The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'r&b'
Remember the rumours a while ago about Microsoft's algorithmic-music-composition research programme developing a software package to allow ordinary users to create shiny Top 40-grade pop? Well, here's a screenshot of "Microsoft Hit Wizard - R&B Edition". (via MeFi)
The pendulum swings both ways: while the teen-rebellion industry fuses rap into hard-rock, a new generation of black musicians in America, disappointed with the limited scope for expression in hip-hop and so-called "R&B" are picking up guitars and turning to rock.
Their sound is most often a deeply soul-inflected rock reminiscent of the mellower moments of Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Parliament Funkadelic rather than the full-on guitar assault of Fishbone or Living Colour. Much of this rock is difficult to distinguish from soul music, but the musicians use the word rock to distance themselves, they say, from the overly produced treacle that passes for modern soul.
(Meanwhile, commercial R&B producers such as Babyface have recently been knocking off '90s alternative-rock sounds for some of their projects (such as the very aptly named Pink).)
"Vulnerability doesn't work at all in hip-hop," Mr. Luther said. "You don't want to expose a weakness in that arena. Rock 'n' roll has no boundaries. You can talk about your dreams, fears, all kinds of things."
Though the black-rock movement faces serious barriers in the formulaic world of American radio/TV, not fitting into either black/"urban" formats or the predominantly white world of rock/alternative music. I.e., Clear Channel probably won't play it; though maybe it'll flourish in the MP3 underground.
Rock, they say, gives them the freedom to express their own ideas. Santi White of Stiffed said: "There's a Smiths song that I love that says, `Hang the D.J. because the music he constantly plays says nothing to me about my life.' And that's how I felt. So I said, `Fine, I'm going to find some music that does say something about my life.' "
Funny that they should mention that, as that quote is sometimes cited as an argument for Morrissey being racist. Though what would that make the equation of skin darkness with dance/club music? (via FmH)
Speaking of that Coldplay song, that reminds me: on a train a few weeks ago, I saw some gentlemen in tracksuits and hair gel singing a version of that, acapella, with finger snapping. Now that's a scary thought: a Boys II Men-style R&B-vocal-harmony cover of Coldplay's Yellow. Who knows; maybe Baz Luhrmann would buy it for his next MTV feature...
I'm Wayne Kerr, and if there's one thing I hate...* it's homies who play their ghetto blasters on public transport. I was catching a train this evening and had the misfortune to share a carriage with a posse of such miscreants. About four of them were seated at the front of the carriage, attired in tracksuits, with a flip case full of CDs and a loud portable stereo, putting on CD after CD, debating amongst themselves what to play next.
But the crowning horror was what they were treating their fellow commuters to. It was not underground gangsta rap, as one might reasonably respect of a crew of tracksuited badasses; nor was it some major-label manufactured rap, as a bunch of suburban poseurs could get away with being into. It was boy-band R&B.
Perhaps that's some kind of peacock-tail phenomenon of conspicuously flaunting one's badness, as in "I'm such a mackdaddy that I can play utter crap and no-one will fuck with me". Or perhaps it's a mutant form of vandalism; the sonic equivalent of kicking out windows and tearing up seats.
* with apologies to the Doug Anthony Allstars.