Black Messiah (LP)


D'Angelo

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$24.98
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Amoeba Review

12/22/2014

The long-awaited Black Messiah caps off 2014 as the year’s best soul album. But to call it soul or R&B would be reductive. Even more so than D’Angelo’s previous two albums, the excellent Brown Sugar and neo-soul masterpiece Voodoo, Black Messiah eschews any preconceived notions of what R&B, pop, music in general should be. Black Messiah draws upon a rich history of black music, notably blues, jazz and gospel and funk, and blows them out into billowing, smokey jams that seep under your skin, work their way into your veins. “Ain’t That Easy” rides hard on The Vanguard’s hip-hop beat and raunchy funk chords, while D’Angelo delivers an impassioned vocal and conciliatory lyrics like a sleek modern-day update of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” “1,000 Deaths” lays out Black Messiah’s other theme, starting with a powerful passage by an African American preacher that rails against the presentation of Jesus as a white savior. Over The Vanguard’s stuttering, skronking beat, D’Angelo’s multitracked vocal paints a harrowing picture but makes its most memorable couplet a rallying cry for the oppressed (“A coward dies a thousand times/But a soldier only dies just once), ending in an ecstatic, Prince-worthy cry and Hendrixy guitar explosions. Like Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah albums, or (aesthetically) like Kanye West’s Yeezus, Black Messiah is remarkably adventurous throughout. “The Charade” shuffles along a beat reminiscent of Radiohead’s “There, There,” dazzles with springs of sitar and builds to a thick climax. Similarly, “Back to the Future (Part I)” and “II” breaks up a future-funk suite about breaking up, keeping you engaged with its heady groove. Black Messiah’s more accessible moments make for some of the loveliest songwriting D’Angelo’s put to tape, with lush devotionals like “Till It’s Done (Tutu)” and “Really Love” and the jaunty alien jazz of “Sugah Daddy” making for perfect mixtape material. D’Angelo definitely kept us waiting a while for this one, but his remarkably consistent catalog to this point shows that the best things come to those who wait. Truly, Black Messiah is a densely layered soul masterpiece.



Track Listing



Side A Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Ain’t That Easy
D'Angelo 04:49
2.
1000 Deaths
D'Angelo 05:49
3.
The Charade
D'Angelo 03:20


Side B Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Sugah Daddy
D'Angelo 05:02
2.
Really Love
D'Angelo 05:44


Side C Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Back To The Future (Part I)
D'Angelo 05:52
2.
Till It’s Done (Tutu)
D'Angelo 03:51
3.
Prayer
D'Angelo 04:32


Side D Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Betray My Heart
D'Angelo 05:55
2.
The Door
D'Angelo 03:08
3.
Back To The Future (Part II)
D'Angelo 02:24
4.
Another Life
D'Angelo 05:58

Vinyl
Buy
$24.98
SHIPS FREE in U.S.
Also available in: CD
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