Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Fading Miss

Mary J. Blige sings a song on her album called Growing Pains called “Fade Away”. Allow me to paraphrase, rather quote, the chorus a little bit.

Sometimes I wish/That I could stand here/And fade away

Fading away is what a lot of the female R & B singers tend to be doing these days. The male end of the spectrum has been doing rather well. I figured that it might be a given due to the fact that this realm is dominated by artists such as Trey Songz, Chris Brown, and Usher. Then there’s the fact that more guys keep appearing almost everyday. Examples of that include people like Frank Ocean and Jeremih.

If only the same could be said of strong female R & B voices. I referenced Mary J. Blige because she is the most enduring voice in R & B right now. That statement is spoken without consideration to the legendary voices that still make music from time to time (i.e. Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, and Gladys Knight). I respect everything MJB has done and continues to do for R & B but she cannot do it alone. Help is hard to come by. Let’s take a look at the dwindling numbers:

-Ciara is all but disappeared. I mean, seriously. When was the last time you really heard anything from her? I miss the days when she was heavy on the radio. But the days of “Goodies” and “1, 2 Step” are long gone. Maybe it was the overly suggestive “Ride” that killed it. Who knows? Sad, though.

-Dondria was doing well enough for a while but faded off a bit. The YouTube darling may be working on a follow-up. I hope so. Because I really loved her first album.

-K. Michelle displays both beauty and a wonderful voice with her music. But she disappeared as well. I can only hope we get more from her.

-Kelly Rowland is interesting because although she tries to do R & B she has this disobliging and rather annoying way of making more pop music than anything else. My suggestion? Go back to the formula for the first album.

I say these names as just a small sampling of a growing trend. I’m honestly thankful for artists who are fighting to stay around like Chrisette Michelle, LeToya Luckett, Melanie Fiona, Ledisi, and Jill Scott. It never ceases to amaze me how these wonderful ladies continue to make good music that falls on the ear drums so perfectly.

With Beyonce and Rihanna both more pop than actually R & B, we need strong female R & B artists. Any volunteers?

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