Album of the Week – BLACK MESSIAH BY D’ANGELO AND THE VANGUARD
Following the release of the critically acclaimed album ‘Voodoo’ and after an 11-year hiatus, D’Angelo returns to the stage with ‘Black Messiah’. The ‘R&B Jesus’, as described by rock critic Robert Christgau, delivers yet another exceptional, poignant and timeless 12 track work that his fans and the music industry have waited so long to hear. The album features his band, The Vanguard, alongside Pino Palladino, James Gadson and Questlove on various tracks on the album, all resulting in a display of outstanding live musicianship. These recordings were further enhanced by the use of analogue technology, tapes and vintage equipment, putting D’Angelo and his fellow musicians raw and undeniable talents front and centre.
From an early age, D’Angelo was extremely aware of the power and responsibility that comes with the medium of music. In a recent interview for GQ Magazine, D’Angelo says; “This [music] is a very powerful medium that we are involved in,” he says gravely. “I learned at an early age that what we were doing in the choir was just as important as the preacher. It was a ministry in itself.” As for the album’s content, D’Angelo credits much of its inspiration from many of the political, social and economic injustices of his peers. “Tragedy flows unbound and there’s no place to run – Do we even know what we’re fighting for? – I believe that some day we will rise.” All lyrics included on the release were written by D’Angelo in addition to Q-Tip and Kendra Foster who both co-wrote several tracks. When stripping back the album to it’s bare lyrical content, it is clear to audiences that D’Angelo hopes to continue to inspire hope and progress towards change and prosperity for the people of today and the youth of tomorrow.
“It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and everyplace where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen.” – D’Angelo
Here is what D’Angelo himself had to say about the album:
“‘Black Messiah’ is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah. It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and everyplace where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are) but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.”
Although there is no news of an upcoming Australian leg of the current ‘Black Messiah’ tour we have still got our fingers crossed!