Every once in awhile, an artist somewhere on the R&B/soul/black music spectrum releases an album that’s simultaneously an attempt to come to grips with America, and to tell America to go fuck itself. Among the totemic examples are Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Sly And The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On, Funkadelic’s America Eats Its Young, Prince’s Sign O’ The Times, and Fishbone’s The Reality Of My Surroundings. D’Angelo’s third studio album, Black Messiah, is the latest addition to that list. It’s multifaceted to the point of schizophrenia, but crafted with impeccable care (it was recorded entirely on two-inch tape — no digital anything), and while its individual songs may initially sound like they come from wildly different albums, they ultimately add up to a cohesive, uniquely personal statement.
On Tuesday we posted our 70 Favorite Songs Of 2014, but technically, 2014 isn’t over yet. (Yes, it’s true!) This week brought some real good songs, three of them from some heavy hitters who might have made a run at the big list if they’d arrived in time, or if we’d waited for them to arrive. Oh well. They’ll still be here in 2015. Here’s where they are now.
Picking a list of favorite songs can be an intensely personal thing, and sometimes it makes more sense to throw any idea of objectivity out the window. When we, your Stereogum staff, ranked our favorite albums of 2014, we did so as a unit, voting and arguing and finally coming up with a list that all of us could live with. But we, as a staff, could never hope to do the same thing with a list of songs. So we’ve done something different. As with last year, each one of us has picked 10 songs. These are our own personal favorites — not the best songs of the year, necessarily, but the ones that meant the most to us.