New week, new D’Angelo song to start it out. We’re starting this week the same way we ended last week; another slow song. “One Mo’Gin” is the seventh track from D’Angelo’s 2000 sophomore album Voodoo. Everything you hear on this track is D’Angelo with the exception of Pino Palladino on bass. D’Angelo wrote it, arranged it, produced it, sang it, and played all of the instruments…except bass. When you can get Pino to play bass you damn well get Pino to play the damned bass.
Let’s start here, because I’m concerned that someone seeing the title of this song for the first time is thinking it’s a song about Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, or my personal favorite gin, Indoggo, official adult beverage of our Milwaukee Bucks playoff viewing parties. The song is not “One Mo Gin” like D’Angelo is at the bar ordering a nightcap. It’s “One Mo’Gin” like a combination of more and again. One more time. If I need to explain this any further just stop reading. When D’Angelo sings “I long to hold you tight, baby, one mo’gin,” he’s not asking her for more liquor. Now that I’ve cleared that up…
I’ve spent a lot of time throughout random posts on this blog talking about how I like music that I don’t relate to. There’s nothing exciting about my life and I like it that way. Why would I want to listen to music I can relate to? Music is my escape. I want music to transport me elsewhere. Help me understand different points of view. Then there’s a poignant song like “One Mo’Gin” that wins you over because you relate to it unless you’re one of those freaks who’s never had a broken heart. Thankfully it’s been decades since I felt that way, but if I ever want to remember that loneliness and the awkwardness of seeing the person who caused it, this song will take you there. I marvel repeatedly at D’Angelo’s ability to write beautiful lyrics and transform them into song. Then he sings, “I know you’ve got someone and I’ve got somebody too, but I’m unhappy and I miss the shit we used to do,” and all I can do is nod my head. It’s not the most poetic verse I’ve ever heard, but sometimes the blunt truth is more effective.
“One Mo’Gin” can get lost in the shuffle. It’s the song in the exact middle of the album. It’s not flashy. It employs most of the standard Voodoo playbook that makes the album so amazing. D’Angelo’s silky harmonies. The beat that’s slightly off beat but always exactly where it should be, and the rest of the instruments that drag behind it. The background mumbling and other random studio noises that he left in. I’m not saying this to dismiss the track by any stretch. It’s actually one of my favorites on the album. It’s the ultimate post breakup song.
One last thing I want to address about “One Mo’Gin” is the final 35 seconds. The Voodoo recording sessions were legendary. The Soulquarians would watch concert videos of James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Sly Stone, James Brown, or one of their many other “Yodas” and then sit down and jam. Many of those jam sessions were the seeds for what became the songs on the album. However, my understanding is that they recorded thousands of hours of tape – yes, actual tape – that ultimately went nowhere. Snippets of these jam sessions are scattered throughout Voodoo, and this is the first one we’ve come across on the D’aily. The final 35 seconds of “One Mo’Gin” will break your neck. D relaxes you with 5:30 of downtempo smoothness, then slaps you across the face with an all too brief funky interlude. There has to be more to this recording somewhere, and how can I hear it? D’Angelo and the Soulquarians prove over the course of this six minute track that they can give you both ends of the spectrum. Heartbreak with an injection of funk.
I have nothing more on this Monday. It’s gonna be a busy week and my dedication to this project will be tested. I will not let you down. Check out “One Mo’Gin” today, enjoy your Monday, and I’ll be back tomorrow with another one.