It used to make sense for publications to close their year-end lists early given the long lead time of print magazines, but the online age's impatience to barely wait beyond the opening gunshot of December 1 really just seems to be about firsties. Every December one artist drops a late-year bombshell, exploding the folly of the entire listmaking enterprise. Last year, it was Beyoncé (whose self-titled surprise sneaked into our package). This year? D'Angelo.
The reclusive savior of neo-soul (retro-neo-soul?) has chosen today to unleash his almost-15-years-in-the-making follow up to the 2000 classic, Voodoo. It's called Black Messiah and you can stream it at the bottom of this post or buy it on iTunes.
The album features D'Angelo's right hand man, ?uestlove, plus lyrics from Q-Tip and Kendra Foster of Parliament Funkadelic. Like last year's all-of-a-sudden drop of My Bloody Valentine's it's-actually-happening album, Black Messiah sounds simultaneously of a different time and unmoored by temporality altogether. So maybe we should just call it the best album of a decade ago and go on with our feeble attempts to impose order on chaos.