The keen eye will see that we skipped October when it comes to these monthly playlists. And that is for a reason. It felt weird after a while to name these after the previous month, since I at some point switched from picking music I discovered in the past month towards more organized playlists. For November I decided to go back to a genre of music I’ve liked for a very long time. Back when I was a teenager, before I even knew what punk-rock was, I listened to a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop. In hindsight, a lot of the music wasn’t particularly good and I wouldn’t listen to it today, but the R&B side of things has aged a bit better than the Hip-Hop side. That’s not to say Hip-Hop hasn’t aged well, it’s more the songs I was listening to that weren’t particularly good. I’ve also added some newer tracks, so let’s go through a few of the songs in the playlist together.
I remember reading David Eddings’ The Belgariad as one of my first real fantasy novels. And while I was reading those books, I was playing Ne-Yo’s music on repeat on my blue Ipod Nano. We didn’t have a ton of money, but I remember wanting a good MP3 player, so I saved up for it. Not that brand names mean better quality per se, but I can honestly say that I’ve never had a complaint about these apple products back in the day. Then again, this is ages ago when they were known for innovating, and not removing headphone jacks from their products. So I would listen to Ne-Yo on repeat. I remember listening to certain songs, in particular So Sick, Because of you and Sexy Love hundreds of times. Itunes (not a good program) had a counter for how often you’d listen to a song, so I could keep track of the fact that I only listened to a handful songs on repeat and didn’t diversify at all. I’ve added some of my favorite Ne-Yo songs from that era to the list. He’s done some more upbeat stuff with Pitbull, but it doesn’t quite fit the vibe of the playlist, but I left those out.
Now onto the important part, there are some R&B artists out there with questionable morals. And with questionable morals I’m definitely underselling some of them. I debated if I’d put them in the list. I like separating the art from the artist, I still listen to Michael Jackson even though he allegedly had his problems, and I’ll probably still play Diablo IV even though Blizzard isn’t known for treating their employees well. But I do draw the line somewhere, and I think recency and direct involvement helped me decide where this line was. For obvious reasons I’ve not included R. Kelly’s music, even though I used to really enjoy some of his songs. On the other end of the coin I did include songs by Chris Brown. I’m no expert on his situation, but physical assault, regardless if it’s against a man or a woman, is not okay. Having said that, it’s not as bad as some of the things the excluded artists have done, and although I don’t agree with it, I will still listen to the songs I used to listen to, because they’re still great.
Last but not least, I added songs by T-pain. This playlist is very R&B focused and I feel like T-pain fits just on the edge of that genre. I’m mainly adding him because I used to love his music, and was wonderfully surprised that when I heard him sing in a youtube video where he wasn’t using mountains of autotune, he still sounded absolutely amazing. I also sometimes pop into his streams on twitch, which is very fun to watch. For those reasons, and the fact that the song just slaps, I’m adding his latest release to the playlist.
I hope you all enjoy listening to this nostalgia trip, and I’ll see you all here again next month for a winter themed playlist!