Stevie Wonder, ‘I Wish’

Even Junior’s mum can only think of Stevie as a fat bloke in a bedsheet making sappy records, so goodness knows what the little one will think when she’s older. Or maybe those critics fanfaring a “return to form” will eventually hit the mark with their scattergun and Steveland will once more bestride the world like a blind, bead-sporting behemoth. 

There’s nothing new about praising his 70s output, but today we found a certain sort of context. This wasn’t the only one we played. Once Junior had bounced along to the rhythm and her mum had discovered where Will Smith’s “Wikki Wikki Wah Wah Wild Wild West Switch Hitch Turn Around Now” came from, we moved onto ‘Pastime Paradise’ and ‘As’ to marvel at how many of the album’s songs had been lazily regurgitated to form far bigger hits with a bit of mumbling over the top. So much hip hop is fresh and bright and shaking with invention, but the last 10 years have seen Puff Daddyfication sucking the life out of it. Why don’t the clever ones plunder Stevie?

Junior enjoyed ‘I Wish’ for a while until she was distracted by Roobarb on the television. As the tales of childhood high jinks came out of the stereo’s speakers, I remembered watching Roobarb and Custard as a boy and Junior looked forward to the day when she could write something nasty on the wall.

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