Pigs may not be flying, Hell has yet to freeze over, but THE DETOX OF NEO-SOUL IS FINALLY HERE, Y'ALL!
It's been said that everything happens when it's supposed to and that can be easily applied to D'Angelo's LOOOONG-awaited third album, Black Messiah. Hardcore fans may recognize a couple of the tracks from internet leaks here and there ("1000 Deaths") or the handful of European tour dates he's performed over the years ("Ain't That Easy", "The Charade", "Sugah Daddy" & "Another Life"), but similar to fellow Soulquarian Common's Nobody's Smiling, it's a timely record, most of which can easily serve as a soundtrack to the protests that are going on around the U.S. right now, speaking directly to social injustices that have been happening ("The Charade" & "Till It's Gone (Tutu)").
When he's not being a freedom fighter, D is still the lover ladies have come to live for, on the lead single, "Sugah Daddy", as well as "Really Love", "Betray My Heart", "The Door" and "Another Life". Although none of them are quite like the classic, "Untitled (How Does It Feel?)", they're still slinky, sexy tracks in their own right and at least one of them will cause some babies to be made (possibly my favorite, "Another Life", will be the one, no pun intended). He even mentions his absence on "Back To The Future (part 1)" with clever lines eluding to his famous assets like, "...if you're wondering about the shape I'm in/I hope it ain't my abdomen that you're referring to".
Even in his way-too-long absence, D'Angelo and his backing band The Vanguard (which includes The Time/Original 7even member Jesse Johnson!) manage to continue to stay away from autotuning the soul out of his gospel-tinged jazzy vocals while playing the hell out of LIVE INSTRUMENTS, with some funk influence a la Sly & The Family Stone on "Ain't That Easy", a little Spanish guitar ("Really Love"), Prince ("Sugah Daddy"), The Roots' Questlove on drums, and a dash of psychedelic rock all rolled into one spectacular piece of music. I'm so close to buying a record player and getting a copy of this album on vinyl, it's not even funny! Black Messiah was so worth the wait, but D'Angelo better NOT take another decade and a half to make greatness for us again!
Play on repeat: "Ain't That Easy", "Sugah Daddy", "Really Love", "Betray My Heart", "Another Life"
Real Talk moment(s): "1000 Deaths" (it's a cool song, but if you manage to skip ANYTHING on the album, it'll probably be this track), "The Charade", "Back To The Future (part 1)", "Till It's Gone (Tutu)", "Prayer"
Listenable Status (based on # of tracks): 11 out of 12