It's the turn of the 70s. You've just forced the unbending Berry Gordy to release a masterpiece socio-political album that not only didn't flop like he said it would, it set soul music on an entirely new path altogether. You've signed a $1 million deal with Motown - the biggest deal for a black artist in history - and the label are eager to follow the hit with, well, more hits, right? You're the most important voice in music in this moment.
Morally right-on, emotionally vulnerable, and still musically avant-garde, Marvin Gaye's previously unreleased 1972 album You're the Man is the timeless sound of a combustible rhythm and blues. Just from the title track's first few seconds of wah-wah guitar, the album beams us directly into the heart of what a Jet magazine writer in 1972 once called "the new Black sound"--that rising tide of politically urgent, progressive Top 40 soul music like the O'Jays' "Backstabbers," the Staples Singers' "This World," the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," and Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack extravaganza "Freddie's Dead. " Here's the thing: You're the Man is still the New Black Sound of today.
Upon its release in 2019, You're the Man was billed as a "lost" album -- an album intended to appear between Marvin Gaye's 1971 masterwork What's Going On and 1973's Let's Get It On. The story isn't quite so simple. Even though Motown slated a release for an album, there's no real indication that You're the Man was ever close to completion, and this compilation -- available as a double LP or digitally -- doesn't make a convincing case that it was.