Marvin Gaye – “‘T’ Plays It Cool”

Good evening. Now here’s another artist I’ve been meaning to talk about for a minute!

Washington, D.C.’s very own Marvin Gaye is a legend, rightfully earning his spot in the pantheon of musical geniuses. Much like Public Enemy, Marvin’s music had a role in my upbringing, coming into my life at the right time and expanding my world, musically and socially. I was in my late teens when I heard his opus, What’s Going On, and the emotion and power in that record really had an influence on my interests and studies. It was one of those records that commanded me to pay close attention and rewarded me for it. I was amazed at how brilliant it was…I simply had not heard music like that before, and Gaye’s meticulous attention to detail, his inspired songwriting, and his incredible vocal skills did a number on me.

But, tonight’s post isn’t about that landmark record.

Nah. Instead, let’s hop back to 1972, a year after What’s Going On and a year before his equally-massive Let’s Get It On. Gaye, suffering from a bit of writer’s block over following up on a critically and commercially album, decided to take on doing a soundtrack for a movie, as was the trend for many artists during the 1970s. He signed on to provide the tunes for the action movie Trouble Man. While the movie is mostly forgotten nowadays, the soundtrack is remembered fondly. A mostly instrumental work, Gaye’s music is full of soul, cool, and power moves, stacked with listens which made you feel like a badass, like you got the whole game on lock.

“‘T’ Plays It Cool” is the jam for me, dig that percussion and the saxophone that comes in on the latter half of the track! Gaye makes it seem effortless, and it’s a perfect listen for a summer evening like this.

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