The Mix Staff Members Pick Their Current FavoritesD'Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin)This sophomore release finds D'Angelo building off the strengths of his first album, Brown Sugar, employing stacks and stacks of smooth vocals (all arranged and sung by him), laid-back beats and melodies, and a classic R&B sound through live instrumentation. However, on Voodoo, D'Angelo takes the music even further, bringing in elements of other musical styles and topping them with thought-provoking lyrics. The jazzy "Spanish Joint" is such a song, with its Afro-Cuban sound, congas, Charlie Hunter guitar line, horns by the great Roy Hargrove and a catchy, lyrical delivery, while "Greatdayndamornin'" serves up a funky Rhodes and guitar backdrop for a tune about the struggles of everyday life. There's an uptempo remake of the Roberta Flack song "Feel Like Makin' Love" and a beautiful slow ballad called "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" that features some interesting guitar-piano interplay and a chorus that I found myself singing long after the song was finished. There are flashes of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix deep in the grooves of this generous 79-minute CD, but it's all been filtered through D'Angelo's unique vision. Voodoo provides lots of reasons to keep spinning cool.
Producer: D'Angelo (DJ Premier and Raphael Saadiq co-produced one track each). Engineer: Russell "The Dragon" Elevado. Mixing: D'Angelo and Russell Elevado. Studio: Electric Lady Studios (NYC). Mastering: Tom Coyne/Sterling Sound (NYC).