2016 Grammy Nominations:
After a 14 year hiatus, D'Angelo returns with on of the highest acclaimed albums of last year. Apparently this is his return from a dark life downward spiral of drinking, loss, and heartache. Who doesn't love a good come back story?
The tracks have been getting developed for almost 9 years now, alongside Questlove. The rumors have been running rampant and the anticipation was built for years. And while 2011/12 found him back on tour, it was 2014 that brought us recordings as well.
I like the approach with the sermon that "1000 Deaths" starts and seems to carry through. There's music behind it, and the sound is like that through a megaphone. So really, I don't enjoy listening to it. But conceptually, there's something very cool put together here. So I guess you could say that I appreciate the production that went into the creation.
"The Charade" slows is all down just a little bit. It's somewhere between the D'Angelo we knew and the weird new one we got in the first two songs. I can't understand about half of the lyrics that are happening, though the overall melody is something to groove to.
Okay, I like the funky little intro to "Sugah Daddy." I even like the melody. The beat never really speeds up, so it remains pretty steady as it goes. I can dig this.
"Really Love" is the nominated song, so you'd expect it to be really great. In reality, greatness might not be there in the bigger realm of music, but the sound is classically D'Angelo, so if that's what they were all looking for in his comeback, then I understand the acclaim. Having never cared one way or the other, I'm bias free launching in, and I can say that in general this isn't my cup of tea.
In just a generally funky number, we get "Back to the Future (Part 1)" and if you're wondering, sure, if you be a part of the movie (if I'd ever seen the whole movie - but that's beside the point here people). I am getting slight flashbacks to one of the Men In Black soundtracks though for some reason. I guess that's not a bad thing.
"Till It's Done (Tutu)" makes me just sink into this feeling that this is a background music album. It's not one that's making me sit up and want to take the words into hard account and act upon them. Instead, it one that could be comfortably grooving on in the background without heavy consideration. It's fine, and that's about all I need it to be.
Oh, right, we're onto another song! See what I mean? "Prayer" slows down just a little, but it's much of the same, There's this added metallic droning in the background that's boring its way into my skull though.
"Betray My Heart" turns things around a bit with a really funky guitar part. There's some mild scatting even that turns the sound in a cool, new direction. I don't want to degrade the entire album, but by comparison, this is the stand out track.
So there's something incredibly familiar about "The Door." Just in the whistling portion... or really, the melody in general. I can't place it, but it's something we've heard before. There's a cute sing-song element to it that doesn't entirely fit the whole album, but it's okay.
"Back to the Future (Part II)" come up as we're nearing the end. I think what most gets under my skin is that there is a constant group of voices, instead of just one. I get that the "and the..." part of the artist name should allow for this, but it's just not what I would have expected or wanted on this go-around. It's just a little much. I don't want to be overwhelmed.
As if I was heard, "Another Life" strips it back to an individual voice and a piano leading the background instrumentation. It builds though. The voices come back. That taste of simpler times is gone quickly, and then we're done.
- "Sugah Daddy"
- "Betray My Heart"
I try really hard to maintain my musical bias when reviewing. I am really, truly open to all genres and just because I listen to mostly rock music doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good R&B album once in a while. But this just wasn't great enough to break down that wall and make me a believer. It's not something I'm going to invest more time into, and I'm glad it's done.