Wednesday, October 12

Neo Soul: Is It Live or Memorex?

There's a stimulating discussion starting over at Neo Soul Today, and if you're a fan of this music, you probably have your own two-cent to add. Basically, the question has been posed, "Should the word 'Neo' be dropped from the term 'Neo Soul'?"

Aretha Franklin's 30 Greatest Hits album is back-to-back fireErykah Badu's CD Worldwide Underground was considered by many fans a bit lean compared to her previous sets

In certain music circles, this conversation is getting about as heated as the smoke-free restaurant issue. Soon, people will start ceding from the Rhythm Nation. Watch: somebody's gonna design a separate flag over this one day and take up arms!

Personally, I'm an advocate for keeping the term Neo Soul. When I'm digging through the "Soul" crates at my favorite music store, I'd like that to remain a pure stroll down Memory Lane, a treasure hunt through classics that have withstood the test of time. This should remain a special, private club for the likes of Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, The Emotions, and Betty Wright.

When I'm feeling the urge for something new, I like the idea of having a separate section to search, full of young innovators such as Musiq, Angie Stone, Yahzarah, Glenn Lewis, Joss Stone, and Conya Doss.

As wonderful as they are, it just doesn't seem fitting to place them in the same club as Johnny Taylor or Dianna Ross. And I would think the new artists, out of utmost respect for the legends, would be okay with being classified Neo Soul, too.

What say you?

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like


Blogger obifromsouthlondon said...

I'm all for the term "neo". unfortunately it relegates peeps to the jazz/retro-like radio programs and late night radio rotations (at least in the UK). for the discerning listener :)

2:14 PM  
Blogger Viqi French said...

Hey Obi,

It's somewhat like that in the States, too. Here, we have a lot of "Quiet Storm" radio programs that'll play more of this music later in the night than they will during the day.

I think most of the artists and labels have figured out that they've got to have at least one "radio hit," a song that'll guarantee airplay on the more commercial, "hip-hop" oriented stations.

But it's still tough for these artists. I think it's hard for them to stay true to themselves, but also be mindful of marketing to the masses.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Lili said...

So true so regards to your comment here. As far as the term "Neo Soul " - I like it because it implies a change or a growth, maybe even a subcategory that is deserving considering the artists in the "soul" category.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Viqi French said...

Hi Lili,

I agree: the "change or growth" implied by the word "neo" is treated (by some) like the plague. But it's a very good thing.

That said, I still have that baby porcupine picture I saw on your blog in my mind. They're the weirdest, cutest things I've ever seen in my life!! (Y'all click on Lili's name in the post above for a deep-ass photo treat.)

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neo-is a term indicating change or growth in the way our people express themselves. For yers I was unable to show those around me how I felt. My feelings were hidden behind an everlasting smile until one evening I heard a powerful song by Lyfe Jennings, a neo-soul artist. The song helped me express myself and gave me the answer to my problem in order to bring about change in my life.

4:53 PM  

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