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At the Close of a Century

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Stevie Wonder, At the Close of a Century

At the Close of a Century

Current Status:
In Season
Stevie Wonder
Motown Records

We gave it an A+

Four discs, 70 cuts, not a dud among them — boxed sets don’t get any better than this one from Stevie Wonder. The singer’s signal contribution to Motown soul was a buoyant eclecticism that found its most exhilarating expression in upbeat anthems (from ”Uptight” to ”I Just Called to Say I Love You”) whose sentimentality was always redeemed by musical rigor.

Even on the last disc of ”At the Close of a Century,” where the middle-aged former child star is supposed to falter, the selections are worthy, as are early semi-hits (1969’s ”I Don’t Know Why,” which peaked at No. 39 on the pop chart, is, in a word, magnificent). Billed as ”The 12 Year Old Genius” on his third album, he proves a genius for all time. A+