Release date: January 25, 2000. So: Voodoo. Definitely one of the best albums of the decade, easily. One of the best babymaking albums of all time, and I used to wake up to it spinning in my CD player alarm clock and the sounds of voodoo that started out the album would freak me out on the regular.
I saw D'Angelo play Boston during the Voodoo tour and it was the best show I’d ever seen, hands down. Upwards of twenty people on stage, vamping and freaking and making each song stretch out so it was nearly unbearable. Everyone was standing on their chairs (it was an outdoor venue), screaming the whole time. D'Angelo ran through the crowd at one point in his wifebeater - when he came back onstage, it was a string around his neck. Female hysteria was the order of the day.
The last song was “Untitled (How does it feel)” and one by one the band left the stage, so it was just D and his keyboard, playing the riff:
I love you Boston.
Do you love me?
Fainting, screaming, freaking out. The best show ever. This video sort of almost gets the vibe, but it’s really impossible to capture.
Spin tried to do a “what happened to D?” piece. It was okay - but if you really want to get an idea, I’d recommend looking at Toure’s book of journalism/essays Never Drank the Kool-Aid. He had one Rolling Stone piece that came out around the time I saw D'Angelo, where D and ?uestlove were talking about their James Brown inspirations for tour and how they’re really creating a new black soul revolution; and then, later in the book Toure does an Q&A with ?uestlove where he talks about how much pressure D'Angelo was under regarding his buff body, how women just tore at him, how it drove him a little crazy. Taken together, they’re a fascinating portrait. (I’ve always thought Toure was a hell of a writer. It makes me sadder to see him on Fuse and not writing.)
It’s interesting though: Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, D'Angelo. It felt like a thing, right? And it wasn’t sustainable. I feel like that happens a lot in pop culture; it’s easy to relate it to movies, where a Wes Anderson can come out and become a “Wes Anderson,” (or any of the class of 99 - Spike Jonze, David O. Russell - and how is the latter signing onto movies?) whereas the road is littered with fantastic female directors who had one movie…and that’s kind of it. There’s a link in there, I suppose. White dudes falling into the status quo have the luxury of sustaining their careers…