Music transcends language and barriers. It’s an art that many of us use as an escape. It is a beautiful thing. So, how come some genres get more praise than others nowadays? We’ve written this article to touch upon the topic of rhythm and blues, and why its popularity has declined (or not).
For the clueless ones, rhythm and blues pertain to R&B, which by definition signifies a type of pop music of black origin with soulful vocals and a lot of improvisation. Think Alicia Keys, Aaliyah, or John Legend. If you don’t know who those are, then clearly we are getting a bit old here.
And for those who want some downtime while listening to their favorite tunes, it’s high time that you delegate some academic responsibilities to seasoned and affordable experts. Try Studyfy’s paper proofreading service and give yourself a chance to relax and get away from the endless hustle. Perhaps you have a paper or two that’s lengthy and needs attention.
Moving on, here’s the article:
1. Mainstream Dominance
One of the main reasons why R&B might not be as popular amongst students as it was in the past, is because of the music that’s being pushed to the mainstream’s spotlight. Artists like Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and so on.
Mainstream music dominates most platforms online whether it’s on Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud, or any other platform that streams songs. Moreover, these artists are behind huge record labels that have the resources to keep them in the spotlight for a very long time.
Music, just like any other industry nowadays, is heavily commercialized.
2. Pop Culture Values
Pop culture values are dominated by trends. What’s in right now? Who should I be following and listening to? This goes for every generation, and music staples a sort of identity for each era. The 60s were all about psychedelic music, the 90s were all about grunge, and so on.
Each era had its values that came with the music’s particular identity and staple. Modern-day values concentrate heavily on being successful, dominant, and rich. The music reflects those values blatantly. That’s why rap is ridiculously popular these days because they convey these types of values. And even pop does its fair share to promote this.
Essentially, R&B is a more soulful and emotional genre, therefore it doesn’t focus so much on what pop culture tends to put importance in.
3. Inadequate Representation
This point is similar to the first and second points. It’s another simple but clear reason as to why the music genre isn’t as liked by this generation. There are many artists representing pop and rap because they are two of the most dominant genres of music in this particular era.
Naturally, artists still need to make money, so most of them will fall in one or the other genre. Why would they do music that won’t sell as well? It’s a sad and grim fact. Of course, there are many artists out there who do music because they love it and stay authentic to what they want to do, but it’s blatantly obvious that many of them will remain more underground and make considerably less than artists who ‘sell out’.
Money is everything, but it’s a huge factor. At the end of the day, people will have different reasons for starting a music career, and even if it’s idealistic and heartwarming to think that all musicians do music purely because they love a specific genre, some artists are only chasing income and fame.
4. Music Landscape Is Ever-Changing
Nothing is permanent they say, and the only constant changes. Just like everything else, from globalization, industrialization, to digitalization. Everything changes, and a new age ushers novelty. We can’t compare music that was popular in the 1920s to what’s popular now.
The music landscape, in particular, is very fluid. Many genres that you hear today are just modifications of what already existed in the past! Just new variations of what was already there. For example, pop-rock was quite the hit in the early 2000s with artists like Avril Lavigne and Green Day rocking it out on MTV. Nowadays, songs from Lil Peep, Juice WRLD, and similar artists have fused modern-day rap style with emo rock from earlier years.
Another example is songs from Lana Del Rey, which people dub as coming from an older more elegant era. However, Lana’s music is a modernized and inspired version of Jazz, Indie rock/pop, Psychedelic rock, and so on. She transcends genre and has made something new out of the old.
On that note, we will see later on, why R&B isn’t dead or less popular. It has just transformed and adapted to the music landscape of today, and we’ll be giving example artists, so stick around if you’re an R&B lover.
5. Different Tastes For Different Generations
Similar to the point made before, it’s inevitable that the tastes of older generations won’t appeal to the ones that will follow. Timeless artists like Pink Floyd or The Beatles are still very much remembered by this generation even if they don’t necessarily listen to their tunes.
They serve more as icons (basically a lot of youngins will have a poster or merchandise from these bands but they don’t listen to them). It just looks cool. It’s sad but it’s true. However, on the bright side with novelty comes discoveries.
Final Thoughts: R&B Isn’t Dead
R&B isn’t dead, it’s just been redefined. And yes, students do still listen to the new versions of R&B. While this may irk some old-school fans, there is still hope left for you in this world. Some highly noteworthy artists might just become your new favorites.
JMSN: this artist is much more underground than the others, but even if his popularity doesn’t match our other examples, his artistry, talent, and music are top-notch, raw, and great.
SZA: A wonderful and unique voice hailing from the label TDE, Sza was quite underground before she hit fame. Now she sings with the likes of The Weeknd. Don’t be fooled by her popularity now, just take a look at her discography and listen to her older albums. Her music is authentic, raw, emotional, deep, and unique.
Frank Ocean: Just listen to his album ‘Blonded’. Thank us later.
The Weeknd: He’s a good example of new-age R&B. Much of his music is very dark and controversial, but his older albums like ‘The Trilogy’ clearly show elements of R&B.
Jhene Aiko: Jhene Aiko’s songs are soulful, and her voice could probably snatch your soul away. She’s a modern R&B artist, and her craft is phenomenal.