Release Date: Jun 2, 2017
Record label: N/A
At the start of Cody ChesnuTT's third full-length album, the eclectic, brightly drawn My Love Divine Degree, is a brief hypnotic opener in which he sings "Anything can happen when the music is good." Singing over a delicately rendered electric piano, ChesnuTT coos the lyrics, as if to his baby. It's a magical soul lullaby, a mantra, conjuring the tone for what is to come. Produced by Anthony "Twilite Tone" Kahn, My Love Divine Degree is certainly a magical album, rife with Day-Glo melodies, kinetic rhythms, and passionate lyrics about love, fidelity, fatherhood, and violence.
Nearly five years has elapsed since Cody ChesnuTT's last full-length. However, his most recent album could not have come at a better time. My Love Divine Degree ditches ChesnuTT's signature romantic themes and instead captures the essence of resilience, hope and love so relevant to a host of communities but particularly to the black diaspora. His powerful single "Bullets in the Street and Blood" features the immensely talented Raphael Saadiq who adds a delicate element to the song. Despite ChesnuTT's elusive character, his music is bold and unflinching.
The success of 2002's The Headphone Masterpiece effectively wrote soul singer Cody Chesnutt a blank cheque in terms of creative freedom. For a record to become loved by many, despite being sprawling, deeply eccentric and impossible to second-guess - that's an indication of the chops, charisma and genre-hopping virtuosity it offered. So when the follow-up, 2012's Landing On A Hundred arrived after such a long layoff and proved a very effective but pretty straightforward set steeped in 70s soul, fans would have been forgiven for thinking his rough edges may have been regrettably smoothed off.