D’aily 11/16/21: The Door

I feel like I’ve beaten this to death over the past nine weeks, but I’ll run it by you one more time in case you’re new to this: There isn’t a single D’Angelo song that I dislike. Ever been to Cold Stone Creamery? Their sizes aren’t labeled small, medium, and large. Instead they’re called Like It, Love It, and Gotta Have It…or at least they were the last time I was there. It’s been a while. That’s what they used to be called, anyway. Those labels summarize how I feel about D’Angelo songs. It’s not a question of like or dislike. It’s more a question of just how much I like it. Most of D’Angelo’s songs fall into the Love It or Gotta Have It category for me. However, on each of D’Angelo’s three albums there’s one song that falls firmly in the Like It category beneath all others.

On his 1995 debut album Brown Sugar it was “Jonz In My Bonz.” On his 2000 sophomore album VoodooThe Line” takes the honor. Today we address my least favorite song from D’Angelo & The Vanguard’s 2014 album Black Messiah. “The Door” was written by D’Angelo and Kendra Foster with music written by D’Angelo. It’s the tenth track on the album, but it’s the first D’Angelo song from one of his albums that sounds like an attempt at cowboy music. There’s a lot of whistling and twangy guitar. It has a good strolling tempo. I like to picture D’Angelo sitting on a horse with some chaps, spurs, a Stetson, and a sprig of wheat in his mouth while “The Door” plays.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t feel like writing about “The Door.” I’m going bonus track on you and taking this post in another direction. As I’ve been writing about D’Angelo for the past two months I’ve been stressing that I’m missing something. In the end some greater D’Angelo fan than I is going to say, “You missed this one,” and they’ll be right and I don’t want that to happen. I covered my ass somewhat with the first post listing my favorite songs featuring D’Angelo but not actually attempting to list them. I’ve tried to put what I consider duets like “Be Here” and “Ain’t Nobody Home” on the D’aily list. If you think I’m missing some I’m aware of it. There are some big duets coming up in the final seven posts. There’s definitely some gray area in there, specifically with the Roy Hargrove tracks. I put “Bullshit” on the D’aily list but relegated “I’ll Stay” to the feature list even though an argument could be made that D contributes equally to both. Ultimately I chose “Bullshit” for the big list because I like it more. I’m straying far from my point now.

Last week I was writing a post and remembered something. Something called Slingbaum One. In January 2020 I received an e-mail about a mysterious album. No idea how I even got the e-mail, but I must’ve signed up for something somewhere and had my information sold to someone else. It was an advertisement for an album by something or someone called Slingbaum and he/she was releasing an EP featuring, among others, D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. I was immediately intrigued. The e-mail claimed that the only way you’d be able to hear this music was to purchase this EP. No streaming. No sale of it on a physical format in any record stores. The vinyl and digital version were selling strictly through this website and was somewhere in the neighborhood of $45. This put my D’Angelo (and Erykah) fandom to the test. How much was I willing to pay for one song?

The answer: At least $45, apparently.

After doing my research to make sure I wasn’t being phished I discovered that this was a legitimate offer. Whoever Slingbaum is indeed had a track featuring D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. I bought it because I couldn’t imagine a D’Angelo track existing somewhere and not having access. I don’t know where the ceiling was on what I’d pay for one D’Angelo song, but it’s a lot higher than $45. After waiting approximately seven months I received a download code for an EP called Slingbaum One. It’s three songs but they’re all contained on one 15 minute track. The first track is titled “Behoove” and is credited to Erykah Badu and D’Angelo. My description of this song is that it sounds like it was ripped from an episode of Stranger Things. The first time I heard it I was like, “Yo! This is the shit they played when Eleven killed the Demogorgon.” A lot of dark tones and schizophrenic keyboards. I can’t help but think that I’m missing something when I listen to it. Like all the cool kids somewhere are marveling at the brilliance of this track and I’m the dummy listening to it thinking, “You’ve got D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. Don’t overthink it. Why not just lay down something funky and/or soulful and let them sing over it? You’re wasting an opportunity.” Erykah Badu is featured prominently on lead vocals, but I can’t exactly put my finger on where D’Angelo contributes to the track. I believe he chips in some creepy groans and backs up Badu in a handful of places, but his participation is sparse. I’m not going to say the song is bad, but it’s certainly not something I’d play with any frequency. It’s electronic halloween music and D’Angelo is barely a part of it.

To make a long story short, it wasn’t worth $45. If I hadn’t paid for it the FOMO would be killing me. It was a lose/lose. Either torture myself wondering about a D’Angelo song that I can’t hear or overpay for something that wouldn’t live up to expectations. I chose the latter and paid too much money for something that I hardly listen to. I’d do it again. I’d link to “Behoove” so you can hear it for yourself, but I couldn’t find a link online. I can’t say I tried hard. I paid $45 to hear that shit. If you wanna hear it, give Slingbaum your money like I did.

I had to mention “Behoove” in the D’aily somewhere. I wouldn’t consider it enough D’Angelo to add it to the D’aily list, but I wanted to make sure it got a mention in case people are keeping track and think I missed something. I did miss it, but now that I remembered it, I still don’t think he contributes enough to the track to add it to the list of 49 and dedicate an entire post to it.

That’s it for two tracks that are at or near the bottom of my list of favorite D’Angelo songs, “The Door” and “Behoove.” Wednesday is going to take us back to a smooth D’Angelo soul/R&B album cut. No more of this quasi-country or scary movie shit. Back to his bread and butter. I’ll be back with that tomorrow. Enjoy your Tuesday.

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