Almost twenty years after its release, D’Angelo‘s ‘Voodoo’ continues to cast a spell on music lovers who celebrated its fifteenth birthday last month.
Among those grateful for its game-changing release are the sisters Beyonce and Solange, who have taken to the latter’s website to share their thoughts on the enamouring effort.
Their words below…
Voodoo is the church in which we all come to worship the religion of soul music. It is the word. It is the temple. It is the law for all lovers of true rhythm and blues. At 15-years-old, Voodoo is the most self-assured, decisive, deep in its roots, and “grown as hell” album in recent musical history I’ve ever experienced. A true testament to the term, timeless. Since its birth, it has always gone hand and hand with reflections of various milestones in my life. I was 13, when I heard “Untitled” and got goosebumps at the first knock of the snare. I couldn’t have been farther from having the answers when he belted “How Does It Feel,” but the deep down gutters of my soul said “Daaaaammmn Goot!”
My son was five when we filmed him trying his best attempt at break dancing to “Devils Pie,” if any song was gonna give him the spirit… that one was sure to. Almost seven years ago, I fell in love with my husband with “Africa” as our soundtrack, each chord of the beginning bells representing the sentiments of our oneness. “Send It On” became the song of the hour at many a Brooklyn house parties, about 15 women spread all around my apartment singing along emotionally in unison.
And alas, one of the greatest memories of my wedding was dancing to “Feel Like Making Love” until the wee hours, eyes closed, the biggest smile on my face. Whatever D’Angelo’s journey back to South Carolina and Virginia encompassed, somehow became my journey too. It delivered me. It spoke for me. It made me feel right around the corner from my ancestors. It help me to understand the woman I wanted to become.
Still a member of Destiny’s Child when the album was released, Beyonce shared:
Voodoo is as relevant today as it was when it first came out. D’Angelo’s harmonies, instrumentation and arrangements are iconic and timeless. His song structure of mixing classic R&B with the true roots of gospel jam session still resonates today. It is an album you can listen to from start to finish. This is the DNA of black music; all the love, pain, social statements and rawness punctuated by his effortless vocal progression from his funky low register to his sexy falsetto. My favourite song on the album is “Africa” and “Untitled” definitely inspired my song “Rocket.”
Joining them in their praise was the ‘Electric Lady‘ herself Janelle Monae, who had this to say when discussing the release:
Voodoo was by far one of the best concept albums in music. From the start of the first interlude, I knew D’Angelo had created his own world and I wanted to be in it. Although I couldn’t understand a lot of the words –and still can’t — it made me fall deeper in love with his melody and his tone. The live musicianship through out was incredible and has definitely influenced me and my production team, Wondaland, to always bring in live instrumentation through our albums. For example the horns, guitar, bass and etc.
The album was co-produced by Lucy Pearl‘s Raphael Saadiq and saw the Devil’s Pie maker support it with five singles and a supporting tour of the same name, featuring creative direction from Quest Love and vocals recorded by his R&B sibling Anthony Hamilton.
Despite being regarded as a classic by many, the project did not enjoy much commercial success, taking five years to cross the 1.7 million units milestone in the US, seeing just one of its singles, ‘(Untitled) How Does It Feel‘, impact the Hot 100’s Top 40 when it peaked at #25.