D’angelo is back with his highly anticipated third studio album, ‘Black Messiah’. It has been a long 14 years since his last album release, and boy, has he been missed. This has to be the most exciting news we’ve heard since Floetry finally decided to reunite on a London stage in December 2014 (let's also pray that event was not a one off).
We got our first taste of Mr. ‘Brown Sugar’ in 1995. The story of how Michael Eugene Archer (who later took on the moniker D’angelo) was discovered is quite an interesting anecdote. His cousin was an aspiring rapper and D'angelo produced the tracks on his cousin's demo tape to send around to record labels. Eventually, a label did get in touch; however, it was not the news that his cousin was expecting. Unfortunately for him, they were more interested in finding out who produced the demo than who rapped on it. The label were even more delighted to discover that not only had they got their hands on a world class producer, but had hit the jackpot when D'angelo also turned out to be an outstanding vocalist. D'angelo was signed and started producing for other well known artists, such as Usher and Boyz II Men. He then began work on his own debut project.
At the age of 21, D'angelo’s debut album 'Brown Sugar' dropped in 1995, giving us timeless Neo-soul classics such as title track ‘Brown Sugar’, and 90's hits ‘Lady’ and ‘Cruisin’. His follow up album 'Voodoo' (released in 2000) was just as timeless, giving us the stripped back and intimate single 'Untitled (How does it feel). Yes, the key words in that last sentence were ‘stripped’ and ‘intimate’. Let's all just take a moment to reminisce about THAT UNFORGETTABLE music video…sigh…..
Credited to D’angelo and The Vanguard; the sound of this new album can be viewed as the natural progression from his second album, Voodoo (2000). Still encompassing D’angelo’s recognised style of R&S (Rhythm & Soul), ‘Black Messiah’ has a real throwback funk based sound but with an up to date feel. I definitely hear influences from the great funk bands of the 70’s and 80s, such as Parliament and The Gap Band. Straight away the album opens up with a heavy old school bass guitar track with husky, smokey vocals called ‘Ain’t That Easy’. Immediately you can hear how his sound has evolved in all these years that he’s been away. The vibe is still very soulful, but a little more seasoned and sensually aggressive. Track no.4 ‘Suguh Daddy’ also interpolates a great funky baseline, but with the higher pitched falsetto vocals that D’angelo has become known for hitting impeccably. There are also a few tracks on this album that bring back fond memories of his first and second albums (Track no.5 ‘Really Love’ and Track no.10 ‘The Door’). Moreover, I love the lyrical content of this album. On a few tracks, such as Track No. 2 ‘1000 Deaths’, D’angelo gets political, which you have to admire with the current state of world affairs. You really can not beat good soul music with a message.
Already a winner with critics, 'Black Messiah' is a definitely a winner with us 211 Girls too. This album is currently on repeat here at the 211 headquarters and will be for months to come. His UK shows scheduled for February 2015 are already selling so well, he has added a few extra dates. Don't miss out on your chance to see the 'Second Coming'. Get your ticket (and his new album) now!