First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: D’Angelo is never in a rush. Songs take as long as they need to (the shortest track on this album is still four and a half minutes.) He starts singing when ever he feels like it and he puts out albums when ever he wants to. Voodoo came out five years -an eternity in pop music- after his successful neo-soul debut Brown Sugar. Take the opening song; “Playa Playa.” It’s a slow-rolling, P-Funkian masterpiece co-produced with ?uestlove that takes seven minutes to unwind. You almost barely notice the song starting up with just a little background noise and finger snaps. Slow-cooked R ‘n B that falls off the bone, it’s so tender. Or something like that. He seems less concerned with hooks and more into overall vibe; which sees smooth R&B and hard-edged Hip/Hop as part of a musical crockpot rather than adversaries. He’s not just a predictable lovelorn R&B crooner, as “Devil’s Pie” has a Marvin Gaye-like concern with social ills and he’ll make way for Wu-Tang’s Redman and Method Man in “Left and Right.” “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” couldn’t be a slower jam but man, it works. Sometimes the tempo veers from “hypnotic” to “repetitive”, but he’ll throw in some samba rhythms in “Spanish Joint” and tasty guitar from Charlie Hunter to keep things from getting stale.