Sunday, February 01, 2009

804. D'Angelo - Brown Sugar (1995)



















Track Listing

1. Brown Sugar
2. Alright
3. Jonz In My Bonz
4. Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine
5. Shit, Damn, Motherfucker
6. Smooth
7. Cruisin'
8. When We Get By
9. Lady
10. Higher

Review

This album would be a hip-hop album if it weren't for the music. Let me explain: the lyrics, themes and explicitness of the thing are completely in the hip-hop domain, while the music gives us a really good R&B album.

This contrast is part of what makes the album original. This isn't R&B of a Toni Braxton or Mariah Carey, it's adult stuff, and pretty good stuff as well. Hell, it's R&B a man (or a woman over 15) doesn't have to be ashamed to listen to.

The influences are clear from Stevie Wonder to Barry White to Prince, D'Angelo has a great R&B lexicon in which to build his original vision of the genre. Actually it's a pity that this kind of R&B never got the success it deserves, while we keep getting endlessly recycled sugary-sweet vomit.

Track Highlights

1. Brown Sugar
2. Shit, Damn, Motherfucker
3. Cruisin'
4. Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Opened by falsetto ad-libs, an organ refrain and pulsating bass lines, the title track "Brown Sugar" features a dark, thick texture and a gutbucket-jazz style and rhythm.The instrumentation throughout the song, highlighted by Jimmy Smith-style organ work, atmospheric percussion and snapping snare drums, has been described by music writers as "organic". The song's sound is also similar to the work of funk, soul and jazz musician Roy Ayers, while D'Angelo's soulful tenor-delivery throughout the song's verses is stylistically similar the flow of most emcees at the time. Misinterpreted as a traditional love song a about a femme fatale by most R&B audiences, "Brown Sugar" takes the form of a conventional love song. However, the lyrics are an ode to marijuana use through its personification as a brown-skin woman. This thematic subsititution is a conventional lyrical technique in hip hop. Music journalist and writer Peter Shapiro later wrote of the song's lyrical content, stating "D'Angelo was extolling the pleasures of pot-fuelled solipsism ("Always down for a ménage à trois/But I think I'ma hit it solo/Hope my niggaz don't mind") and intimating that love, or at least love of the herb, leads to insanity ("Brown sugar babe/I gets high off you love/Don't know how to behave")." Writer and academic Todd Boyd later compared the song, along with Dr. Dre's The Chronic (1992) and Styles P's "Good Times" (2002), to Rick James's hit single "Mary Jane" (1978), stating that the song "celebrated his love for gettin' blazed and spawned ... a truly large following."

Brown Sugar:


1 comment:

Carlos Eduardo said...

I'm already imagining tomorrow's analysis. It'll be fun.