunciation of ostensibly "progressive" politicians who sell out to maintain power. Bill Clinton recently learned that his own actions in that regard will not be allowed to pass on by. I feel that people like him ought to be followed around perpetually by someone with a huge boom box blasting "You Haven't Done Nothin'."