Posted: March 19, 2012 by Puff in Music
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I was in the barber shop the other day, where they were playing a random assortment of music. I believe they had the Jill Scott channel on Pandora blasting, which is cool for me because I love slow jams. It also was a different vibe than the normal rap and MTV jams they have  glaring loud enough to hear before you enter.  The barbershop I frequent has about 10-12 barbers who vary in age. Ranging anyway from the youngest being 20 and oldest being in his late 50’s.   Each have a different view on music, and great debates always get started.  Customers began to add their opinions and the conversation that erupts from one on one to 20 different points of view.  The battle started when the young guy asked “can we change from this old music head, I’m not feeling it…” Of course that sparked instance retaliation, from all angles, which led to the debate new r&b vs old r&b. In the midst of the debate, Marvin Gaye’s ‘sexual healing’ came on, and almost in complete unison everyone across the room started repeating ” i’m hot just like an oven.”  At that moment singing along in my head, I wondered where has that feeling gone?  Not the ‘feeling’ in the way Marvin Gaye was referring, but that genuine feeling our parents and grandparents got when listening to their music.  

My grandmother is a walking juke box, still plays VINYL RECORDS, I mean record player and needle.  She can pretty much sing a song from 50’s up until the 80’s, remembers what she did at concert, or how she felt when she first heard another song.  My taste for oldies but goodies, had to be acquired from her.  Now I do love a nice 2012 hit, but nothing makes me feel good like oldies.  I remember hearing constantly from my grandmother ”ya’ll young kids don’t know good music.”  I would always argue that we did, and that our music was as good.  As I listen today, I start to think like her, maybe we don’t know good music.  During her most memorable moments, groups were huge.  Male groups, female groups,  all were major and came with something different.  Everyone talked about the same things; relationships, love, sex, being happy, and the occasional pro black songs.  Fast forward to today, songs still talk about relationships and sex; but not as smooth as the good old days.  The relationships are coming from a break-up aspect, the sex is more so beat it up as oppose to slow it down and enjoy it, and people are not as happy.  If the songs do not give off a happy vibe, the perception when hearing the music will not be happy either.

We have taken a major step back, front running or mainstream artist can not even match on a vocal level.  Something that stands out, is how vocally skilled older artist were once upon a time. Compare and contrast performances, during the older ages singers were at their best for live shows.  As I take a look around, many singers/performers can not truly sing in person. I have often heard from different age ranges, I love… but s/he can not sing live.  Currently the best of singers do not get the biggest of recognition, which wasn’t the case once upon a time.  My grandmother recaps vividly how great all the artist was in person.  Many of the artist in our current decade, can not even make a real ballad. Where exactly are the great singers at these days? What happen to groups?  Today everybody is a solo act, singing about the same thing, with the same hits just different beats.  Everything is fast and quick, while losing real meaning.  I miss that feeling, I miss that soulful vibe and I want that old thing back.  Most of today’s music is sampling or remaking classics.  I have come to a point where I don’t think I can win against granny and her old school vs contemporary r&b anymore.

The 70’s and 90’s are my two favorite decades for the genre.  Some of the best hits came from that time span.  The 70’s was more smooth and mellow, compared to the sex appeal of the 90’s.  The 90’s had straight panty droppers, meaning the song itself set the entire mood of the day.  I feel like babies were being made during these decades just off the songs alone. In 2012 I don’t know what is considered a panty dropper, trust me I’m listening.  Things have gotten far to vivid and graphic, leaving nothing to the imagination.  It’s sad the amount of creativity has decreased over the years. I still love a good song, but I really feel like these new dudes have a lot of catching up to do.  I purposely didn’t mention any names, because that in itself is a whole different argument.  I just would like to see r&b artists male or female to keep that level my grandmother feel in love with.  The feeling you get when you hear a great song and think of somebody special. I am very interested to hear somebody put out a political song, that our grandparents are familiar with.  I know I’m tired of hearing sad songs and party songs, give me something real.  On that note, I’m about to turn this Kirko Bangz ” what yo name is” (drank in my cup) track up as I make my exit.


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