Sunday, July 26, 2009

488. Voodoo- Earth Wind and Fire for Generation Y.

Album: Voodoo.

Artist: D’Angelo.

Year: 2000

Genre: Neo-Soul (apparently)


1. Playa Playa
2. Devil's Pie
3. Left & Right (feat. Method Man & Redman)
4. The Line
5. Send It On
6. Chicken Grease
7. One Mo'Gin
8. The Root
9. Spanish Joint
10. Feel Like Makin' Love
11. Greatdayindamornin' / Booty
12. Untitled (How Does It Feel)

There are lots of similarities between D’Angelo’s Voodoo and Earth Wind and Fire’s That’s the way of The World. Both feature talented vocalists with emphasis on harmony, both use real instruments as backing, both have an uptempo song which works as the standout track and both are genuinely tedious.

Apparently Voodoo is a prime example of neo-soul music, which I think is like normal soul music only slower and duller. I really struggled through D’Angelo’s masterpiece which puts me at odds with the Amazon customer reviewers who seemed to suggest that this was the only CD in existence and was compulsory listening for everyone on the planet. They were either listening to a different album or else they saw things in it that I was missing completely. With only one exception it felt like every track was the same tempo. Songs lasted for seven minutes but felt like lifetimes as they maintained the some beat without much variation. D’Angelo crooned on about whatever was on his mind over a wash of his own backing vocals.

I just didn’t like Voodoo but that’s okay because you get the impression D’Angelo is loving it enough for both of us. I think it’s more than possible he’s got a bit of an ego on him. Look, I might be doing him an injustice but watch the video clip for (Untitled) how does it feel which features him wearing jewelry and nothing else. It’s a one-take rendition of the song in which D’Angelo stands nude in front of a black background. The shot is always carefully framed so you can’t see his Voodoo Chile but it’s clear he’s starkers. Full credit to the guy, he’s better ripped than a 320Kbs MP3. He’s obviously spent as much time on his body as his body of work and he’s determined we should share the benefits in the video clip as he poses and flexes and croons. It reinforces a view I formed when I was listening to the album- I think this was all written with the female audience in mind.

I didn’t enjoy it but I could appreciate that D’Angelo is a talented guy. He can sing and he’s no record executive creation. It’s his album and he receives songwriting, production and a lot of instrument credits. And when he doesn’t play himself he calls in experienced players to work with him. Spanish Joint is the albums up tempo number and it’s a jazzy little piece of funk with a great groove full of really tasty guitar licks. It’s a great moment that suddenly crops up at the end of the album to wake you up from the stupor the rest of the tunes induce.

Spanish Joint.
Lowlight: That point about Track seven when you start screaming “This is the same as all the other tracks. Please stop now!”

Influenced by:
Earth, Wind and Fire.
Influenced: Lots of women.

Best amazon customer review quote: “Voodoo is the slow burning flame, the cardshark that decided to slowplay his flush and get paid off in a big way on the river, the tortoise that beat the hare. Like the most special people, you are still learning new and exciting things about it after a year of being around one another.”

-I’m not following- how is the cardshark begging paid off on a river?

So do you Voodoo or would you rather Voodon’t? Let me know below.

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