One week ago, I was totally out of commission. A brutal sore throat that left me unable to talk, barely able to eat or drink (with every attempted swallow sending a spasm of pain through my body) and really wanting to pull the throat out of my neck and replace it with a new one. Every hour at night I awoke covered in sweat, some soul searing nightmare pulling me up through a thick medicine fog. And during the day, what little energy I did have, was spent searching for just about any type of painkiller that could bring some relief; the cruel irony of course being that none of them really offered any help. And so I was left trying to keep myself from swallowing as much as possible which is about as intuitive and easy as attempting to keep oneself from breathing.
Thankfully, one week later, not only am I in much better shape with just a bit of lingering throat pain but I am also listening to the one painkiller that I was missing all last week and that would have really helped. After 14 years of a a dark and rocky hiatus, D’Angelo has released Black Messiah, his follow up to 2000’s uber-successful Voodoo, this new gift being to us the listener, a cohesive collection of parts; part tracks of love and loss, part calls to the people to take action against injustice, part brilliance, part wtf.
I’ve talked some about the healing qualities of music over the years but, I’m steely serious…. Black Messiah would have helped me through all of that pain last week, if only it had been released then. Instead though, out of the blue, we have this gift to us from a musician who now reminds us how deeply his reach into the double helix of music runs. A timely gift that surely musses up many a person’s carefully curated list of their top and favorite releases of 2014. It should go without saying (though here I am saying it anyway) that “Betray My Heart” has just rocked my top 2014 #Tunesday track list.
It’s a very, very good release, with one hand pointing into the past and the other carrying a lantern’s flickering light, draping a golden glow over the shadows of the future. Onto the heavy rotation stack it goes.