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DAR Music: The Best D'Angelo Songs

By @TrueGodImmortal 

When looking at artists of our time, I know one artist who probably isn't seen as consistent is D'Angelo. Despite three great albums over a 20 year period, he suffers from the flip side of that coin. While his music has never been lackluster or bad, it hasn't been much to listen to. So, today, I wanted to take a look at some of his best songs. Some of these are covers, some of these are his singles, and some are his vest album tracks and miscellaneous songs. Let's get into it.

Brown Sugar
-The debut album from D'Angelo is a classic. Released in 1995, it's one of the first albums to really tap into the Neo-Soul vibe and sound. Mostly self produced, this album has a large number of great tracks, but I'm only listing the very best of the best on this one. Let's take a look.

*D'Angelo- Brown Sugar (1995)
-One of the first introductions we got to him and his music, Brown Sugar was the title track to his classic debut album. With a smooth jazz vibe and knocking drums, D'Angelo sings about the object of his affection, which on this particular track, happens to be weed. A classic track indeed.

*D'Angelo- Cruisin (1995)
-A cover of the Smokey Robinson classic, I dare say that this version is better than the original. It's hard to pinpoint what makes this one better than the original exactly, but something about it resonates more. Maybe the layered harmonies and the smooth vocals exceeded the styling of Smokey, which is rare, but this is a perfectly executed cover.

*D'Angelo- Me And Those Dreaming Eyes Of Mine (1995)
-One of the more iconic songs of his career, the jazzy vibe on this is really amazing. The way the organ begins the song and smoothly leads into the guitar riffs that end up carrying the verses is one of my favorite things about this song. The hook and bridge is instant sing along material.

*D'Angelo- Lady (1995)
-This Raphael Saadiq assisted track is amazing. One of my all time favorite "love songs", this has the essential Saadiq drums during the peak Neo-Soul era (soft kick drums with a nice for the pattern), and the smooth guitar riffs to carry it over. D'Angelo coasts over this track and sings directly to the woman of his desire, and the infectious hook is the icing on the cake.

Covers And Collaborations
-In between his first and second album, D'Angelo was very active on the soundtrack and miscellaneous track circuit. These are the best songs he put out during this period.

*Erykah Badu & D'Angelo- Your Precious Love (1996)
-Is it odd to see a cover song on this list? It shouldn't be. In this case, Badu and D'Angelo combined to make a truly great cover of the original classic from Marvin and Tammy, with a slight Neo-Soul twist. If you haven't heard this one yet, make sure you do so now.

*B.B. King & D'Angelo- Ain't Nobody Home (1997)
-When the blues and Neo-Soul combine, great things can happen. Seeing D'Angelo and this blues legend work together was different, but the song is so bluesy and funky that it fits both these artists perfectly. I could listen to this track over and over. RIP B.B. King.

*D'Angelo- Heaven Must Be Like This (1998)
-Another cover, this time of a classic Ohio Players track, works beautifully. I think one of the craziest things about his covers is that D'Angelo simply owns them and makes them his, and this is no different. It doesn't follow the exact same cadence and style of the original and when doing a cover the right way that's how it should be done.

*D'Angelo- She's Always In My Hair (1998)
-Okay, so this is the last cover track from him on this list, I promise. This is probably his most infamous cover, as it was referenced and used on his Greatest Hits album as well. He takes the track and owns it, and this is my personal favorite cover of his, which is saying a lot.

*Lauryn Hill & D'Angelo- Nothing Even Matters (1998)
-I remember the first time I heard this song and I thought it was interesting for having minimal drums and snaps, which wasn't the norm at the time. It felt like watching two Neo-Soul singers in a poetry Jam, and while this wasn't normal to me, it worked. Both Lauryn and D'Angelo sang amazingly on this track and this is an all time classic. I sometimes wish this was a part of Voodoo too, as it would have fit perfect in the middle of the album.

Voodoo Era
-His best album is Voodoo, and even though Brown Sugar is a classic also, this album was one of those projects that still sounds new today. It has no dated feel and we've reviewed the album itself, but to point out the best songs from the album, we have to select the absolute best of the best. There are 5 truly special songs on the album, though every track is dope. These are the best of the best from Voodoo.

*D'Angelo- Devil's Pie (2000)
-Anytime you put DJ Premier on a track with a R&B artist, you're bound to get something special and this was no exception. A song that looks into the ills of the world and the temptation of money, fame, and the illegal side of living all fit perfect into where the song was first featured (in the movie "Belly"), and it was a great way to start off the Voodoo album.

*D'Angelo- The Line (2000)
-This track is one of my favorites on Voodoo and it's the way he flawlessly executes it that makes it really great. I think that's the best thing about D'Angelo and his music. It feels effortless, but it's all so great and this track is a true classic to me.

*D'Angelo- Send It On (2000)
-This might be my all time favorite D'Angelo song ever. It sounds majestic and the instrumentation honestly might be the best I've ever heard on a Neo-Soul track. Am I exaggerating? Not at all. The way it starts and leads into the horns, with the drums and the keyboards alongside the vocals and the infectious hook is honestly beyond description. D'Angelo is at his best when he's behind the smoothest production and it doesn't get any smoother than this.

*D'Angelo- The Root (2000)
-When I first heard this track, I couldn't process the greatness at first. The lyrics behind the sweet guitar riffs and the simple drums are just effortlessly executed. Everything seems to flow perfect on this song and when deciding if this song was better than the track I could have put here in place of it (the cover of "Feel Like Makin Love"), the hook and the harmony of this track instantly made the decision for me. The vocals on this track are some of my favorite from him in his entire career.

*D'Angelo- Untitled/How Does It Feel (2000)
-Probably his most infamous track and one of his best without a doubt. The slow seductive production provided by Raphael Saadiq is flawless and the way the guitar work with the drums is something special. I know, a lot of these tracks have something special about them, but this one is beyond the norm. The lyrics and vocals border on raunchy, but the production and infectious hook smooth it all out. The single version of this track runs about 4 minutes or so, but the 7 minute album version is really undefeated. It's a true classic track and one of the best bedroom anthems ever.

Collaborations During Inactivity
-During the 14 year period that it took to make Black Messiah (we still haven't heard James River), D'Angelo made a few tracks during the inactive period and a few guest spots. Most of the guest spots were big surprises like his work on Dr. Dre and Snoop's "Imagine", which was likely going to be a Detox track and his appearance on Common's "So Far To Go" were the most notable moments of him before his official return.

*Raphael Saadiq & D'Angelo- Be Here (2002)
-One of the singles off Raphael Saadiq's Instant Vintage album, this track is one of the more catchy ones that D'Angelo was featured in. The smooth funky vibe gives way to a really infectious hook. It's one of the last moments we got to witness the dope sounds of D'Angelo before the extended hiatus.

*Roy Hargrove & D'Angelo- I'll Stay (2003)
-Off of the RH Factor album, this smooth groove showcased D'Angelo singing over a jazzy production that is ripe with booming drums and horns. He would be featured on another RH Factor album, but the song wasn't as good as this one.

Black Messiah Era
-After 14 years, D'Angelo returned with a superb album, full of social awareness and love and empowerment. He had a lot of dope songs on the album as always, but what were the best songs? Let's examine.

*D'Angelo- Ain't That Easy (2014)
-I chose this track because of the extra funky vibe and the rhythms in the production. It's big and feels like something epic when the music plays and when D'Angelo comes on the track, it just elevates from there. I like the energy within the track, which makes it a favorite on Black Messiah.

*D'Angelo- Really Love (2014)
-The official first single is better than "Sugah Daddy", which was the first leak off the album, and it's one of the best songs off the album. This takes nothing away from the other great tracks on the album, but the smooth jazz villa vibe here is really something special. It's probably the smoothest on the album.

*D'Angelo- The Charade (2014)
-When this song first dropped, I was caught off guard by how vivid it was. Lyrically, it's simple but the vibe of a line like "all we wanted was a chance to talk... Instead we only got outlined in chalk", just resonates with me especially considering the turbulent time in America when this hit. It's probably the most socially aware song of his career, right there with "Devil's Pie" in terms of awareness.

*D'Angelo- Another Life (2014)
-I can only end this list off with the best song on Black Messiah and one of his best songs ever. This beautiful production feels like classic D'Angelo and the entire song flows beautifully. From the lyrics to the production, this is audio perfection. This track is literally right behind "Send It On" in terms of the best D'Angelo songs ever and if this was being ranked, I'd firmly have it at no. 2 (no. 3 at the least).


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