• Record Label: RCA
  • Release Date: Dec 15, 2014
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Jan 5, 2015
    100
    Black Messiah was crafted painstakingly, that’s evident, but it never sounds labored over. It sounds loose, on fire, and huge, like a truly Christian sermon.
  2. Dec 17, 2014
    100
    D'Angelo's assuredly delivered a great album, one that, even in these nascent days of our receiving it, already feels like something that's always been, that's necessary, and that was probably worth any wait.
  3. Dec 17, 2014
    100
    Rife with the kind of sublimely loose grooves achievable only through instrumental precision, Black Messiah is as vital as it is sublime.
  4. 100
    This is the Second Coming of D’Angelo, not a close second, but a continuation of that lineage. We’ve waited fifteen years for his finest album to date.
  5. Dec 16, 2014
    100
    Once again, he brilliantly distills years spent studying the arrangements and analog recording techniques of that music into a personal style that carves out its own space between rhythm and melody.
  6. Dec 16, 2014
    100
    Black Messiah confirms that music holds the power to challenge and comfort, to take us someplace spiritual, political, and existential. It’s beautifully, devastatingly human.
  7. Dec 16, 2014
    100
    It is masterful, it is heartening and it represents today's best from an R&B/soul perspective.
  8. Jan 5, 2015
    95
    Messiah churns the “old school” in ways that bristle with vitality, yet are as fresh and urgent as anything on radio.
  9. Dec 19, 2014
    94
    Black Messiah pulls together disparate threads few predecessors have had the smarts or audacity to unite.
  10. 91
    With Black Messiah, D’Angelo has silenced any doubters and re-confirmed his invitation as the heir apparent to the R&B throne, whether he continues to refuse the honor or not.
  11. Jan 13, 2015
    90
    Black Messiah is an incredible album, and an essential addition to D'Angelo's discography.
  12. Jan 5, 2015
    90
    Vocally, Black Messiah is sparse, but sonically, it is accomplished and fulfilled. Every sound, every instrument, every lyric and harmony is in the place it needs to be.
  13. Jan 5, 2015
    90
    The social context of this album is not necessarily crucial to its enjoyment; you can just as easily take it all at face value, as a gorgeously woven soul record that will doubtless be able to shift shape to suit all manner of listening environments. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter which angle you take with Black Messiah. It’s a masterpiece from all of them.
  14. Dec 24, 2014
    90
    Black Messiah is less throwback funk and more a vision of the possibilities of modern post-funk, although it’s clearly rooted in soul and funk traditions.
  15. Dec 22, 2014
    90
    The music on Black Messiah is quietly powerful, which is the most powerful form of power.
  16. Dec 22, 2014
    90
    The societal ruminations within the fiery judder of "1000 Deaths," the dreamy churn of "The Charade," and the falsetto blues of "Till It's Done," fueled as much by current planetary ills and race relations as the same ones that prompted the works of D'Angelo's heroes, strike the deepest.
  17. Dec 22, 2014
    90
    Backed by his new band the Vanguard, to whom the album is jointly credited, his sprawling funk grooves and pointed (if characteristically indecipherable) lyrics are still strikingly timely.
  18. 90
    Yes, fourteen years is a long time to wait between records. But, when the end product is this good, it might just be worth the wait.
  19. Dec 18, 2014
    90
    Black Messiah is ambitious and adventurous, and in that way it delivers wholly on the promise of D’Angelo as an artist.
  20. Dec 17, 2014
    90
    Black Messiah shows how deep easy can go. D'Angelo and his band have built an avant-soul dream palace to get lost in, for 56 minutes of heaven.
  21. Dec 17, 2014
    90
    Black Messiah has dozens of false starts, short stops, jagged breaks, and backmasked bits. Everything is a little warped. But somehow, the music never falls out of the pocket. And in that commitment to upholding the groove, we find warmth and evidence that we're still moving forward despite the assault on our senses.
  22. Dec 17, 2014
    90
    Despite the elongated nature of its creation, Black Messiah is a fluid, confidently cool piece.... A real showcase of his incredible talent.
  23. 90
    The good--no, the astonishing--news is that this constantly engrossing record repays a decade and a half's faith and patience. D'Angelo has scuttled down the digital chimney with an early Christmas gift with long-lasting rewards: not just one of the best records of 2014, but one that will stay with you throughout next year, too.
  24. Dec 17, 2014
    88
    Black Messiah miraculously doesn't sound overcooked. It's as if D'Angelo spent all that time building tracks up and then editing them down to their raw, spontaneous-sounding essence.
  25. 80
    Notwithstanding the occasional foray into jazz and blues, Black Messiah is much the same blend of miasmic boudoir soul, bare-bones funk and liberation songs that characterised his 2000 milestone, Voodoo.
  26. Dec 18, 2014
    80
    Black Messiah is an exquisite realisation of what D’Angelo does best.
  27. Dec 18, 2014
    80
    Its complex web of emotion and sound make for one of the most confounding yet gripping albums made in 2014; while it isn’t without its flaws, it captures the zeitgeist in a way that few other albums have managed this year, and has both revelers and detractors speaking passionately.
  28. Dec 16, 2014
    80
    It is a huge pleasure and a relief that this comeback is so good, so strong.
  29. Dec 15, 2014
    80
    It doesn’t leap out of speakers; it oozes and bubbles, waiting for a listener to be drawn in. As it does, the pleasures and rewards keep growing.
  30. It’s a striking mix of sensuality and abrasion, giving a long-missing star a fresh claim on what’s current.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 353 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 353
  1. Dec 16, 2014
    10
    One of the best Funky/Soul/Rock album that I ever heard in my life! D'Angelo is so **** perfect! What a great Christmas present ♥ I'm in loveOne of the best Funky/Soul/Rock album that I ever heard in my life! D'Angelo is so **** perfect! What a great Christmas present ♥ I'm in love with this album. That's all! xoxo

    Favorite tracks: "1000 Deaths"; "The Charade"; "Sugah Daddy"; "Till It's Done (Tutu)" & "Another Life".
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 16, 2014
    10
    Dense, sophisticated and masterfully executed, Black Messiah is everything we could've asked for from D'Angelo's return. Only a couple daysDense, sophisticated and masterfully executed, Black Messiah is everything we could've asked for from D'Angelo's return. Only a couple days into the album's existence, it's a rare experience that immediately satisfies while also demanding a slow burn. The album features an all-star cast - Palladino, ?uestlove and Q-Tip, to name a few - from a huge range of musical styles. But the mastery of this album emerges in D'Angelo's ability to cohesively meld all these sensibilities into one incredible sound, totally new through blending anachronisms. Driven by funky beats, fuzzy bass, crunchy guitar, and of course D'Angelo's unmistakable voice, the album wants you to move to it, yet always stay alert to pick up some new detail that inevitably emerges on each listen. A straight-up masterpiece. Full Review »
  3. Dec 16, 2014
    10
    This is an extraordinary album! Other artists need to take notes and listen to this classic. This is what happens when an artist takes his orThis is an extraordinary album! Other artists need to take notes and listen to this classic. This is what happens when an artist takes his or her time on music. This album is what people expected from D'Angelo. It's soul, rock, funky, and it has a message about life, love, and current issues across the world. What a great Christmas present. The only bad thing I have to mention about Black Messiah is that I wish it was longer because it's that damn good. Full Review »