Evolution of R&B/Soul: From Discreet to Explicit
Along with many other things, music is changing. To appeal to the younger demographic, music went from trying to be in a relationship, to just trying to “get some.”
R&B and soul has changed dramatically since the 90’s, with lyrics going from relatively tame to outright vulgar. But why? Music doesn’t have to be explicit to be good or to catch the attention of listeners.
“If I were you I’d take precaution before I step to meet a fly girl, you know, cause in some proportions you’d think she’s the best thing in the world…” This quote is from a hit song “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe, released in 1990.
The song talks about a female that can’t be trusted. There is clearly no sexual content, and even if it is, it is not obvious.
In 2003, R.Kelly released his album Chocolate Factory, which included the song “Ignition.” The song makes sexual innuendos with car references.
“Girl, please let me stick my key in your ignition babe…” While there is definitely an attempt to hide the sexual references, you can still tell what each car part is supposed to be.
This song is an example of the transition of music.
Chris Brown released an album on October 31, 2017, titled Heartbreak on a Full Moon. Some of the songs on the album include: the title track, “Heartbreak on a Full Moon,” “Tempo,” and “Pills and Automobiles.”
“I need your body in ways, that you don’t understand… girl, I just want to take you home and get right to it… you know that I just want to make love…” The quote above is from “Privacy,” another song on the album.
“Privacy” is a song about what Chris would do with a woman, but because she’s classy, she won’t do anything unless it’s in private instead of being flamboyant about it.
Some say music has changed for the better, I feel like it has changed, but not for the better.
The subject of music may not have changed but the vulgarity of it has. Music has gone from rarely using explicit language to needing such language to get a point across.
As artists get older and mature, they may feel the need to change what they sing about or how they deliver the song.
If music could go back to how it was, artists would most likely still get the same amount of supporters.
Artwork: By RIAA (RIAA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons