R&B is out to get me. It wants to swallow my heart whole, then puke up its pretty pieces onto my computer screen. Maxwell’s afro is not to be trusted. Do not imagine your fingers finding zen in the labyrinth of his curl pattern.
Usher’s dimples and pectoral things have been implanted by a mythical God who is responsible for the creation of all US holidays. Particularly Valentine’s Day. Do not contemplate whether his nipples are pierced. No.
Alicia Keys is not real. She has received many Grammies for being able to tap her foot while playing the piano. This is not fair to people who can sing.
Like India Aire.
Flamboyant hairstyles, muscles and foot tapping are what have propelled R&B to wherever it has gone. The sympathetic lyricism has been a ploy to convert me to cupid’s convict fan club-where hearts are stolen then shelved on clearance racks.
Before 2011, every time I heard a song pertaining to the mishaps of love, it made me want to turn my underwear inside out and run down the street. I never understood the point of listening to songs telling me to “not gon’ cry”. I wasn’t crying to begin with. R&B always seemed to pull me down into a sewer of despair, desperation and served as a constant reminder of how vapidly love has been defined. I imagined R&B to be a society of broken hearts borrowing the stitches of others; creating a reliance upon someone else to heal us from our mishaps with love. I imagined myself to be too much of a “G” for all of that nonsense.
It is 2012. My perception of R&B has since shifted. Something happened.
I was fancied by a guy who moved my treble clef in a way I thought this genre never could.
He placed it onto the sheet music of many songs I’ve despised. And there I found myself, the skeleton of an R&B pop song. Singing Maxwell’s “Whenever Wherever Whatever” verbatim; tapping my foot to Alicia Keys’ “Diary“. I stopped running whenever I heard Usher’s falsetto and turned my underwear outside in.
This is not to say that I am going to join cupid’s fan club anytime soon. No. I don’t think.
It is simply to say that I have gone through things young adults go through when we really like someone who really likes us back; when thinking about our future means thinking about them in it; when daydreams of rubbing together private parts infiltrate morning meditation (and staff meetings); when you visit their family and they treat you like kin (meaning they encourage you to fix your own plate of food during get togethers); when you lose arguments because you forgot what your point was; when you do not care about losing because with them your ego is useless; when you not only turn your underwear outside in, but you spend the extra couple of dollars to buy the ones with special effects (you know, lace). Don’t act like you didn’t ever go through this.
I have also experienced a learning curve that some people go through when they really like someone who no longer really likes them back; when phone calls lose weight and start to look more like texts; when “I was just thinking about you” moments become episodes of “can you be a little more considerate?”.
There was a point to this post that I initially thought would create an extremely critical analysis of how flat the lyricism of popular R&B has become. But then I assumed you already know that. Plus, I would have contradicted myself several times over. Instead, I just decided to rant a bit, expose my contradictions and share with you a few songs that I hope to never find on anyone’s clearance rack. Here’s to R&B and the direction it is headed in. Wherever that is.