Just One of Those Love Songs…. Written By: My Homie Ari

I have long established that I am generationally misplaced in a way that leaves me feeling like my old soul is being compromised by this modern age. I often wonder how I would have been “courted” if I dated men blessed enough to have the “oldies” as their generation’s music. Oldies. The Chi-Lites, Harold Melvin, Marvin Gaye. The kind of music that gave men a reference point on how to appreciate and treat women. (It’s like they bled on their records. They bleeeeed. They bled in a way that rappers who prematurely say “I’m going to bleed on this track” can’t even fathom.) I would even be willing to bet if this kind of emotionally charged music was blaring from men’s radios today their hearts would reflect it. Life would imitate art. They would be better men for it.

For several months I have contemplated the difference in the quality of emotion showcased in current R&B compared to the oldies. It doesn’t make sense that these male artists seemingly pour their hearts out, and the end result is still…flat. Hearing people liken Trey Songz to a modern-day Marvin Gaye is funny to me. I see him as an overgrown child. He sings about sex often but it reminds me of an inexperienced boy mimicking what his older brother said on the subject. His attempt at trying to sound passionate and sexy comes off hoaxy. To be sexy and passionate when you sing about sex, you need to intimately know the soul of the thing. “Trigga” obviously doesn’t know the soul of sex.

These men are trying to be cute with it. Soul is a combination of desperation, pain, and bliss. An emotion intensified is what it is. This kind of exaggeration is not pretty. It’s ugly. You don’t smile through soul. There is nothing pretty about soul. An attempt to make it cute is going to be a failure on its face. It’s like putting artificial sweetener in the tea. The aftertaste is bitter.

And this is the problem with male artists today. I don’t think they sing with any soul because they haven’t found it yet. Soul is created through hardships. It becomes visible through the evolution of that adversity. You don’t hear the soul in men’s voices when they sing about losing a woman because they don’t know the pain associated with losing one. In order to feel that kind of pain he would have had to place a lot of value in her in the first place. That goes to the deeper reason for the absence of soul—men’s decreased value in a sole woman.

A friend of mine, one of the best men I know, told me that songs are different now because women have made men different. He thinks that the value of women in general has diminished in men’s minds because there are so many bad quality ones that allow men to run amuck. The songs sound different because men feel differently about women.

I try to do at least one hour of cardio a day. What takes me to two hours or three is when Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “I Miss You” randomly pops up from my shuffled play-list. If the incredibly beautiful pitches and perfect harmonies are not enough, towards the end of the song Melvin stops singing to his woman and just talks to her. He talks for five minutes. At one point he begs, “If I could just/If I could just see you/Can’t really say what you mean or what you want over the phone/I swear I miss you/You’ve done heard it ten times or more but/I swear I done changed/I swear I done changed.”

Listen to those words. It’s not the validity in what he’s saying that is so on point. Has he changed? Probably not. This man is saying whatever he can to get back into his woman’s good graces. He goes from “I’ve changed”, to” I’ve got a gig” to “I won the lottery”, using every strength in his arsenal to get his ex to change her mind about him. Nothing in what he is saying logically flows. The point is, his words don’t have to necessarily be perfect. With perfection though, he completely humbles himself for her. He puts his pride aside. Can men still do that?

I swear on ON EVERYTHING I LOVE if a man that I remotely still had feelings for just played this song for me because he was unable to find words of his own, he’d be forgiven. I make this promise, so freely, because I know that men of my generation will never call my bluff. Men of my generation wouldn’t think to do this for a sole woman. Even if she is a soul woman.


8 responses to “Just One of Those Love Songs…. Written By: My Homie Ari

  1. Love this! I’m 10 yrs older than you and also feel the effects of this lack of soul in our music. Children of the 70s were borne of this music and we miss it terribly. I even listen to the radio anymore….at least not urban stations. No one cares about anything but money, sex and more money. Whatever happened to passion?

    I agree wholeheartedly with your oath. If a man played me a song that really resonated with me, He’d have me with rapt-attention.

  2. Your post was music to my ears!!! I can soooo relate. What they call R&B today leaves me utterly mortified to think that it is a precursor of what is to come for our kids’ generation. I am a fan of Trey Songz, I mean the old Trey Songz whose songs did not consist 100% of sexing all damn day. Please tell him to read this post and think about reverting back to the good old days.

  3. Those old songs had soul and passion and hardship, but weren’t most of the singers and songwriters drug addicts, alcoholics, serial cheaters, or abusers of their women? For every ounce of soul Trey or Usher or whomever lack, at least they aren’t destroying their bodies, their lives and the lives of those around them, and tearing down the very women they sing about “loving” and “adoring”….

  4. Hey I read your post all of the time. Your friends really get out and network for your blog. I normally just read and don’t post, but I had to on this one.

    Much of today’s music is empty, devoid of any real true emotion, vulnerabillity, transparency and like you stated more or less because in real life so many individuals get by and get off on the superficial.
    What an insult it is to Marvin RIP tho, for anyone to even attempt to compare that yoddling hypersexed suspect individual to him, clearly they know nothing of Marvin LOL

    I shall continue to follow your blog. You do such a great job with your thoughts! KUDOS

  5. Ohhhh I love this post. PLEASE start this discussion so we can stop buying into “sex” so much. It’s so crazy that I’m 24 and the guys I talk to wanna talk about sex as soon as possible. #epicfail I think the music they are constantly fed really make them feel it’s possible. (that and loose girls but we not talking about that) The music today is so garbage, the word garbage doesn’t do it justice. And the face of most of the no lasting till the summer music is BLACK “artists”. Yes that word is in quotation because they THINK they are artists but they really aren’t. Singing about how long you last or saying aahhh isn’t art. (neither was soulja boys superman but we saw how successful that was smh) You know it’s bad when”trigga” even tried to throw shade on R.Kelly. R.Kelly would teach trey a thing or two. Like how to actually sing, live, and do it like a professional. The other day on belle’s formspring someone actually tried to tell belle that beyonce was a legend or something like that. LOL. Belle didn’t budge ” she makes bird anthems” lol. I know I’m going in but I’m a singer/music lover and just listening to the radio today makes my ears bleed.

  6. Great post! I, too am about 10 years older than you. It pains me to hear brothas quoting Drake like he’s Teddy P.

    Shallow hearts give way to shallow songs from shallow artists with shallow experiences who relate to shallow followers with souls as deep as Barbie.

    You ask: Can men still do this? If it were required of them. I am reminded of the episode of the Coby Show when Theo screwed it up with Justine. She demanded more. She required more. In doing so, she single-handedly cultivated the soul of that man as he sat in the kitchen crying out for Justine, Justine! It was out of tune but it resonated.

  7. I enjoyed reading this post. I agree with Toya T. that women play a larger role in this. We need to ask collectively, what is it that we require of men? Do we have any requirements at all? I very much love when my mom talks about how back when she was a young woman in the South, men had to court. There was a whole process; it was expected. As a women in the dating game now, men have no idea how to court and it is because they usually don’t have to. Women don’t require it. I went on a date with a man recently who told me that I was “so 10 years ago” because I told him that I didn’t think it was proper for him to ask me about my sexual history on our 2nd date. REALLY! It is too much for me to know your whole name, some of your hobbies or more than small talk information about you before I divulge my information? Sorry that I have standards. After reviewing the date with a friend, I realized the sad truth that some women think that his questions and expectations are perfectly fine. Until we know our value and worth, men won’t either.

  8. BEAUTIFULLY written, wonderful prose *face screwed up shaking head in affirmation!

    An aside, in response to ‘making men be men and treat us with respect’ – We women have too much on our plates to also have to take responsibility for making men respect us as an entire group. We can demand respect as individuals (which i do regularly – so i date infrequently…as a choice) but it is not our FAULT that some/many? black men refuse to respect and desire a black women with requirements/standards.

    They must be SELF motivated to respect and love themselves —

    when they find worth in themselves they will find worth in us (our type). There will always be women that have low self esteem or high libidoes — we cannot, must not, rest our entire cultural romantic interaction behavior on ‘the least of these’. I know plenty of “men” – real men – who turn these offers down regularly. The ‘others’ chose not to for their own benefit of not having to work hard for a good women.

    It’s not our responsibility and it’s not our fault – a real man will agree with that.

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