Praise Be Unto D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”

Christians have been awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ for more than two millennia, now. Comparatively, we had to wait just under 15 years for Black Messiah.

Notoriously reclusive R&B superstar D’Angelo quickly and quietly released Black Messiah, the long-awaited follow-up to 2000’s Voodoo, to iTunes and Spotify last night, after teasing the album over the weekend by dropping a 15-second album trailer on Friday and first single “Sugah Daddy” on Saturday.

Fifteen years is a long time to wait for a follow-up, and the track record for albums with such long waits, uh, isn’t good. (See: Chinese Democracy; SMiLE.) But damn if Black Messiah, on first listen, is well worth the delay. Black Messiah is a superlative funk record in the vein of Prince circa Prince, Sly circa There’s a Riot Going On and P-Funk circa “Maggot Brain,” thanks in large part to D’Angelo’s fierce and fluid backing band The Vanguard. “Sugah Daddy,” teased earlier in the weekend, is vintage D’Angelo, sexy and sprightly and playful. And the vicious, quasi-industrial “1000 Deaths” is already making me regret submitting my Village Voice Pazz + Jop ballot early.

Listen below.

Leak: No Doubt covers Adam Ant for Gossip Girl

The newly regrouped No Doubt will perform Adam Ant’s “Stand and Deliver” on an upcoming episode of Gossip Girl. The single leaked yesterday- a full month before the show is set to air, and it’s everywhere today. I’m definitely a fan of the original, but it’s an odd choice for No Doubt to cover, as so much of it relies on Ant’s British phrasing. Instead, Stefani hams it up California Girl-style with mixed results. I’m reminded somewhat of her solo work, which doesn’t leave the best taste in my mouth. I suppose, No Doubt could have taken the easy way out with one of Ant’s bigger hits, but at least this is sort of interesting, if slightly cringe-worthy. Since it’s a one-off for a TV show, let’s hope it’s not indicative of things to come.