How R&B Has Lost Its Soul//
The biggest problem that the aforementioned article seems to take issue with is that Blacks are gravitating towards these British R&B artists in hopes of finding something that sounds similar to the Black artists of old. However, I would argue that it isn’t about “sounding Black,” it’s about sounding honest.
The grit and power behind Amy Winehouse’s, and later Adele’s, music has more to do with the ability to rely on the power and Soul rather than the whisper thin ghost tones of the mainstream pop subculture. What most recognize, though they may not be able to pinpoint why, is the authentic Blues in these voices, the lack of pretence. It’s about expression, pure and simple.
What we need to try to get back to in the States is finding that balance between the purity of the Blues, and the emotional and physical pull of the Rhythm. Artists like Jazmine Sullivan [MV], Austin Brown, Janelle Monae [MV], Sy Smith [MV] and to a certain extent Bruno Mars [MV] are attempting to make the kind of music that remains honest and close to the raw naturalness of the Blues while still lacing their music with the kind of rhythms that make the genre what it is.
So, yes, this argument has spun round and round in a never ending cipher of “real music” vs. “mainstream idiocy”; however, people simply need to understand their history, inspect what made this so-called “real music” what it was. What it was was an era in which musicians and singers were simpatico and managed to create music that was honest yet still accessible. It has nothing to do with who sings better, but who actually sings and makes their music resonate on a universal level.
As of right now, the Brits are getting the bulge on the States in that regard; however, music always evolves. Eventually, we will see the return of artists who find that delicate balance and take their respective genres to something full of the honesty that the music world is sorely missing.