For today’s Song of the Day, I want to look at a song that was just released last week. I know that I’ve recently fallen into a pattern of reviewing old songs and obscure artists, so I figured I owed the Lemonwire community something a little more relevant. And what’s more relevant than a video game?
This particular song is by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist D’Angelo. It was featured on the recently released “Red Dead Redemption 2” soundtrack. Other artists featured on the video game’s soundtrack include Nas, Willie Nelson, and Joshua Homme.
“Unshaken” is D’Angelo’s first release since his third LP, 2014’s “Black Messiah”. That album served as my personal introduction to D’Angelo, and was met with widespread critical acclaim. But in “Unshaken”, D’Angelo makes a turn from the fusion of soul, funk, R&B, and neo-jazz, to a more mellow, meditative track.
D’Angelo croons softly, exploring his lower register over a gentle, percussive groove. “Did I hear a thunder? / Did I hear you break? / I can’t quite remember / Just what guided me this way, oh, oh”. On the chorus, he sings, “May I stand unshaken / Amidst a crashing world”.
As it turns out, D’Angelo is a huge fan of the Red Dead series, and he actually reached out to Rockstar initially. Apparently, he D’Angelo would show up at the Rockstar New York offices while the game was still in development, and play for hours at a time.
The production quality really makes this track stand out with layered vocals and added effects. Although it doesn’t overdue it. The balance perfectly reflects the western tone for “Red Dead Redemption 2” with its minimal accompaniment.
Earlier this year, reports came in stating that D’Angelo was in the process of recording new music. In one from D’Angelo’s management, NME, it stated that, ““D’Angelo has been working in the studio, deep in the recording process.”
You can currently find and listen to “Unshaken” streaming on Spotify.