I'm part of the 90s generation of music - Mary, Usher, Jay, R. Kelly, etc - that has always been excited because our faves have withstood the hands of musical time, much like our parents' favorite artists who are still going strong. But the 90s artists have lost their minds. Our generation's legends have gone way left and decided not to grow up with their fans - their paying customers. They are insisting upon recording and singing for people who aren't paying to hear them: teenagers. Teens, as much as they might like a song in the moment, aren't going to see our 90s "kings and queens" who have managed to ease into 2011. So sadly, they are possibly ruining their own musical legacies. I have a problem with this - a big one. It is beyond me why they won't realize that no matter how hard they try to remain "young," they just cannot play to people under 23 and satisfy those over that age. Those that grew up with them and "remember when."
This entire post stems from three of the four I mentioned in the first paragraph - Mary, Usher and Jay - and will therefore address my issues with them one at a time. I leave R. Kelly off because (1) I'm not a huge fan anymore, (2) he seems to have found the error of his musical ways and (3) despite my not being a fan anymore, his latest release is great. So let's get down to business...
Mary: I am MOST disturbed by my beloved MJB. Nobody can do "feel" a song like her or bust a Mary stomp. But the buck stops there. I'm not in the mood for autotune Mary from the last album nor am I with this Mary who is doing some weird type of singing on her latest song with Lil Wayne and Diddy. I don't want the beatdown Mary back; I'm cool with "happy" Mary but I want the Mary that sings from the heart. It is just my opinion but it seems that she is making a desperate attempt at staying on a V-103 or Hot 97 type of station versus growing up and accepting that YES, Mary, you are a grown woman who needs to stop playing down to these kids who really don't give a damn what you put out. THEY'RE. NOT. BUYING. IT. Let's keep it real: How many of those hip-hop stations would play the music had Wayne not been on it? Yeah, I'll wait and let's leave it at that with her.
Usher: Geez. I don't know what went wrong here. He got married and it seems to have all gone downhill from there. I certainly won't blame it on the marriage because if anything, it might inspire you to write (or select if you're not a writer) better material. Instead, I'll say that Usher [rightfully] shifted his priorities but was never able to get them back when it was time to make music. This latest album - though I like it more than the previous release - shows ME (you don't have to agree) he wanted to hit the trends in music and put the album together and get it out there. He's a megastar so it was no surprise we saw him everywhere. But his vocals have been almost always off, the dancing was lazy and he just showed no gumption about himself in music. It's just...gone.
Jay-Z: Jay is my heart. I've loved him since before his first album and was just hearing him randomly on a couple of tapes. I'm going to make this simple: he doesn't give a damn about putting out good lyrics - this is just something to do. Yet, he continues to mention "I got my swagger back." HELLOOOOO, this means that you know something is wrong!! But he won't stop. The bleeding continues and yet whenever a new song comes out with him on it, people act like it is awesome. STOP.
Am I rambling? NO. This has a point: This has to stop. The legends are bringing themselves down and are making us all screw our faces up. The ones I mentioned aren't the only ones but these are most important for me to discuss now. These boys and girls must grow up. You can't put out kid music forever.