Brown Sugar changed my life. Better yet, it helped to define my life. At the time it was released, I was a twenty-year-old hot thang who had just made the transition from Timberlands and sneakers on my feet to sandals and pumps. Let's just say that Brown Sugar helped me and countless of my friends who were on the cusp between adolescence and adulthood make that transition with ease. It was as if D'Angelo had somehow heard the melodies that we all wished we could hear on the radio, all the Marvin Gaye, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and countless others, and, in one fell swoop, created an album that would help to define our generation. Because prior to D'Angelo, uttering "neo-soul" would have amounted to saying the sky is purple, i.e. it did not compute. But after his arrival, especially with the sophistication he displayed in the harmonizing in "Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine," D'Angelo was a man whose name we uttered with great reverence. He was able to capture the anticipation, longing, and happiness of having a crush, and he was able to do it in such a way that made this song and the rest of this album an instant modern classic. D'Angelo was able to create a pop tune that was so much more than what was expected at the time. While he may have had dreaming eyes for some brown sugar back then, we will continue to have dreaming eyes that he will return to us real, real soon.
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