Lyric Analysis: Examining Favorite Lyrical Moments From D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’


D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah © RCA

It’s no secret that I’m high…off of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah that is! No only did I speak upon its triumphant nature here at brentmusicreviews.com (D’Angelo’s Triumphant ‘Black Messiah’ Reenergizes R&B), I also penned a review on Starpulse.com (Review: D’Angelo Unveils Another R&B Masterpiece With ‘Black Messiah’), praising the effort. And if that wasn’t enough, the surprise release and magnificent quality of release that was Black Messiah even made my 25 Best Albums of 2014, also written exclusively for Starpulse (it sits pretty ‘high’ too!).

Black Messiah is a breath of fresh air, period – just ask any critics – as we’ve all been going ‘gaga’ for D’Angelo. Being the analytical person that I am, picking apart Black Messiah one final time, here is one notable lyric from each of the album’s 12 tracks.   

1) “You need the comfort of my lovin’ to bring out the best in you / I wanna give you somethin’ to feed your mind”

“Ain’t That Easy” 

Commentary: This one’s all about love and that three-letter word sex. I’ll take the high road and assume that “feed your mind” isn’t a double entendre, though I wouldn’t bet on it.

 

2) “I was born to kill / send me over the hill / I been a witness to this game for ages / and if I stare death in face, no time to waste”

“1000 Deaths”

Commentary: There are too few socially conscious R&B songs these days, a theme of prominence throughout the 60s and 70s. “1000 Deaths” is a great one though. 

 

3) “All we wanted was a chance to talk / ‘stead we’ve only got outlined in chalk / feet have bled a million miles we’ve walked / revealing at the end of the day, the charade”

“The Charade”

Commentary: “The Charade” in general in an excellent extension upon “1000 Deaths.” In this specific quote, D’Angelo references suppression among oppressed peoples – they’ve been silenced rather than embraced.

 

4) “I fill my baby’s crib with all the sweetness daddy wants to give / and when it comes to rocking her to sleep, I’ll never tire”

“Sugah Daddy” 

Commentary: We all know that D’Angelo has a knack for singing compelling songs referencing sex. This one is among those. 

 

5) “When you touch me there / when you make me tingle / when our nectars mingle”

“Really Love” 

Commentary: Like “Sugah Daddy,” we know where D’Angelo’s mind is. “When our nectars mingle” has to be the most poetic way to describe… yeah I’ll leave it there.

 

6) “So if you’re wondering about the shape I’m in / I hope it ain’t my abdomen that you’re referring to / this is what I want you to listen to”

“Back To The Future (Part I)”

Commentary: There’s more to D’Angelo than his body, specifically back during his Voodoo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” days.

 

7) “Perilous dissidence evening up the score / do we even know what we’re fighting for?”

“Till It’s Done (Tutu)” 

Commentary: So much is going on throughout the world – what are the wars and battles about?

 

8) “I know that he will try to harm you / and you can / I know that you will make it to the Promised Land”

“Prayer”

Commentary: There is power in prayer. In order to make it to heaven, you’ve got to rise above sinfulness and traps set by the Devil.   

 

9) “Like the breeze that blows in June / I will steady keep you cool”

“Betray My Heart” 

Commentary: Everyone knows that June is among the hottest months of the year and the breeze if there is one is uncomfortable – hot. D’Angelo is essentially saying he will complete his lover as well as his own heart, by making her ‘comfortable’ providing the balance – “the cool.”

 

10) “I told you once but twice, my love / don’t lock yourself out that door”

“The Door” 

Commentary: His lover has messed up/is ruining a good thing. D’Angelo is now moving on, aka “locking The Door.”

 

11) “Used to get real high / now I’m just gettin’ a buzz”

“Back To The Future (Part II)”

Commentary: D’Angelo is a grown man now. He’s no longer 26 like he was when Voodoo arrived, but now he’s 40. Marijuana doesn’t have the appeal and he’s risen above it, only getting a ‘buzz’ ever so often (or something like that).

 

12) “I just wanna take you with me / to secret rooms in the mansions of my mind / shower you with all that you need / take my hand, I swear I’ll take my time”

“Another Life”

Commentary: Sex, sex, sex. That said, he also seems to desire the emotional connection as well.

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