Neo Soul Today

Neo Soul Today is an authoritative source for informed and intelligent opinion, reviews, news, and other content about neo soul music, its artists, culture, and industry.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Neo Soul Lexicon Series

By Sean
Editor-in-Chief, Neo Soul Today

This post introduces a Neo Soul Today series entitled "The Neo Soul Lexicon." The purpose of this series is to take a stab at establishing standard terminology and categorization to describe the sub-genre of neo soul. As thought leaders for neo soul music, we will work to establish a basic vocabulary for neo soul, its different sounds, levels of visibility, and other aspects. We believe it is important for us to focus hard on categorization and lexicon from the outset before diving deep into other topics about the artform. Neo soul is in its infancy and the artform continues to reinvent and refine itself with each new artist, song, album, and performance.

Why spend energy on this topic?
The sole reason Neo Soul Today exists is to combine the power of blogging with our knowledge of and love for neo soul music in order to enable the artform to mature. Blogging will enable this maturation process to occur naturally since consensus will prevail at the end of the day. Our job is to raise intelligent topics and voice substantive opinions backed by considerable research, analysis, and facts available. Your job as current listeners, prospective listeners, and artists is to comment on these topics rationally. In the end, our collective voice supported by consensus will, over time, prevent the media and large record labels from forcing their vision for and impression of neo soul on the market (us). This is known as push marketing in the business world. Rather, these companies will promote, produce, sell, and report based on our (the market’s) idea of what neo soul is and what our needs are. This is known as pull marketing in the businesss world and is our desired outcome for the future of neo soul.

Priority No. 1: Gain Agreement Between All Artists and All Listeners About What Neo Soul Is and What It Is Not
One of our biggest concerns about neo soul and its future is the well-documented disconnect between how artists perceive themselves and their craft and how listeners do (see Neo Soul Lexicon: The Controversial Phrase “Neo Soul”). The neo soul artform is indeed undergoing an identity crisis. However, it is largely one-sided. It is no secret that many artists become irritated when they are “labeled” as neo soul artists. However, it is much less of a touchy subject among listeners. Hence, the identity crisis only exists under the context of these artists’ resistance to acceptance of the phrase. In plain terms, a sizeable number of neo soul artists are not on the same page as their most loyal listeners. This only results in a confused audience. Since this disconnect is only over petty verbiage, we view it as an opportunity to bridge this gap by creating a mutual understanding based on consensus. This is priority number one for the artform. Otherwise, it is unrealistic to expect the media to properly cast neo soul music and its artists in the correct light; and even more unrealistic to expect large record labels (and even small independent ones, for that matter) to promote signed neo soul artists to the right audience (us) and to know where to look for new talent.


The Controversial Phrase "Neo Soul"
Indeed, the phrase "neo soul" itself is a controversial one. Thus, for your reading pleasure, the opening post of this series is an opinion piece on the phrase "neo soul", the controversy surrounding the phrase, and Neo Soul Today's position on the issue.

Neo Soul Artists vs. Contributing Artists
This brief second installment is devoted to what we refer to at Neo Soul Today when we use the terms neo soul artist and contributing artist. I believe it is important to articulate what these two terms mean before further delving into a lexicon (or vocabulary) for neo soul. I hope that this installment proves enlightening; especially in terms of who is not really a neo soul artist.

This third installment is devoted to categorizing the different sounds of neo soul.

This fourth installment is devoted to categorizing the different levels of visibility attributed to neo soul artists.

The Artist Sound/Visibility Rating
This fifth installment is devoted to establishing a quick and easy-to-understand rating system for neo soul listeners to use when searching for and learning about neo soul artists.


At July 20, 2005 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say that I'm very glad that I came across and linked onto this site from another one and somewhat lucky enough to do so also.First,I found a website that's dedicated to new jack swing and now this,neo-soul.I'm sure that this will help me get an even better and deeper understanding of what this variety of modern R&B music is all about as an aspiring neo-soul(or rather hip-hop soul)recording artist myself.This site is great,I'm so content that I found it. I'm sure that it will continue to do well and I hope that as it proceeds to grow more info on what everyone into this particular music needs to know about it.Thanks for creating a web page dedicated to the hip-hop soul music and era.I'm thankful for both sites on new jack swing and hip-hop soul.Peace.


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