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by D'Angelo

Released January 25, 2000 via Virgin Records

Originally reviewed on January 23, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Untitled (How Does It Feel) (42%), Devil’s Pie (35%), Feel Like Makin’ Love (23%)

Stripped of fluff and inane extras, Voodoo is a project strictly about groove and lyrics. Not one detail on the album feels unnecessary and every track does something different than the last. Whether that be the instrumentals that utilize anything from dreamy, luscious organs to spine-tingling electric guitar to the record scratches by DJ Premier on “Devil’s Pie”, or the way D’Angelo glides over those elements, each song leaves a breadcrumb trail of nuance that might not be detected until the second or third time it’s traveled. It is safe to say that Voodoo is D’Angelo’s best album, transcending style and time in a way only indisputable classics do, and looking back 20+ years after its release only reinforces that fact. We now know a lot about D’Angelo; about what stardom, insecurity, immense talent, and intelligence can coalesce into for a person. And while Voodoo might have been a turning point for where D’Angelo’s career headed, it also reads like a sort of prophecy for the artist. It is full of pain and uncertainty, love and lust, skill and craftsmanship. It is also full of some of the best R&B and soul the world has ever heard. – Pax (10/10)

No matter the number of oceans and continents its name had to cross, none of voodoo’s potency has been wiped away. Although mysterious to those who view it from a distance, voodoo is, for so many, a necessity at its core. Rituals initiate possession of the practitioner; the spirits take over the bodies of those who worship. And for the sake of D’Angelo’s seminal piece of work, sharing the religion’s name, Voodoo does the trick. It feels as though the listener experiences not one, but two instances of voodoo. The first is on D’Angelo himself, being possessed by the greats of the past: Sly & The Family Stone, Marvin Gaye, and so many more who had fallen to the wayside during the club-oriented shift of R&B and soul music during the 90s. But D’Angelo isn’t hampered in the slightest by his possession. Instead? He decides to possess you, the listener. His harmonization and vocalization grab you by the ear, while the album’s themes pull at your soul. Themes of religion, devotion, love, lust, greed, and toeing the line between heaven and hell are all prevalent. All of this beauty is rolled up into the glossy exterior of instrumentation. Bass takes center stage, but isn’t afraid to let the horns, or the guitar, or the drums possess you either. That’s the beauty of music like this. It can possess you, and it doesn’t even feel like voodoo. – Ben (Synth) (10/10)

Voodoo is a vindicating testament to the potential upside of being patient. D’Angelo was devoid of inspiration for years after Brown Sugar, yet patient enough to allow the emotional drought to pass before delivering a highly-anticipated sophomore effort. As a singer and songwriter, D’Angelo demonstrated a heightened level of patience in constructing several songs to simmer, steam, and rise to a boil in powerfully climactic fashion. Few modern R&B records push themselves to average six minutes per song, but Voodoo is completely invested in getting you lost in the groove. As a midway point between the soul music from generations ago and the neo-soul generation it would spark, Voodoo is an indisputable, essential, and classic R&B record. – DeVán (9.5/10)

Five years after a promising debut with Brown Sugar, D'Angelo would return to release what many consider THE neo-soul album. Flush with urban sensuality and loose, funky song structures, Voodoo defines what the peak of neo-soul was all about. This is peak Soulquarians-era music and a reminder of what that extremely talented and innovative collective was capable of. Happy 20 years to an album that defines modern soul music! – Enth (9/10)

Pax: 10/10 | Victoria: 10/10 | Cam: 9.8/10 | DeVán: 9.5/10 | Hadley: 9.5/10
Daniel: 9/10 | Dominick: 9/10 | Enth: 9/10


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