“He’s Misstra Know-It-All” closes Stevie Wonder’s seminal album Innvervisions. Preceded by tracks concerning racial tension, drug abuse and love ballads, the song is essentially a description of a man who gains people’s trust only to let them down, is a straight-up liar, only cares about subjects where there is money involved – whether he gains it or loses it, it doesn’t matter – and overall is someone that many people should avoid. The track is said to be about then President of the USA, Richard Nixon.
Despite the scathing lyrics describing this awful human being (I assume the femininisation of Mister to Miss-tra only emphasises Wonder’s disregard for this person), the song’s music itself is some of the calmest on the album. It is a wonderful five and a half minutes of piano, smooth chugging drums and Wonder’s voice along with some backing vocals that you have to nod your head back and forth to in appreciation. That is before the change up at around three minutes where Mr. Wonder begins to deliver his take with a greater passion (signified by an emphatic “BUM-BUUUHNA-BUUUHNA” ad-lib, hand-claps enter the mix, the rhythm sections play around with the rhythm here and there, and a stronger feel to the song’s groove and mood is brought about.
A real classic. Too good.