Image: Teedra Moses Complex Simplicity (TVT Records

Let us bow our heads in prayer:

Precious Lord—mellifluous maker of the melody, harbinger of the highest Hosanna in the land—a grave injustice has been manifested by a body or bodies for whom the bell obviously never tolls for happiness.

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Father Gawd, I opened up my Apple Music recently in attempts to get some simple complexity, some complex simplicity, some vocals crafted obviously on the inside of the pearly gates of heaven. I typed in the name Teedra Moses and searched vociferously for an album that had previously been there but somebody must have mistakenly removed. Your holy honor, Complex Simplicity was missing. Teedra’s other albums were there. If I wanted to have some Cognac and Conversations, I could do that. If I wanted some California Vibes (in EP form) I could vibe out with the Golden State. Clair Voyant, which triples as both a fire stripper name, soap opera name and album—but all in your honor, Lord—was there. Those fine works are available to trumpet triumphantly into my eardrums. But Lord, I wanted to hear your vocal vessel’s studio-quality version of the phrase “Oooooh cat daddy…”

I wanted to hear her muse to an unnamed parishioner of pleasure, “Don’t know if you got a girl, don’t mean no disrespect but thoughts of you rule my world…” but in its original form. Kaytranada is a fine, fine purveyor of blissful productions but that’s not what I want, Lord, though I’m happy that option is available to me, Jesus.

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It seems that I was unable to do so because some ballhead scallywag made that impossible. But because you are a benevolent God, for a nominal but also increasingly cost-prohibitive fee, you have made it possible for my favorite albums to be playing in many places at the same damn time, I can hear Teedra Moses at the same damn time on other services. I went to Spotify, Lord, and it wasn’t there either. And then I went to Tidal—even though you’ve been telling me to get rid of Tidal, for you are the ONLY wave worthy of note, Father God—and it wasn’t there either. I checked SoundCloud, which must have been named after our minuscule earthly perception of your righteous mansion on high, and it wasn’t there either. In fact, should I punch in the words “Teedra Moses Complex Simplicity” into the not-as-all-knowing-as-you Lord search engine of Google, my only option is YouTube. Again, it too is a fine option, but not how I want to listen to my Teedra, your Highness.

Now, Lord, you have given me much, sometimes more blessings than I deserve, and in supplication I listen to the Clark Sisters talk about how I’m blessed and highly favored, probably more frequently than even Twinkie does, so at a time in my life when the compact disc—one of your finest and most convenient offerings, Lord—was the wave, I purchased said album. But you also brought digital music into my life, for you knew I needed more space in my home so I packed that Teedra CD up in a box and put in a storage unit that you also allowed me to rent. I can’t go digging into the crates, Father, for there’s a lot of things on top of those crates. ESPECIALLY since until recently, Complex Simplicity, one of both blackness’ and 2004’s finest releases and, dare I say, an album that has aged like a fine merlot—I do not imbibe the wines much, your Holiness, so I hope merlot does, in fact, age well; if not, please choose whichever of your creations does age well; perhaps the uncrackable blackness...I’m losing my point—was available for my aural delight.

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I come to you today, Lord, in prayer asking for two things. Margaret asked for you, God, and I’m going to do the same. I’d like to ask that you see fit in your soul to touch whichever tortured and irredeemable individual saw fit to remove such a fine piece of art from its rightful place in my streaming service library and have them put it back. You taught me in one of those scriptures in that book that the Gideons helped you edit to always put things back where I got them from. Today, God, I’m asking you to help restore the manners of those who have taken so violently and without notice. They are not my people, but my mama, with your assistance, of course, didn’t raise no fools and I hear you don’t like ugly, so help those wayward weenies do the right thing like Spike and ’nem. And help me with my non-sequiturs. Have them reconjure the digital files into the place where they belong.

Secondly, oh luminescent and omnipotent One, please look into the minds and souls of said individuals who did so, for whatever reason, and make them whole. Make them see that they took the joy, joy, joy that was down in my heart and the hearts of so many others and trampled all over it as if we had so many other options. Sure, God, there are a zillion other albums that we could all listen to, but you are my shepherd, you know what I want, and that would be Complex Simplicity, an album so perfectly crafted with such lovely vocals that it was ahead of its time. It is now, just as it was then, poetry in motion and functional, everyday music for those of us in need. How many backstrokes didn’t happen because the album isn’t available, Lord? How many lecherous leeches won’t get told tonight because there’s no soundtrack to their downfall?

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Lord, I don’t know why you rained down this Noah-like dry flood on us, but I know you wouldn’t do it if not for a reason. If that reason is label issues, clear them up, Lord. If somebody forgot to make a payment at the Rent-to-Own, make the payment Lord. If somebody was just being mean, clear the evil out of their hearts and minds. I know it wasn’t Teedra, Father, because she was wondering where her album was too, on your unfiltered thought dissemination service provider, Twitter, and in a now-deleted Instagram post. I’m guessing, Lord, Teedra’s eyes have seen the glory of the information and mayhaps you both know it will be back. RIGHT NOW THOUGH, LORD, questions abound.

Lord, I’m looking again for the album and it’s still not there. I will pray and pray until it shows back up and assume that once it does it will be because I prayed, the same way I’d do if you were to cure any number of ailments. It is you and your way, not Usher’s, that is the light and the way. When Teedra sings “Be Your Girl,” we all know that at its core it’s a praise and worship song about Jesus. She’s singing to Jesus. Because we all are at all times. I just want to hear that pantheon-level praise and worship album without digging into my storage space or listening to terrible pre-roll ads before a song for the next hour.

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All these blessings I ask in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit…

Amen.

(Lord, it’s still not there. Not to nag, I’m just saying...in case you forgot…)