Context – waiting for instructions
D’Angelo does his best Otis Redding impression on this album, and it’s pretty tight. I love these revivals of more traditional genres of music, and D’Angelo’s is no different. Well, it’s plenty different. My love of the album is no different.
A lot of what I have to say was said in the review of A Seat at the Table. This album is super grounded in funk and soul, but finds a way to make the productions feel contemporary. The sonic landscape provided here wouldn’t be possible 50 years ago, but it’s still easily recognizable and familiar feeling.
I love LOVE love the tension this effect creates. Or if not tension than momentum. There’s an energy, kinetic or dormant, that seems inherent in this approach to music making. This energy is just begging to be released, and the only way out seems to be belting it in your best Otis Redding impression or to dance your ass off to it. I choose dancing, as no one wants to hear me sing.
This hybridization also makes it really easy to achieve “critical darling” status, as I remember people fawning over this album when it was released. Again, see also To Pimp a Butterfly or A Seat at the Table. I’m sure I could read more into the lack of willingness to let music, especially music by black artists, progress or invent beyond a tradition we seem bent on shackling these artists to. I could use similar logic to argue for the validity of adherence to more traditional forms, as it places the music in a context that we can use as a foundation through which to judge it.
But that is for a more intelligent blog than mine. I’m just here to give Yelp reviews.
4 and a quarter stars would recommend to you, your parents, and your grandparents. Everybody could groove to this. Everybody should groove to this. What are you waiting for? Get your groove on.