Marvin Gaye - I Want You (1976)
I'm a huge Marvin Gaye fan. There was no question I had to put one of his records in my top 15 - he's definitely one of the best singer-songwriters of all time. It was between this and überclassic What's Going On til the end, but then I chose I Want You because it's about love... the other one would have been maybe a too obvious choice, and the righteous themes can get boring after a while, whereas you can never get bored of luuurve. If you are, it means you're basically dead. But apart from lyrical content, musically this album is stunning. A collaboration with unsung hero of smooth 70's soul Leon Ware, it is just an outstanding collection of sophisticated, layered, melancholic grooves that reach out and touch your heart. Each one of the 11 tracks here is beautiful. The exceptional title track, the gorgeous instrumental version of After The Dance, the sexy-yet-melancholy Feel All My Love Inside and the absolutely breathtaking Since I Had You particularly stand out.
It's really the perfect soundtrack for falling in love, with its mixture of euphoria and that sadness that comes from fearing the other person won't reciprocate, or being aware of time ticking away and that love one day will end... it is basically an open and courageous declaration of love to someone (I want you the right way... come and live with me angel... let's get together after the dance... etc), with a little bit of lust thrown in for good measure (but not as much as on the almost equally wondrous Let's Get It On album). A mellow masterpiece.