OK, I have a major beef with writer John Blake’s article, “Where is the love in R&B music?” — which was published by CNN.com on Dec. 3.
In the piece, Blake contends that America’s current crop of R&B artists (due to various social ills and psychological maladies) just make surface-level songs about sex — unlike artists back in the day (like Al Green, Barry White, etc.) who regularly recorded tunes about the virtues of real love.
The problem with Blake’s contention, however, is that it’s just factually wrong. And honestly, I think he realized his argument didn't ring true when he gave an ultra-quick nod to “artists … trying to start a ‘new romantic’ movement in R&B” near the end of his story.
See, there are tons (and I mean tons) of relatively young artists recording straight-up, no-holds-barred love songs these days. And there’s nothing “new” about this wave of singers and musicians; this “romantic movement” has been going on for at least the last 20 years.
It’s a movement that’s been championed by artists like Omar, Jill Scott, Eric Roberson, Chrisette Michele, Bilal, The Foreign Exchange, Erik Rico, Wayna, Valencia Robinson, YahZarah, Goapele, Choklate, Dwele, Ledisi, PJ Morton, Rahsaan Patterson, Maxwell, Musiq Soulchild, Calvin Richardson, Anthony Hamilton (and by ATLiens like India.Arie, Anthony David, Donnie, Julie Dexter, Phillipia, Avery Sunshine, Algebra, etc.) … and many, many, many more. These artists have collectively released hundreds of love songs to date — and went on to garner dozens of awards and accolades.
The problem, therefore, isn’t a lack of love songs — it’s really a lack of exposure.
As always, the crappiest new music gets the most play on radio stations coast to coast … while the great stuff (which is, by the way, available for sale online and in record stores around the world) gets routinely dissed by the industry’s most influential program directors. It’s an old story — a veritable broken record — that just keeps on keeping on.
So, look folks — the music is out there. The question is: When are we going to put the fire under radio to play today’s great love songs?
Oh, and just in case Blake and others need a few examples of great love songs performed by today's artists, here you go:
Too many memories. I remember we were smoking meth on the back patio and a…
Awesome memories for sure... Lenny's played such a major role in my music life. My…
I met my 1st husband at Dotties! Carnal Carnival Days!
that place was rad. sluts everywhere and awesome pours on the drinks. killer shows. so…
Trashed Dance Rock Party