The first sign of the apocalypse came with Axl Rose delivering Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” after a 17-year incubation period. Now comes D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah” — a surprise release dropped Monday 14 years after the R&B titan’s groundbreaking “Voodoo.” (If Dr. Dre ever puts out that long-awaited follow-up to “2001,” this world is doomed for sure.)
With an album title like “Black Messiah,” you better deliver — even if D’Angelo says in the liner notes he doesn’t claim to be the messiah. It’s so loose it stumbles at times, like something George Clinton or Prince might have shelved in the ’80s. But taken as a whole, the stumbles barely matter.