D’Angelo’s Late Arrival

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By: Connor Lenahan

I’ve spent the past three days with the latest release from D’Angelo. His first album in 14 years, Black Messiah, just dropped out of almost nowhere. There had been rumblings for years about whether or not the album would ever actually happen. It seemed like a rumor that would continue forever. Then, with just three days warning, the release was upon us. I grabbed the album at my shop on the first day it was available.

I sat and listened to it. I listened again. I have listened to the album in full twice each of the last three days. I will, almost assuredly, run through Black Messiah, again tonight while studying for finals. I kept having the same thought over and over: “This is one of those albums isn’t it?”

Those albums are the ones like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus by Kanye West. Those albums are like Channel Orange by Frank Ocean. Those albums are like good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar. Those albums are like This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem. Those five albums are in a category higher than anything else I have heard in the 2010’s decade. Those are special. Those are albums that, upon listening, the knowledge that it is a classic is instantly apparent.

Black Messiah is in that category. It sounds like a classic. It deservingly has achieved universal acclaim. If it doesn’t get a perfect review it gets as close as possible. Metacritic has the album marked at a 95/100. Metacritic combines the reviews of major sources. So when it collectively says that “No, seriously, Black Messiah is unbelievable,” there are a lot of people backing this opinion.

Even though I’ve got to spend a great deal of time with the album thus far I still need more. I still want more. Along with Run the Jewels 2 it’s the best thing I’ve heard this year. I had a spoiled 2013 in that many of my favorite artists – Kanye West, Drake, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, Queens of the Stone Age, Run the Jewels, Childish Gambino, etc. – released albums. 2014 was by and large a disappointment for me. I was stuck waiting on a lot of those people to come around.

D’Angelo changed that. I had just listened to his magnum opus, “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” a few days before the announcement. The new album was a gift from the world. Just when I was stuck with not much else to carry me through the winter months I got this album. And what an album it is.

Run, run fast to your computers. Join in on the fun. listen and be amazed. There is amazing music waiting for you.