Deconstructing Stevie Wonder’s Living for the City #MusicMonday

In these difficult times, it’s nice, maybe, to find ways to think about the lives that are lived in our cities. Here’s a breakdown of Stevie Wonder’s Living for the City that is as much technical deconstruction as it is heartfelt appreciation, from Ethan Hein:

Stevie sang all the parts and played all the instruments, including the sumptuous analog synth sounds designed with Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. Stevie’s brother Calvin Hardaway is the main character in the spoken interlude. Ira Tucker Jr of the Dixie Hummingbirds is the drug dealer, Stevie’s lawyer plays the judge, and a studio janitor is the corrections officer.

The main groove feels like a familiar funk/blues trope, though maybe that’s just because I’ve heard so many people quote it. It’s three chords: F#, G#m and A, all over a steady F-sharp pedal in the bass. The rhythm is not complicated, but it’s superbly hip. The bass taps out steady quarter notes, except for the small walkup in the last beat of the bar. The piano almost follows the bass pattern, but not quite. The second G#m and the first A are both anticipated by an eighth note. That’s just enough asymmetry to make a bottomlessly compelling groove.

Hear more!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 35,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — How (some) chips get made

Wearables — Need a lot of power for your project? Read on!

Electronics — Storage Safety 101

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: 10K Subscribers, Picos Made in Africa and more!! #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Turtle Eggs, Pool Monitors, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week 11/29/22 ENS160 MOX Gas Sensor @adafruit @johnedgarpark #adafruit #newproductpick

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.