[Dixielandjazz] Where"s The Melody?

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 17 09:21:47 PDT 2007

Caveat: About Pop Music. However it does give one a perspective on melody in
today's music. This is what's happening "today". IMO, "melody" is coming
back in popular music. We bsee the melodiuc appreciation in our young
audiences. Why don't most of us realize that? Perhaps we're still way behind
the curve in where the music is going.

Steve Barbone

Where¹s the Melody? It¹s Everywhere You Look

NY TIMES - By NE-YO - June 17, 2007

HIS old report cards read Shaffer Chimere Smith, but to the rest of us he¹s
known by two syllables: Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo, a 24-year-old Grammy-nominated R&B
singer-songwriter, was back home in Atlanta after a trip to Japan to
publicize his sophomore album, ³Because of You² (Def Jam). He was in town
temporarily to celebrate the opening of his recording studio ‹ with
kitchens! ‹ and to announce a talent contest. (The winner scored a record
deal with Ne-Yo¹s label, Compound Entertainment.) Seemingly the victim of a
jampacked schedule, he was getting dressed while on the phone with Winter
Miller. A thoughtful sentence about melody was punctuated with a request for
socks. Nearing the end of his list and finally dressed, though still
shirtless, he spoke from the car on the way to greet the press and fans at
the new studio. The next day he was off again for his national tour.

Robin Thicke

He¹s been underrated. Not too many people remember his first album, ³A
Beautiful World.² It was a classic. Some critics called it schizophrenic,
but I call it diverse. It had a lot of different vibes to it. That album was
him showing his love for music ‹ not a particular kind of music, all music ‹
and the world wasn¹t ready for it. His second album, ³The Evolution of Robin
Thicke² (Interscope), leans more toward R&B, but it¹s got this rare feel to
it. A lot of today¹s R&B is hip-hop-based, but the lion¹s portion of this
album is more Marvin Gaye. It¹s an older sound, more traditional R&B. Robin
Thicke is a musical genius, and all the recognition he¹s getting has been a
long time coming. 

Regina Spektor

What struck me first about her was the song ³Fidelity,² from ³Begin to Hope²
(Sire). The melody and the hook are what drew me in, and I picked up her
album. I love her lyrical content. Any woman that can write, ³Summer in the
city means cleavage cleavage cleavage² is O.K. in my book. She almost sings
without singing. You can tell she¹s not trying hard to sing really really
good, she just does. Sometimes it just sounds like she¹s talking in melody.
It gives a lighthearted take to her songs, and that makes me happy. She
seems like she doesn¹t take herself too seriously. That¹s certainly a plus
in a world where everyone else takes themselves way too seriously.


I listen Ciara when I want to dance. If you¹re a girl, you listen to ³Like a
Boy² from ³The Evolution² (LaFace) to feel empowered. Her music makes women
feel sexy and makes guys want sex. You can¹t go wrong with either one.
Ciara¹s not the strongest singer, but that doesn¹t take away from the
validity of her music. Her melodies and cadences carry her voice; you forget
she doesn¹t have a powerhouse voice like Mary J. Blige or Keyshia Cole.
Plus, she started a whole new genre of R&B, the ³crunk & B² sound with Lil
Jon. I dig it. I think it¹s exciting somebody started something different.

R. Kelly

I like ³I¹m a Flirt² from ³Double Up² (Jive) because he¹s obviously not
taking things seriously. He¹s being honest about himself. It¹s not a serious
song to get upset about. When you listen to it, you picture yourself being
the flirter as opposed to the guy whose girlfriend was flirted with. Girls
flirt as much as guys do ‹ or more ‹ so I can see a girl listening to it and
feeling it. Of the hip-hop-R&B genre nobody does it better than R. Kelly.
There are three or four guys hot right now doing the sing-rap thing, and you
get tired of hearing it, but there¹s something different and special about
R. Kelly. Perhaps because he was one of the first to make it popular. Unlike
a lot of the guys that do it now, his melodies don¹t become monotone for
trying to get the point across.

Linkin Park

It takes talent to yell at the top of your lungs like Chester Bennington. He
does that raspy thing. It¹s amazing he does that night after night on tour
and doesn¹t lose his voice. On ³Minutes to Midnight² (Warner Brothers) they
mix hip-hop with rock without sacrificing the integrity of either. The rock
sounds like rock, and the hip-hop sounds like hip-hop. It¹s a guy rapping
over an electric guitar, and it¹s beautiful. A bunch of groups have tried
the rock-hip-hop thing, and they don¹t sound natural. It doesn¹t sound like
Linkin Park sat around and said, ³Hey let¹s be a rock group with a rapper.²
Their music doesn¹t sound contrived. They tend to tackle serious issues.
Their lyrics make you think. There¹s nothing I hate more than a stupid song,
or a song that makes you stupider. 

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