‘Black Messiah’ excellent, worth wait

Nick Filca, Staff Reporter

Smooth is defined as “even and uninterrupted in flow or flight” in the Merriam Webster dictionary. If I were to create a dictionary, I would define smooth as D’Angelo’s discography. D’Angelo is the king of R&B in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard to see why. “Brown Sugar,” “Voodoo” and “Black Messiah” have all been borderline revolutionary LPs and are guaranteed to be remembered for years by music lovers.

“Black Messiah” shook the music world like an earthquake upon its release. D’Angelo hadn’t released anything for 14 years and this masterpiece just came out of nowhere. How many truly consistent artists are there anyway? D’Angelo’s latest release is not only well made, but is just generally refreshing.

“Black Messiah” opens up with “Ain’t That Easy,” a song that plain and simple contains what a lot of albums of the R&B genre lacks and that is soul. “Ain’t That Easy” is a release of pure feelings: love, disparity, and tragedy. “Ain’t That Easy” is the perfect introduction. The track is subtle as it prepares you for what’s to come.

D’Angelo’s song structure becomes more and more complex with each song. “1000 Deaths” takes a look into how quickly a song can switch gears, and how being experimental can lead to this almost surreal experience. What music experience is better than being surrounded

in the artist’s world? Why does one listen to an album? For the same reason one watches a movie or reads a book. To escape. Unfortunately for the viewers/listeners out there, not many compilations of visuals or sounds truly accomplish their goals. Fortunately for the enthusiasts out there, it becomes easier to separate the good from the great. D’Angelo is the latter, and “1000 Deaths” shows exactly that.

Upon first listen, I believed that every song would be the same formula jumbled around a little bit, and it sure seemed that way until the track switches up, catching one doubting its contents. Every single time I was thrown for a loop. I cannot say that about many albums, but “Black Messiah” kept catching me off guard.

Pure beauty is shown all throughout this album. ”Really Love” is a prime example of the complete honesty and genuine love seen with every track. D’Angelo doesn’t mess around with synonyms or signals, he just cuts straight to the point of love. “When you look at me I open up instantly, I fall in love so quickly.” Simple, yet blissful. Sincerity is a rarity, and it’s excellent to see that it hasn’t been lost completely.

As bad as it sounds, I went through Black Messiah looking for mistakes. On the first listen, I truly found none. I was too caught up in amazement and enjoyment to do so. On the second and third, I still had trouble, and the fourth time is the only time I actually got something. Were these flaws major? Absolutely not. Did they throw me off the album? Not at all. So, what’s wrong with “Black Messiah,” you may be asking? The answer is that I wish I could have more-all throughout I did not want it to end.

The reality is, “Black Messiah” is at perfect length, but the pure pleasure I experienced from this album left me

wanting track after track. There isn’t more to be expected of D’Angelo, of course, because if there’s any one person that’s doing their job well right now it’s him. The truly minor hiccups were some of the elements perhaps making recurring appearances too soon, but the imagery projected makes you think that the vision D’Angelo had made the album this way.

Another truly remarkable feat of “Black Messiah” is its ability to drown negativity that is inevitable in everyday life. This concept is often mentioned in the album, with endless positivity and supportive ideas. “Prayer” highlights some ways in which your mindset and way of life can change with motivation and faith. D’Angelo goes on to declare that, despite the weight negative factors can have in your life, he believes “that someday we will rise.”

The closing track “Another Life” ends the album fittingly with calmness, evenness, and closure, leaving nothing else for listeners to question. D’Angelo goes through this state of self-fulfillment in the sense that he asks many questions about human interaction in his own life and the large scale that is the world. “Prayer” goes on to ask more questions, like “How does one attempt to be the kind of friend that you would want to keep?” Returning that sense of disparity and its almost guaranteed involvement in any relationship.

Love, emotion, and politics. These topics have been discussed to the moon and back, but somehow D’Angelo manages to keep it so new and clean that even the most skeptical will be surprised. As for the title itself, D’Angelo decided to address “Black Messiah’s” controversy upon release. D’Angelo goes on to explain that it has nothing to do with religion, but rather with “feeling that collectively, we are all that leader.”