Tuesday, May 03, 2005

An email conversation.

On 5/3/05, Thomas A. Inskeep wrote:
> > >
> > > So, Paul, I want your opinion on something that drives me crazy: damned near all of the "indie kids" (I'm including you in that number, and people like Perpetua, the ILM cabal, et.al.) give love to all of the "right" pop records these days (Annie, Juliet... remember the hubub over Sugababes?), know about them pre-release, etc. But there's no corresponding love for new R&B records. [To wit: do you know who Bobby Valentino, who I'm listening to right now ... even is?] Why d'you think that is - especially considering the mad love lots of your compadres give to, say, Lil Jon?
> > >

> > From: Paul Cox
> > Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 8:42 AM
> > To: Thomas A. Inskeep
> > Subject: Re: indie kids go pop
> >
> > I have no clue who Bobby Valentino is, but if you stamp him with the R&B tag it's something I'll likely avoid. I think the real reason for acceptance of new pop stars is the way they reference the '80s. Indie kids say out loud that the '80s were lame, but at home it's all they listen to. When someone like Annie comes along, she seems like a more musically aware version of a star from the old days. And, often, because these people play with live bands (and even more rarely record
with live instrumentation), they get the collective thumbs up.
> >
Most R&B is still recorded with cheap ass drum loops and piddly keyboards. For every Timbaland or Dr. Dre making it work, there's 1,000 producers who are fucking it up.
> >

> On 5/3/05, Thomas A. Inskeep wrote:
> > So, correspondingly, you think that's why singles like Amerie's "1 Thing" and Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love" are so beloved by the rockcrit cabal - because they sound so "live"?
> >
> > And that still doesn't explain the love for, say, a David Banner (whose entire Caucasian fanclub, I think, is on ILM).

On 5/3/05, Paul Cox wrote:
> I'm not a good foil for this argument, because I have little love for anything tipping "crunk." I have no explanation for David Banner or Lil Jon or Ying Yang Twins, etc.
> But yeah, I fully believe that's why "1 Thing" and "Crazy In Love" crossed over so well. Indie kids will talk about Motown and Stax until they're blue in the face, but you won't find them listening to any modern r&b ...not even in private.

From: Paul Cox
Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 8:55 AM
To: Thomas A. Inskeep
Subject: Re: indie kids go pop

(I should point out that "Yeah" by Usher is the exception to the rule, because Usher is a badass and that song was a monster.)

Hm, didn't realize you were just going to let the email exchange speak for itself. Where's your Springer-esque final thought?
Sometimes, simple is best, y'know? Since I spend so much of this blog - and my writing, in general - giving opinion, I like the idea of letting this speak for itself.
I don't have any bias against r&b. A lot of the stuff I hear can seem really flat to me, and the stuff I like I generally can't post cos it's on a major label and I'm paranoid. Generally I only post big mainstream stars when I'm defending them, a la Weezer and Gwen Stefani.

But the blog really dominates how I listen to music now, so I generally avoid seeking out music I probably can't post. Thus I am always two or three months behind in mainstream r+b and hip hop.
I didn't mean to intimate that you're anti-R&B, Matthew, and apologize if that's how that came across. You were actually probably a poor example to use, y'know? *laughs*
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