D'Angelo
Voodoo


5.0
classic

Review

by Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (98 Reviews)
June 7th, 2010 | 29 replies | 10,332 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A dark masterpiece of soul that positions D'Angelo among the greats

Think of something dark. No, not just night or the color black, but something… thicker. A near sludge of darkness, like murky water showing nothing but your own distorted reflection, now imagine falling straight into that darkness. Congratulations, you just started listening to Voodoo by D’Angelo, and it is one of the darkest funk records of all time. The whole album seems to have some loose narrative about things that go down only at night. The lowest moments of the night seems to seep through the entire record with release coming in relationships and sex, elevating the experience above the mood music of Brown Sugar into something more gripping and elemental.

Voodoo is an interesting album to listen to on headphones, but I personally have to encourage listening to it through speakers with a decent subwoofer. The songs don’t so much come from the speakers as much as they creep from them, slowly filling the room with atmosphere. This holds particularly true with Playa Playa, opening with what sounds like, appropriately, a Voodoo ritual of some kind. It then becomes a statement of intent and purpose. “Steal you with my two shot, control you with my drop, blaze you with my handle, and bless you with my pop” sing multi-tracked D’Angelos. Playa Playa exists to serve as a show opener; something to “turn this mutha’ out”, but the effect isn’t so much of excitement as it is seduction. Playa Playa is the set up, and Devils Pie becomes the ambush. Rebuking man for his pursuit of life’s evil pleasures while examine his own wicked pursuits, painting himself as a man conflicted over what he should do and what he is doing. The whole thing comes to a head with the incredible “Fall in line/Fall in line” bridge, transforming the song from depression to redemption. What follows is the albums only slight misstep, Left & Right. The two guest rappers, Method Man and Redman, are unnecessary and disrupt the flow of the song. It’s not a particularly bad song; it just doesn’t quite belong in the context of Voodoo’s better tracks. I’m sure there are people out there who enjoy it much more than me, but it just never worked for me.

The next handful of songs rides a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. The valley of near suicide in The Line, the cool coffee shop soul high of Send It On and funk jam Chicken Grease, back into the lost love lament low of The Root. Then a quick jam (Spanish Joint) a smooth cover (Feel Like Makin’ Love) and then the three best songs on the album to close it out. Greatdayindamornin’ works a fantastic groove for its entirety while D’ spits about day to day living (Lord knows if there's an angle, gotta try to find it/Gotta get over, before the sun comes up/Just in case of an emergency, gotta tighten up) and also sporting one of the best chorus’s on the album. Then, after a slight jam, comes Untitled.

Ok, this is the song that everyone points to as the highlight. Untitled (How Does It Feel?), the song that’s been in all the “Best of the Decade” lists, and for good reason. It is the best song on the album. It’s a 5 star stunner across the board, and it’s the moment where the album bursts free from the darkness into the bright light of sexual climax. After working a massive groove for almost 6 minuets, D’Angelo finally takes his voice and throttles it, busting through the ceiling and the walls leaving only the listener and the singer. It’s incredible to behold and what better way to follow up such a high with the calm of Africa. Its chiming melody sings one to sleep as D’Angelo spins a yarn of African heritage. It’s a beautiful way to close out a dark album. But just as it ends scattered bits of the album play in reverse, rewinding back to the beginning, and before you know it, its started again.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
StrizzMatik
June 29th 2010



3158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm utterly fucking SHOCKED no one has commented on this album. No one at all??? You people suck. Anyways, yes, you got it right on the head. It's a masterpiece, one of the smoothest albums ever made and what Prince wishes he was still like. Watch out for D, he's writing new material XD XD XD First D'Angelo interview in almost ten years

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2010



1482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the link bro.

Digging: Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2010



6925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shit I just picked this up, I needed an album like this in my collection.

Andre3000
August 29th 2010



62 Comments


this album is pure awesome.
btw, if i like/love this, will i like brown sugar?

StrizzMatik
August 29th 2010



3158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Brown Sugar is almost as awesome but stylistically not as varied as this

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2010



6925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this albums pretty incredible, i just wish there were more parts like the quoted "steal you with my two shot". i don't like the high-pitched vocals he uses sometimes.

Chrisjon89
April 23rd 2011



2964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is brilliant so far. The grooves are pure filth.

Digging: Elizabeth Rose - Elizabeth Rose

Tupik
November 5th 2011



667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So sexy and funky

rjk
December 15th 2011



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I showed "Africa" to my friend. He said it sounds like a song "make love to D'Angelo". D'Angelo may be emotional, but sounds quite honest at the same time. And at least he doesn't show off as much, but just writes good songs.

jefflebowski
February 3rd 2012



6842 Comments


best soul album of the last 25 years fo sho'

bthirteen
March 4th 2012



2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

never heard a better nu-soul album.
this is just incredible good. d'angelo is a real genius!

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2012



1482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

A good album.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2012



1482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yes yes yes 2012

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2012



1482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Firin' this one up again right now. Mmmmm, mmmm.

DuMont
July 31st 2012



84 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, definitely does the album justice. I would say my favourites are Playa Playa, Send It On and Feel Like Makin' Love, although it's really hard to pick any.

The lack of attention this has on sputnik is wholly unacceptable, this is a fucking classic. Voodoo just gives and gives boundlessly, I would say it's comfortably one of the greatest records of the 21st century.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2012



1482 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Its influence is starting to be felt in the music industry. I bet Frank Ocean is a fan.

JahMercy
October 20th 2012



18 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just keep coming back to this album, unbelievably rewarding.
The liner notes in the booklet gives a slight hint on why this is such a masterpiece.

Ethics
November 19th 2012



4112 Comments


sick

Ethics
November 19th 2012



4112 Comments


nasty chicken grease lovin

Ethics
November 19th 2012



4112 Comments


my future wife: http://youtu.be/6hd5Txlwvbs



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