D’aily 10/25/21: Send It On

Welcome to Week 6 of the D’aily. We’ve got a lovely start to your week today with the fifth track and fourth single (if you count “Devil’s Pie”) from his 2000 album Voodoo. “Send It On” was a modest hit never reaching the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but making it to #33 on the R&B Singles chart. D produced and arranged the track as well as performing all vocals. The music was performed by a classic Soultronics lineup of Spanky Alford on guitar, Pino Palladino on bass, Questlove on drums, and Roy Hargrove on trumpet and flugelhorn. D played all other instruments. It was written by D’Angelo, Angie Stone, and D’s brother Luther Archer. It was recorded shortly after the birth of D’Angelo and Angie Stone’s son, Michael Archer Jr.

Here’s something that I’m not used to saying about a D’Angelo song, or at least not about one that isn’t a cover: “Send It On” contains an interpolation of the 1969 Kool and the Gang track “Sea Of Tranquility.” I’ve always wondered, what exactly does “contains an interpolation” mean? I looked up the word “interpolation” in Merriam-Webster dictionary and the definition that makes the most sense in this case is “something that is introduced or inserted: an insertion or addition.” Here’s what it means to me: it wasn’t sampled directly, but a different band took some music and replayed it as part of a different song. Just listen to “Sea Of Tranquility” and “Send It On” together and you’ll get it. I’m guessing the Soulquarians were at Electric Lady one night studying Kool and the Gang and they decided to start jamming on the “Sea Of Tranquility” melody and that’s how “Send It On” was born.

Here’s another fun fact about “Send It On” that I can’t confirm anywhere, but I’m going to go with it because I’m confident making this declaration: “Send It On” is D’Angelo’s last music video. The only single from Voodoo after “Send It On” was “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and that did not have a video. D didn’t record a single video for his Black Messiah album. I know that he appears in the 2002 Raphael Saadiq video for “Be Here” but that isn’t from a D’Angelo album so I’m not counting it as a D’Angelo video. My point: D’Angelo hasn’t released a music video in over 20 years. When I struggle with the lack of recognition D’Angelo gets as one of the great musical multi-hyphenates of my lifetime, I have to remind myself that he does little to promote himself. He makes his art, he puts it out, and he moves on. He doesn’t care for self-promotion. He lets the music speak for itself. Does the trauma that came from his “Untitled” music video experience play a role in that decision? Maybe this dude doesn’t want to be seen anymore if he believes people won’t accept him if he doesn’t look like he did then. I have no basis for this theory. Just thinking out loud. Regardless, a music video doesn’t mean what it used to (does it?), but it’s enjoyable to me that videos have been a critical promotional tool for popular artists and for two decades now D’Angelo has simply said, “Nah, I’ll pass.”

Another fun fact about the “Send It On” video is that it’s a live performance of the song. You don’t get the studio version in the video. I’m curious if the video was recorded during an actual concert or if it was shot separately. He doesn’t look sweaty enough for it to be one of his actual concerts. I’m not able to find that information. If that is from a live show then D and The Soultronics were somehow better than I thought, because they sound flawless, especially D’s voice. Alan Leeds has worked as a tour manager with James Brown, Prince, D’Angelo, Maxwell, and Chris Rock, among others, and he once said that the best tour he was ever a part of was the Voodoo Tour. I should have a link to it as proof, but I’m sure he said it during an interview. You’ll have to take my word for it. He said it was the best tour he’d ever seen and he very much regretted never getting good video footage of one of the concerts. If Alan Leeds says that tour was the best, then D’Angelo and The Soultronics probably were good enough to record a flawless version of “Send It On” for a music video.

“Send It On” is yet another beautiful song in D’Angelo’s catalog. I feel like if he wanted to, D’Angelo could’ve made a hell of a career out of spending the last 20 years making soul records like “Send It On.” However, I also have a feeling this song is easy for him, especially since Kool and the Gang already laid the groundwork for him. D’Angelo can make music like this in his sleep. For me it gets lost in the shuffle a bit when I compare it to his other stuff. I tend to prefer funkier music, so it’s not near the top of my list of favorite D’Angelo songs, but it’s a lovely soul song and a great way to start this week or any week. Tomorrow we’re going to get into a song that might be the exact opposite of “Send It On” in damn near every way. Brace yourselves because Tuesday is about to get gritty and dark…and amazing. I love tomorrow’s song. Enjoy your Monday because tomorrow cowards die a thousand times.

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