Emily's D+Evolution

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2016 Ratings: #53 / 872
User Score
Based on 233 ratings
2016 Ratings: #255
March 4, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Concord / Label
Jazz Fusion, Art Pop / Genres
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Esperanza has now proven, five recordings into her career without one dud and without a single one that seems like treading water, that she is the exception: a critical and potent force in modern music.


Spalding has once again redefined an already singular career, dictating a vision entirely on her own terms.

Pretty Much Amazing

D+Evolution is a success. Clocking in at 45 minutes, in a world full of bloated albums, Esperanza has given just enough so that there would be no filler.

The Guardian
The album focuses on her vocals, with their wily melodic turns, personal poetry, spoken-word chatters and skewed R&B hooks. But even if they are pop songs, a few could have been composed by Wayne Shorter, and Spalding’s voice has never sounded so assured in its dizzying ascents from mid-range murmurs to falsetto swoops.
While Spalding never sounds anything less than original on the album, part of the beauty here is in recognizing her inspirations and reveling in how she has made them her own.
Rolling Stone

Emily's D+Evolution is a far more ambitious and thornier affair. The lyrics, flowing in disjunctive clusters, are about deleted narratives, glass ceilings and dreams deferred – ultimately a complex, funky prog-rock concept opera about love and identity.

NOW Magazine
In reverting to a younger self, Spalding seems to be asking whether we weren't more advanced before society handed us an idea of ourselves. In this current moment, when the us vs them of identity politics is at a sharp pitch, it's an enlightened view for an artist to put forth.

Her fifth album is indeed one of the most alt-friendly jazz cycles you’ve ever heard, pivoting constantly on tight, proggy arrangements.


Emily's D+Evolution is a tough album to get a full grasp on. It's not a neat alter ego side project; rather than going the Chris Gaines route, Esperanza Spalding is again flexing her range, showing that her playing style and voice can find a home in any genre.

She has a nice voice but I don't really connect with a lot of what's going on here like the forgettable instrumentation and the melodies.

Best Track: Rest In Pleasure
Worst Track: Farewell Dolly
The lady with the beautiful name flies from flower to flower and collects all the strange juices, in order to create her personalized and complex spirit.
Spalding's voice shines through this delicious and wild jazz record. I really can't believe it took me so much to listen something of hers, she and her producers made a cohesive yet not repetitive sound, not even a single track disappoints here. My only complain would be that there's moments where I couldn't fully connect to her speech, 'cause she's always saying something gracefully, maybe I'll do with more listens. Highly recommended!

Fav tracks: Earth to Heaven, One, Ebony and Ivy, Funk ... read more
Apesar de uma carreira relativamente longa com cinco álbuns no currículo, Esperanza Spalding ainda é uma desconhecida para uma parte do grande público. Não uma desconhecida totalmente, pois a cantora ainda pode ser lembrada por ter vencido o Grammy de New Artist na premiação de 2011, fazendo dela a primeira artista de jazz a realizar tal feito. Todavia, o fato mais marcante é que ela venceu sobre um então jovenzinho Justin Bieber, ... read more
Loving this record so far, cant believe this record flew under my radar that year. Still un-packing this album, so my score may change or vary.

Edit: haven't came back to this record ever since I review it.
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Track List

  1. Good Lava
  2. Unconditional Love
  3. Judas
  4. Earth to Heaven
  5. One
  6. Rest in Pleasure
  7. Ebony and Ivy
  8. Noble Nobles
  9. Farewell Dolly
  10. Elevate or Operate
  11. Funk the Fear
  12. I Want It Now
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Added on: February 1, 2016