R&B and soul music has been built on the experiences that we encounter as humans. Underneath the soft thump of base, trills of pianos, the sultriness of our favorite vocalists and the intense lyrics lies the real story. That hidden piece that touches us in a way that makes us think, feel, ache and reminisce on the raw emotions we have felt as the song unravels seeping its way into our hearts.
What does R&B really feel like? How do we verbally define soul? It’s not as simple as a textbook definition or an article read on Wikipedia. It is only when a moment presents itself that mirrors the message brought to life through song that we can start to capture that essence of this genre.
In unrequited dedication to R&B and soul music, we will seek to capture a piece of that essence here. In our newest column, “The Definition, ” our columnist GeoSoul will align the life experiences of our readers, with ballads and songs we all have grown to love.
Read GeoSoul’s first entry below.
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While the idea that “times have changed” has become a bit of a cliché, music is the anti-thesis to that sentiment, truly showing how things have ironically remained the same (especially in the realm of love). In 1987, R&B songstress Anita Baker added vocals to the hit track, “No one in the World.” In the song, she poses a simple but rhetorical question to her proverbial love, “Are you happy now with your life?”
Recently out of a long-standing relationship, Miss Baker’s smooth and sultry tune, crooned over twenty years ago, is something that my former love has asked me on a few occasions (post our split). With no obvious answer from her former love, Miss Baker responds herself, “Well for me, I’m breaking inside, so self-assured that I could not see I had it all when you were with me…”
My relationship which ended in a realization that we just weren’t meant for each other, still has not freed me from caring about this person’s well-being. Knowing that they are hurting, and struggling to deal with our separation is something that still causes me some turmoil.
When at the height of bliss in our relationship, the chorus of the song, “No one in the world to hold me, no one in the world’s gonna move me, no one in the world can love like you do…” expresses the feelings I felt for him. I was convinced he was my everything, and everyone else paled in comparison. Unfortunately, when our problems began to outweigh those feelings, I began to realize that there were, in fact, other people in the world, who could make me feel that way.
Since parting our experiences have been different. He still holds on to the notion that I may still be the one him. Stating almost verbatim to the lyrics that, “I’ve realized I need you here in my life…”
What’s the remedy to this situation? Much like the song, there may not be one that is clear. However, I am hoping he can find some resolution. Until then I will continue to “look back on the good times we once shared,” and know that even though there is no hope for us, that all the positive memories are still valuable.