30 Sad Songs no. 29: Just to Keep You Satisfied – Marvin Gaye

Let's_Get_It_OnThis is the last track on the celebrated Let’s Get It On album, most of which is quite happy and sexy and danceable. Just to Keep You Satisfied, on the other hand, is about Gaye’s separation from his wife, and it’s one of the most unflinching accounts of a split I’ve ever come across. It’s all there: sexual obsession, frustration, bitterness, nostalgia, self-justification, shame and so on. The music is mostly strings, hardly any percussion or bass, some lovely backing vocals and brass and Gaye’s voice soaring and breaking over the top. Gaye revisited the subject to devastating effect on the Here, My Dear album, but really he said it all in this single track. I still get really upset thinking about Gaye’s decline and death, and I worry that his music’s getting forgotten. I hope that’s not the case.


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