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Can you rel8 to this?

Remember when music had substance?  Remember when you REALLY had to know how to sing in order to get a record deal?  It was crazy competitive back in the day – not because of anything more than the fact that there was always someone being presented to the record company as having the ability to “one up” you if you were ever caught slipping on your vocal game.  Remember those days?  Remember the lyricism?  People actually thought about what they were writing.  They told stories.  Take this one for instance:

LET ME HOLD YOU TIGHT

IF ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT

LET ME KEEP YOU NEAR

TO EASE AWAY YOUR FEAR

IT WOULD BE SO NICE

IF ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT

I WON’T TELL A SOUL

NO ONE HAS TO KNOW

IF YOU WANT TO BE TOTALLY DISCREET

I’LL BE AT YOUR SIDE

IF ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT

YOUR EYES SAY THINGS I NEVER HEAR FROM YOU

AND MY KNEES ARE SHAKIN TOO

BUT I’M WILLIN TO GO THRU

I MUST BE CRAZY

STANDIN IN THIS PLACE

BUT I’M FEELING NO DISGRACE

FOR ASKING……

Luther Vandross was an incredible story teller.  He made himself completely vulnerable to every imaginary woman he spoke about in his songs.  He laid all of his cards on the table “…I’m feeling no disgrace – for asking.”  Woooooo!  LOL.  I mean…you really became a part of the journey through each carefully executed rhythmic stroke of the pen.  It was incredible!  He – along with countless others – was brilliant, which is why his music will live on for the next few lifetimes.

Now, we are subjected to stuff like, “Don’t Be Tardy For The Party.”  If you saw the Real Housewives of Atlanta, then you are aware without any provocation from me that Kim CANNOT sing.  She knows she can’t.  THEY know she can’t.  Dallas Austin knew she couldn’t in the 1st season and that poor microphone that she used to lay the song down…I feel sorry for the microphone – because IT knew she couldn’t sing.  I’m just saying.  But here is the finished product:

*SMH* ~ Kandi helped make that woman sound as decent as she does on this clip but Kim couldn’t hold a note if it fell into her lap.  It was clear that Kandi’s whole objective was, “We can make anybody sound good.”  And she held up her end of the bargain.  Bravo Kandi!  But Kim…don’t quit your day job – whatever that would be.  LOL

The problem I have is, there was no studio plastic surgery back in the day.  Either you had it or you didn’t.  Phyllis Hyman – had it!  Prince – will always have it!   Shanice has it.  I mean…check this out.

Why is it that people like Shanice, who can blow the socks off of a Minnie Riperton song like “Loving You,” are seen struggling to get their careers off the ground, yet we are subjected to an over-saturation of auto-tunes and studio theatrics that flood the airwaves.  And might I add, one should dare not broach a Minnie Riperton rendition of anything unless you can handle it.  My girl Shanice handled it!  Uh…take notice music industry.  Take notice.

Are you getting the gist of my tirade?  What is the problem with this picture?  The music industry has become more about commercialism and exhibitionism.  If you’re not parlaying on that side of the fence, you can almost forget about it.  If you’re not cute, showing a little bit of tail-feather…it’s a wrap.  I say we protest!  I think we should demand authentic music once and for all.  Roger and Zapp had the auto-tune on lock – that is, until T-Pain stole the key.  It worked okay for him but then the ENTIRE industry started borrowing the concept and the world was ambushed by every artist sounding like WALL-E the robot.  I don’t get it.  What a cleaver way to not have to exercise any real talent.  Don’t get me wrong.  I will rock some “Computer Love,” any day of the week or “Grapevine” by Roger and Zapp, but that was then.

And YES!  I am aware that there is NOTHING new under the sun, but…(deep sigh), I don’t see nothing wrong with hoping and wishing and praying that people would take note of the foundation laid for us and build on that in a way that we can enjoy.  Since the auto-tune heist, I almost want to scream whenever I hear an artist use it in their song.  It’s like one dragging their fingernails across the chalkboard – annoying.  I also understand that many of these artists were most popular in the 80’s BUT…is that saying something about the watered down artists that are put out today?  Come on…Luther, Patty, Aretha, Stevie, Boyz II Men, New Edition, Whitney, Prince, Michael Jackson…they all made songs that we can remember for years.  We can literally rattle off their titles and begin humming them in our heads.  That’s when you know a song has made an impact.  It’s in the dome – forever.  I remember last New Years, I was making a play list with a friend of mine.  We’ll call him, “Harlem.”  He began to spew songs and titles of artists that I thought I’d never hear again, Atlantic Starr, Anita Baker, Mint Condition – oh the list got to be pretty exciting.  Harlem and I were on the phone for 5 van-glorious hours listening to whatever he pulled up that I could find on Youtube.  I couldn’t wait to press play and let the songs that he shared from his iPod simply rotate.  It was electrifying.  The music…the lyrics…the moment.  Did I digress?  *wink*

Anywho…for this very reason, I rarely listen to the radio.  Every now and again I will turn it on to “catch up,” but to be honest…I’m just not interested in the pseudo R&B that’s out there now.  It’s just not the same.  So…anybody down to protest with me?  I’m not quite sure where to start…maybe in your own personal music collection.  Figure out what kind of music makes you happy and tells your story best and make a stink about it.  Get people on board.  It’s a protest of sorts…not one that will harm anyone or destroy their reputation but one that spotlights real talent from real people who can really get down.

I leave you with this one – a dance off video compilation of James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince.  There’s also a link to a moment where all three of them are onstage together exercising their vocal aerobics.  Talk about an historical moment.  WOW!

Enjoy!

*ON STAGE TOGETHER: James Brown, Michael Jackson & Prince.

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