Saturday, April 15, 2006

The "Soul" in Music Pt.1

I want to address the often misunderstood element in music of soul. The term "soul" has often been used to refer to a style of singing that arose from Blues, R&B, and Gospel. I would say that "Soulful" quality of music is much larger than that though. I have heard much in the way of gospel, blues, and r&b that I would say is the style of soulful singing but lacks the soul of soul if that makes sense. For instance, take someone like Mariah Carey. She can certainly sing in a soulful way but her music lacks a real depth and conection with other's souls which to me is more fundamental than the style of "soul". On the other hand take a listen to Bob Dylan. Bob has never been credited with having a great voice but the dude's definately got soul. His songs say something, something that he believes, something that arises from the inside. There is an authenticity to Bob Dylan's music. Even when he plays the harmonica it's got soul. Sure there are harp players that run circles around him but he plays it from deep within. "Soul" is that quality of authenticity, depth, conviction, and conection with others through music. I think "Soul" became associated with more African American styles of music because the older blues, gospel, r&b, and soul music was definately connected with life experience, full of depth and passion. Those singers are just good at their turns and vocal chops aren't soulful if their singing is disconected from their inner being, their exeperience and conecting with others.

More to Come