Title: “Open Our Eyes”
Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire
Release date: 1974
Favorite track: “Mighty Mighty”
If you regularly read my Off the Record music column, you know Earth, Wind & Fire is my favorite band. Its music touches me in a way other music simply can’t.
“Open Our Eyes” is an optimistic record. Like many of the funk and soul band’s albums, Earth, Wind & Fire’s fifth features cheery, upbeat tracks; groovy, funky tracks; and a couple of emotional ones, too.
The opening track, “Mighty Mighty,” is one of the groovy ones.
It’s an extremely rhythmic song that features the chanting I’ve come to affiliate with Earth, Wind & Fire. They use a funky inflection in the vocals and drop a falsetto in the mix around the two-minute mark. This was likely the most popular on the record, next to the following song, “Devotion.”
“Devotion” capitalizes on soft vocals that complement the soft, mid-tempo music. It’s an extremely subtle song with enchanting vocal riffs sprinkled throughout.
Philip Bailey’s voice is ever wonderful. The lyrics are, too. EWF has a knack for transforming seemingly sad music into something uplifting.
In everyone’s life, there’s a need to be happy
Let the sun shine, a smile your way
Open your heart, feel the touch of devotion
Maybe this song, will help uplift your day
“Fair but so Uncool” is such a fun title, it should be a new popular phrase. My interpretation of the lyrics, though, is that the song is addressing general ideas of ethics, such as being humble, paying your dues and not stealing others’ ideas.
“Feelin’ Blue” is one of the only obviously downer songs. It’s one of those solid somber songs to turn to when you want to mope and wallow.
“Kalimba Story” hooks listeners instantly with its beat. It’s the grooviest on this album — a great song for cruising.
“Drum Song” is a tribal-sounding instrumental number. It’s a bit of a transitional song. “Spasmodic Movements” is another instrumental, but far more jazzy. I quite like it.
“Tee Nine Chee Bit” is interesting, because it features much talking over the music paired with smooth vocals. Between this song, the two instrumentals and the 30-second “Rabbit Seed” transition, this album is highly versatile — even a bit odd.
The album concludes with the slowest song, the title track. It’s honestly a gorgeous song
I love all of Earth, Wind & Fire’s album covers. It makes me smile seeing all the members’ faces of such a large group — eight on this cover. There has been much fluctuation over the years.