Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire
Release date: 1976
Favorite track: “Burnin’ Bush”
If you’ve ever read my Off the Record music column, you already know I love Earth, Wind & Fire. Wrong word.
I adore Earth, Wind & Fire. My version of heaven involves this glorious band greeting me with their angelic voices in song. This sort of makes sense, because the band is certainly spiritual in its music and lyrics.
I dance to their upbeat pop songs, such as “September” and “Sing a Song.” I swoon at their dreamy ballads, such as “Be Ever Wonderful” and “I Think About Lovin’ You.” I dig their funky tracks, such as “The Changing Times” (a personal favorite) and “Serpentine Fire.”
Oh, and I love the band’s Christmas album.
I said all this to say Earth, Wind & Fire is my favorite band. Period. Bet you don’t hear many millennials say that. To be fair, I should probably expand my inner circle because I’ve actually never heard anyone else say that.
When I’m not sure which album to feature, I default to one of theirs.
This week’s feature is the 1976 record “Spirit,” which I admittedly haven’t spent much time with. It isn’t my favorite, and I won’t overanalyze the band’s music, but below are a few thoughts.
“Getaway” is a cool introductory track. It kicks off with much musical grandeur and leads into a funky rhythm. The vocals feature much sass, which I can dig.
“On Your Face” really touches my heart. The higher range of vocals combined with a message of optimism is a personal soft spot.
Ain’t it funny that the way you feel
shows on your face
and no matter, how you try to hide it’ll state your case
Now a frown will bring your Spirits down to the ground
And never let you see, the Good things all around
— “On Your Face”
People today might consider the soul band’s lyrics as cheesy, but I love their positive simplicity. I find it addictive.
“Imagination” is a gorgeous song that suits its title.
The title track is much slower paced than I expected it to be. The big note at the 2-minute, 30-second mark is worth the wait.
“Saturday Nite” is the funk jam of the album. It has the most disco flair.
“Earth, Wind & Fire,” a song with the same name as the band, sounds like a praise and worship song in certain parts and a funky song in others. It fits the band, given its multi-genre nature.
“Departure” is a 28-second jazz transition track to “Biyo,” a pure jam. It has no lyrics.
The closing track, “Burnin’ Bush,” has a jazzy feel and a much different tone than the rest of the record. It’s my favorite.
The album cover is quintessential Earth, Wind & Fire.
The art is the band’s frequently featured triangular design, which represents the elements. There are other spiritual elements often alluded to in its album art. I enjoy the bright white and yellow colors on “Spirit.”