Download Top 5 Soul Music for SummerTime
Soul music is a popular genre that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Soul music has its roots in African-American gospel music and rhythm and blue.
It became famous for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic, and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul music also became popular worldwide, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
Summertime is nearly here! And what better way to get the warm vibes flowing rhythms than with some supremely soulful sounds of soul music? With this in mind, here are 5 picks for the best R&B rhythms and slices of soul music this summer.
Cranes In The Sky – Solange
Cranes in the Sky is a piece of soul music by American singer and songwriter Solange. Released on October 5, 2016, by Saint Records and Columbia Records, it is the first single from Solange’s third album, A Seat at the Table. The soul music was written by Solange, who co-produced it with Raphael Saadiq.
Blissfully minimalist yet beautifully deep, Cranes In The Sky is pure poetry, the restless feeling of being away from a loved one echoed in the ways she tries to fill the space in her life (‘I try to drink it away, ‘I tried to dance it away’).
The imagery of solitary birds swooping over calm waters, suppressed by heavy steel clouds, evokes the feeling of loneliness. But this is quickly soothed by the gentle, mellow tones of Solange’s vocals and the reassurance of the backing vocalists (‘Don’t you cry, baby!’).
The minimalism of the strings and brass gives the sensation of spaciousness, further asserted by the expansive landscapes depicted in her music video. This quiet exploration of Solange’s inner world evokes a sense of healing through music: her vocals take center stage in a powerful, delicate, and subtle way, allowing herself the space to be fragile.
The soul music video is a creative exploration of themes of struggle and empowerment; Solange’s solo scenes are contrasted against group shots of herself with other black women, artistically shot, bodies draped over each other in a manner that echoes classical art.
There is a sense of intimacy in her group shots, the women touching each other’s skin in a way that suggests connection and familiarity. The use of colour in the clothing and backgrounds and the way that Solange positions herself appear almost saintly, the slight movement of her hands and eyes bringing life to what would otherwise be a freeze-frame while keeping the sense of being in a living painting.
Cranes In The Sky is a deceptively subtle exploration of inner feelings of loneliness and the healing power of belonging in a community.
Didn’t Cha Know – Erykah Badu
The bass riff is fluid and melodic, complimented perfectly by the soaring melodic tune of the keyboard and Badu’s light, airy vocals, and grounded by earthy drum beats. Erykah Badu takes her cue from old-school R&B and soul music to create a modern, minimalist, and unquestionably unique track.
A roaming air to the track contributes to the sensation of traveling through life experiences; in her music video, Badu is a nomad roving through the desert, the ground dry and cracked beneath her boots.
Erykah Badu’s dress is white against the scorched sienna earth, unquestionably futuristic which contrasts with the retro feel of the melody and the naturalistic way that she connects with the insects and reptiles in her environment.
Her train drags behind her almost bridal manner as she searches for her lover in the wilderness, yet she is alone, curling up in her dress to go to sleep as the night falls.
When Erykah Badu finally arrives at the oasis, she and her lover reunite, their thirst for each other quenched in the still waters.
Erykah Badu is an artist who weaves together the threads of freedom and imprisonment, luxury, and hardship, to form an expansive desert tapestry. Didn’t Cha Know are a warm, sun-filled delight of a track and the perfect accompaniment to the blistering summer rays.
Smooth Operator – Sade Adu Soul Music
Smooth Operator is a 1984 soul music hit by Sade Adu, a timelessly astonishing masterpiece that has continued to feel fresh almost 30 years on.
While the track wasn’t as successful in the UK, Smooth Operator was a breakthrough track in the US. It conjures up images of simultaneously slick and sleazy jazz bars frequented by playboys and con artists to deceive unwary women out of their money.
The saxophone is as suave and sophisticated as the swindler depicted in the video, adding a nostalgic atmosphere to the 80s classic. Smokey and sultry, Sade is a Smooth Operator, a talented bar singer bathed in red lighting as the hustler’s bustle around her, taking advantage of her affections.
Best Part, A Visual – Daniel Caesar and HER
Opening with the crashing sounds of waves on the shore, Best Part, A Visual is an intimate inside glimpse of the bliss between lovers. Caesar’s smooth vocals are complimented by dreamy guitar and elegantly simple percussion, the female vocals of HER. adding an ethereal echo to his earthy tones.
The melody of the soul music is warm, sweet, and feels like bathing in sunlight. Best Part, A Visual is a euphoric, tender track that captures the essence of new love.
Home – Dylan Sinclair
Dylan Sinclair captures the soul’s essence in Home, with melancholic vocals against the backing of swaying electric guitar sounds.
Despite the mournful lyrics, the melody of the soul music has a soothing air; the video features his lover in bed in a sun-bathed field against clear blue skies as he walks from his car across the dusty soil to join her.
Dylan Sinclair pictures her as he drives away in his car, later sitting alone in that same field, as she takes his place in the car alone. He appears lost as he wanders the field, watching the sunset over the horizon.
Dylan’s vocals capture the essence of love on the rocks, sweeping skilfully through highs and lows as he narrates the story of separation and longing.
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