Tag: Contemporary R and B

1998, Music

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

So, full disclosure: Hip hop is not my thing and most contemporary R&B and neo soul is, as far as I know, not my thing. But this record was a big deal at the time and is arguably still quite a big deal today. As far as I can tell, Hill has written a pretty …

1993, Music

janet. (1993) by Janet Jackson

As I say all the damn time, coming at an artist backwards is a bad idea. And yet here I am doing it again. This is only the second Janet Jackson album I’ve ever heard, but the first one I heard was the sequel to this one. The problem for me is that the sequel …

1993, Music

Symphony or Damn (1993) by Terence Trent D’Arby

Somehow I managed to grown up when D’Arby was releasing music and completely avoid him. We listened to an Oldies station primarily, so we didn’t hear him there. And I swear I never saw any of his videos. (If I did, I didn’t see them enough to remember them.) So all I knew was the …

1988, Music

Lovesexy (1988) by Prince

To the extent that I know Prince, I know him as the dynamic performer who effortlessly combines aspects of R&B (funk, soul, etc.) with elements of rock (psychedelia, art rock, hard rock) and pop. Well, he’s dialed down the ambition at this point in his career and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

1988, Music

What Up, Dog? (1988) by Was (Not Was)

Imagine if you can a musically less sophisticated but infinitely slicker, but lyrically more earnest Steely Dan, recording with the very latest in ’80s musical technology, and featuring mostly guest vocalists, and you maybe get some idea of what Was (Not Was) sounds like. You also have to up the R&B quotient while dropping the …

1982, Music

Thriller (1982) by Michael Jackson

Much like Bad, so many of the songs from Thriller were hits when I was a little kid that I know more of this record than I could have ever imagined. That knowledge once again puts me in a weird position, having the memory of what some of these songs sounded like to me as …

1997, Music

The Velvet Rope (1997) by Janet Jackson

I had a very, very fixed idea of Janet Jackson before listening to that record. It was an idea essentially created by music videos (Janet Jackson is attractive) and the odd accidental radio exposure, but also created by the music industrial complex, which has generally marketed female performers in a particular way for quite a …

1982, Music

1999 (1982) by Prince

Listening to this record immediately after Marvin Gaye’s Midnight Love is instructive: Prince shows how cutting edge musical technology can be used without permanently dating a record. Hint: it helps if you write good songs and it helps if you’re idiosyncratic. Prince has written a bunch of really catchy songs – even the songs he …

1982, Music

Midnight Love (1982) by Marvin Gaye

I don’t know Marvin Gaye at all, beyond his most famous singles. I guess his Motown stuff is just too slick for me, so I never bothered. I still mean to listen to What’s Going On at some point but I just haven’t gotten there. I don’t know much about his personal life, either, beyond …

1982, Music

Lionel Richie (1982)

I do not like Lionel Richie’s aesthetic: he is slick and sappy at the same time. That is a recipe for disaster, in my eyes (ears). But Richie has a rather incredible knack for melody. These songs are catchy, but it’s not just that. Some of his melodies for the ballads are super compelling, they …

1987, Music

Bad (1987) by Michael Jackson

I grew up with “Fat” and have a hard time separating the real song, the title track of this record, from its parody. But I haven’t listened to “Fat” in so long. Listening to Bad for the first time (and to the remaster, no less), I can’t help but wonder, “does “Fat” sound this terrible …

1987, Music

Whitney (1987) by Whitney Houston

This is one of the most commercially successful albums of its era, so I guess that’s why I felt I had to listen to it. But if I learned one thing from this album, it’s that the things that I like about music and the things that most consumers like about music are not the …

1997, Music

Glee (1997) by Bran Van 3000

I love genre-bending. A number of my most favourite bands are bands that can play a wide variety of genres well, and make these genres sound like their own (or, alternatively, convince you they are an entirely different band). So I should like this. I should like this even though it is based in music …