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Mr. D’Arby, If You’re Nasty (from 2008)

darby1

So I’m looking through my music and I stumble on Sananda Maitreya’s (formerly Terence Trent D’arby) first solo album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’arby. I put it on and was transported. The album is incredible. It is the genesis of the sound that he would later dub Post-Millennium Rock (PMR). Dude’s voice is one for conjuring. When his voice travels from the falsetto to the gutbucket blues, you just know that spirits are raising up somewhere and dancing in delight. The comparisons to Prince are warranted, and just like the purple one (RIP), Maitreya/D’arby’s physically “feminized” appearance belies an almost hyper-masculinity. Back in the day, Sananda/Terence was coming for all the women-folk, and scoring. After reminiscing with the first joint, I immediately put on his second album, Neither Fish Nor Flesh. A revelation. It is like the leap from Tribe’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm to The Low End Theory; De La from Three Feet High and Rising to De La Soul is Dead and TV on the Radio’s Herculean power-move from Wild and Desperate Youth-Blood Thirsty Babes to Return to Cookie Mountain. It was the perfection of, and a radical departure from, an established style. And these albums so far eclipsed their predecessors; it led to these artists becoming paragons of their chosen form. Neither Fish is risky, breathtaking, dangerous and thought provoking; everything that art (especially music) is supposed to be, and so much more. Who is now making that Black, Post-Millennium-Rock? Who is being brave enough to push these boundaries on American shores? There are a slim few who are being musically brave but until the vanguard unite us under their banner and our ears and hearts move to a point of sophistication where we will able to vibe on Mos Def, Little John, Floetry and the BlkJks all in the same playlist, I’m just going to have to be content listening to this iteration of PMR: established in 1987, perfected in 1989, and banging into the AfroFuture.