The Gospel: Just A Thought On The Classic Soul Revival

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

There are times where a "drop yo' booty to da floor" songs (aka the stuff they blast non-stop on your local Top 40 radio station), hits the spot...but sometimes, you might want something with a little more substance and something that won't drain out of your ears after one listen. This is where the good old steaming bowl of soul music oatmeal comes in to stick to your eardrums and make for a well-balanced musical diet. Currently, the music industry has latched on to this concept with the rise of neo-soul and indie funk artists as an "escape from the norm". Still there are a couple of artists whom have abandoned the modernized sounds of hip-hop laced R&B. These such artists have delved back into the days of classic soul and funk (1960's to early 1980's) as a means to recreate that nostalgic magic. Why I ask? I'd like to point a finger at the current wave of R&B music. R&B has been kind of a dying breed nowadays and the singers/groups who actually do it are sub-par at best. In R&B Land, the groups don't stick around for a second album, the males whine about "boos in the clubs", the female vocalists have paper thin voices that are engulfed in heavy produced beats and the rappers roam freely popping up on almost every track. R&B wasn't like it was even ten years ago when Boyz II Men, TLC and En Vogue were topping the charts. So where does that leave the artists who abandoned the mainstream ship? They went back to the roots of it all and resurrected what real soul is all about: Honesty. While this article brings up the factoid that the talented yet total basketcase, Amy Winehouse kick started the 60's Soul revival for the 21st century, I don't give sole credit to the Winehouse for bringing the funk back...because well funk/soul never left, it just needed the right performers to do it, and to do it well. We have seen it happen recently with the surge of UK Soul performers (James Morrison, Alice Russell, Bryn Christopher etc.) and with Raphael Saddiq and Erykah Badu making stellar progressive soul revival releases last year that were attention grabbers. Still all these performers and their music have brought back a sense of what what was experienced forty-something years ago and maybe it's just what the R&B market needs to keep it afloat.

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