Marvin Gaye - What's Going On: 40th anniversary edition

Tough call this one. Clearly What’s Going On is one of the all time great albums of any genre and you either are well aware of this, so there’s no point in my preaching to the converted, or you are not, in which case you are highly unlikely to test the water by purchasing a lavish and expensive deluxe edition. If there’s such a thing as a perfect album then Marvin Gaye made it 40 years ago with What’s Going On; the sweeping orchestration, kinetic basslines and social commentary have stood the test of time and there seems little to be achieved by attempting to enhance perfection. And yet here we are. This undoubtedly attractive set couples the basic album with a comprehensive array of contemporaneous recordings, the majority of which are little more than competent instrumental funk jams. These additional tracks, including a punchy, more immediate version of the 'What’s Going On' single, are an interesting curio but not one which I’d personally spend almost £50 on. For committed Gaye fans then this set, which includes a vinyl ‘Detroit Mix’ and a plethora of previously unpublished photographs, will surely be an essential addition to the canon, but for the rest of us I’d suggest that a copy of the basic album remaster and a selection of his greatest hits from the classic Motown era might be a more astute purchase.



out of 10
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