[2] Marvin Gaye, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’

General consensus paints this as the perfect pop record, but it’s dark, isn’t it? It’s not sunshine and ‘Modern Love’, the way Alphabeat – say – like to wield their pop brushstrokes, and it doesn’t dip into the conventional verse-chorus toolbox to create a Beatley nugget. The chorus is a natural conclusion to Marvin’s prickly, paranoid, wrenched and broken verses, like an outpouring of resentment and sorrow from a man who’d spent so many bars trying to contain it. The arrangement is thrilling, gut-churning, creepy and persuasive and Marvin’s high notes whack the message home. It’s a towering distillation of soul music’s ability to draw you in, leaving you sympathetic yet implicated.

Junior cuts to the heart of the matter: “Where’s honey?” Marvin has all too clear an idea where she is. “Who’s singing?” “It’s Marvin Gaye, the man on Daddy’s t-shirt.” Clearly I have to go and get the garment, a double print of Marv’s face in black and red. Junior points to the red face, “Is that honey?” An intriguing thought, that the great man may be sobbing over his alter ego’s betrayal – but you can’t make that stick. The song’s too raw to be playing games. That’s for Honey, Honey.

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