RS #481: D’Angelo – Voodoo

D'Angelo - Voodoo
For the year 2000, D’Angelo possesed the world’s most famous abs.

D’Angelo, Voodoo

Release Date: 2000
Previously Owned: No
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.

Starred Songs:  “Left and Right” “Untitled (How Does It Feel”
Sneaky Track:  “Playa Playa”
Should this album be on the list? Yes
Will you listen to this again?  Yes
Verdict: Neo-soul spiked with hip-hop and other accents comes out of the smoker with flavorful modern R&B. Food metaphor!
Rating: ★★★★