It’s been almost 15 years since D’Angelo released his last album, the highly acclaimed Voodoo, and I gotta say, Black Messiah (which features his backing band The Vanguard), was totally worth the wait. Seriously. Go buy it. Now. You won’t even want to listen to anything else for awhile.
Anyway, half of you might not even know or remember who D’Angelo is because it’s been so long. But I bet you’ll remember this steamy video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”, which got just about everyone all hot and bothered back in 2000:
D’Angelo’s been through a lot since then, and I had my doubts that we’d be seeing much more of him in the public sphere. There were some serious rough patches in there, including a plethora of arrests and a startling change in physical appearance (only reason to bring that up is how stark of a difference it was). He seems to have bounced back though, and talk about a comeback. Black Messiah is a record for all of you audiophiles out there, and, hopefully, anyone with good taste. This album transcends all genres. It’s a guitar-heavy, intense and frenetic, yet smooth and flawless blend of Soul meets R&B meets Rock meets Funk meets Hip-Hop meets Jazz meets Blues — you get the idea. A loose yet balanced mix of old-school and new-school, Black Messiah is personal, political, socially conscious, and sexy all at the same time. It’s also very reminiscent of Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Prince. D’Angelo and his collaborators (including Quest Love and Q-Tip) did a great job of paying homage to the past while producing music in the present, and it’s surely going to be talked about in the future.
“Ain’t That Easy” (Especially reminiscent of Sly Stone. Also my favorite track.)
“The Charade” (This seems to be the most talked about track so far, with its socio-political lyrics, “All we wanted was a chance to talk / ’stead we only got outlined in chalk / Feet have bled a million miles we’ve walked / Revealing at the end of the day, the charade.”)
“Really Love” (The album’s first single.)