Illumination (Earth, Wind & Fire album)

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EWF - Illumination.jpg
Studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire
Released September 20, 2005
Recorded 2004-2005
Flyte Tyme West at The Village Recorders
Larrabee North Studios
Los Angeles, California
Magnet Vision Studios
Santa Monica, California
Blakeslee Recording Company
Hollywood, California
The Dungeon Recording Studio
Atlanta, Georgia
Genre R&B, funk
Length 60:04
Label Sanctuary
Producer Maurice White & Phillip Bailey (exec.),, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq, Darren Henson & Keith Pelzer, Brian McKnight, Organized Noize
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Love Songs
(2004)Love Songs2004
Now, Then & Forever
(2013)Now, Then & Forever2013

Illumination is the 19th album by R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire. It was released in September 2005 on Sanctuary Records. It featured collaborations with several artists including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Kenny G, Kelly Rowland,, and Brian McKnight. Illumination debuted at number 32 on the Billboard 200 Chart, and number 8 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart.


The recording process for Illumination was originally conceived as a solo album for singer Philip Bailey. He recorded songs for the project "This Is How I Feel", "Work It Out" and "Elevated". A few months into recording, Bailey wanted to shift the focus of the project. He decided to make it into an Earth, Wind & Fire album- a move that was inspired by his oldest son, who co-wrote the song "Work It Out". Bailey reached out to the remaining members of the band to help work on what became their next studio recording.[1] They signed with Sanctuary Records' urban music division, which was run by former Destiny's Child manager Mathew Knowles.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
BBC (favorable)[4]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[5] 4/5 stars[6]
Washington Post (favorable)[7]
Seattle Post Intelligencer (A)[8]
Entertainment Weekly (favourable)[9]
USA Today 3/4 stars[10]
The Times 4/5 stars[11]
The Guardian (favorable)[12]

The album received positive reviews from critics. Raymond Fiore of Entertainment Weekly described the album as "a fluid, unforced marriage of modern beats and retro, horn-lined soul".[13] Antony Hatfield of the BBC in his review stated that the album was "a great all star team effort" and added that it "combines Latin, funk and soul but the likes of Raphael Saadiq, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have brought a more contemporary hip-hop and R&B sound to the table".[14] Of Illumination the Washington Post's Geoffrey Himes felt that "The EWF voices and horns are given contagious hooks for their retro sound, while underneath, the producers cook up new beats for a new century".[15]

Illumination was Grammy nominated for Best R&B Album, was also nominated for a Soul Train Music Award in the category R&B-soul album and EWF garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Duo or Group for Illumination. The single "Pure Gold" reached number 23 on the Adult Contemporary chart and was also Grammy nominated in the category Best Production Non-Classical. Another single, "Show Me The Way", a collaboration with Raphael Saadiq was Grammy nominated in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[16]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lovely People (feat." Keith Harris, 4:28
2. "Pure Gold" James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Tony L. Tolbert, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila 4:40
3. "A Talking Voice (Interlude)" Philip Bailey 0:19
4. "Love's Dance" James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Tony L. Tolbert 4:28
5. "Show Me The Way (feat. Raphael Saadiq)" Taura Jackson, Raphael Saadiq 7:47
6. "This Is How I Feel (feat. Kelly Rowland, Big Boi & Sleepy Brown)" Patrick Brown, Marqueze Ethridge, Ray Murray, Antwan Patton, Rico Wade 4:21
7. "Work It Out" James Bailey, Taura "Aura" Jackson, Raphael Saadiq, Kelvin Wooten 4:29
8. "Pass You By" Raphael Saadiq, Taura Jackson 4:59
9. "The One" Brandon Bennett, Patrick Brown, Samuel Christian, Ray Murray, Rico Wade 5:11
10. "Elevated (feat. Floetry)" Marsha Ambrosius, Darren Henson, Keith Pelzer, Natalie Stewart 4:37
11. "Liberation (feat. Vikter Duplaix)" Junius Bervine, Vikter Duplaix 5:25
12. "To You (feat. Brian McKnight)" Brian McKnight 4:37
13. "The Way You Move" Antwan Patton, Carlton Mahone, Patrick Brown 4:36

Bonus tracks[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Love Together (feat.", Keith Harris 4:18
2. "Autumn (feat. Music Soulchild) (only on the Japanese release)"   4:37


Uses in other media[edit]

"This Is How I Feel" was featured in the movie Hitch and "Love's Dance" was featured in the feature film Robots.[18] "Pure Gold" was featured in the movie Roll Bounce.


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
2005 The Billboard 200 32
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 8

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
2005 "Pure Gold" Adult Contemporary 23
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 76
"To You" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 71