JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to see "WP Copy Data Protect" effect. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To see full result of "WP Copy Data Protector", enable JavaScript by changing your browser options, then try again.

D’Angelo stages return with ‘Black Messiah’

DeangeloAfter 14 years without a full-length album, D’Angelo’s Black Messiah was released Sunday (Dec. 14) just before midnight. The 12-track set is available via iTunes.

How can you possibly encounter an album like this? The weight of expectations looms large, and it cuts two ways. Because you get music from D’Angelo so infrequently, anything he releases feels like a blessing. At the same time, everything must be measured against Voodoo, a dense, relentlessly groovy record which came out in 2000, managing to both spawn hits and please critics. Voodoo isn’t just the finest album of the neo-soul movement, it’s one of the landmark R&B records of the last two decades.

Few singers are as mercurial as D’Angelo, and few singers attract the same level of reverence. It’s hard to think of any artist whose release schedule has been more infrequent: the man has put out just two albums in close to 20 years. He released Brown Sugar in 1995, an album that mingled keyboard-driven soul with hip-hop’s powerful beats. After that, the singer holed up in New York City’s Electric Lady Studios for five years. Voodoo came out in January of 2000, and it stretched and expanded his palette — emphasizing guitar and horns courtesy of a loose-knit, funk-heavy band full of all-star players.

At the same time, D’Angelo submerged his voice, shrinking away from the powerful lead vocal that distinguishes the classic soul-men. Unlike Marvin Gaye, Al Green, or Luther Vandross, this artist favored layers of vocals stacked in subtle, unpredictable formations. Done correctly, this has a tantalizing, bewitching effect, and Voodoo’s influence is still rippling outward; you can hear it on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, Beyonce’s “Rocket,” and Jessie Ware’s “Kind Of… Sometimes… Maybe.” Read more...