#5: Maxwell ‘Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)’

Any frequent visitor to SoulBounce knows that if there is one artist who is in constant rotation on this site, it would have to be Maxwell. We live and breathe this man around these parts. So it should come as no surprise that he is planted firmly in the top five of our countdown with one of the biggest, most popular songs in his repertoire and our unanimous favorite of his: "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)." But this song just isn't in the countdown because we like it; it's included because it is a modern soul classic.

Alongside fellow neo-souldiers D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, Maxwell appeared on everyone's radar in the mid-'90s with his instant vintage debut Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite. With his wild afro, slim build and attractive features, he was visually appealing, but we just wanted to know if his music sounded as good as he looked. Thank God it did.  He proved himself to be the total package with Urban Hang Suite. Oddly enough, when the CD was released in 1996 it had already marinated at Columbia Records for two years before they decided to let it loose on the public. And even then it took a while to find an audience and catch on with listeners. The song that helped this album to turn the corner and become a hit? "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)."

Co-written by Maxwell and Itaal Shur, this track was one of the few uptempo songs on UHS. From the moment the bass line dropped in, you knew that a funky groove was on the way. But the song was deeper than a dance floor ditty. Straddling the line between the secular and the spiritual and referencing the "highest of the high," the tune is arguably a Gospel song (to wit, it has been remade by Gospel artists Londa Larmond and LaShun Pace). However, given a closer listen, the track is about an earthly being. Maxwell simply took us to heaven when he sang it.

After the bounce take in the original video for "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and the performance clip from Maxwell's episode of MTV Unplugged along with a special remix treat. 

Maxwell: "Ascension (No One's Gonna Love You, So Don't Ever Wonder) The Tribute Cut"

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11 Responses

  1. The 90's turned out some great music. Urban Hang Suite is as brilliant today as it was back in 96. Has it been that long? Damn!

  2. Maxwell is the TRUTH. No two ways about that. His cds do not do his voice justice. If you have never seen this man live, I truly feel sorry for you. His live show is AMAZING, an out of body experience, my girlfriend and I were literally euphoric during one entire show. I have seen him each time he has come to my city, and I will continue to do so, because his show is a most divine experience. Definitely a legend this man is...

  3. Makes me wanna step every time I hear it.

  4. That man...that man...that MAN...hmm, hmm hmm....soooooo talented!!!!

  5. This brother will always be #1 in my book. He's so talented I wish there was more of him to see and hear.
    Thanks Soulbounce for keeping his image/music out there.

  6. so delicioso. all i got to say about max

  7. Maxwell is so great. This song set the standard for what good music should be. I still blast this song all the time and it sounds as good as the first time I heard it in 96. I can't wait to see him in DC in November.

  8. Every song this man sings is timeless!!Can't wait to see him for the first time live in NYC in Oct.And Soulbounce,how can I get that funky remix of Ascension?It is poppin'!!!

  9. lawd have mercy the man is too fine and he sounds so divine I love he unplugged version but any version of Max is tops in my book.

  10. ohhh i love, love, LOVE me some MAXWELL!!! i had the opportunity to see him live when he came to Oakland and that was the BEST concert i have ever been to in my life!! how can someone that already sounds great on cd, sound EVEN BETTER LIVE???!!!! he truely has the voice of an angel and i will always be a Maxwell stan for life!! I love you Maxwell!!!! 🙂

  11. GOT MY TICKETS FOR THE NYC SHOW AND I LIVE IN ATLANTA! GOTTA GET MY FIX....I am so excited that he's on a national tour. I hope what ever drama that has kept him from releasing music is over and we can now experience MAXWELL in all his fine ass, talented glory!