2017 was a strong year for R&B/pop. It feels like a new artist pops up every day, but these ones caught my ear and made me listen over and over. From groovy beats, saucy lyrics, and hypnotic basslines, I am HOOKED on R&B. Here are some of my favorite artists/songs from 2017.
Earlier this year, Kehlani dropped one of the best R&B/pop albums to see the light of day. Unapologetically titled Sweet Sexy Savage, this songstress held NOTHING back, and that’s what made the album so beautiful.
She’s back again, sprinkling a little more honesty in a stripped down acoustic track, titled “Honey.” Kehlani worships women openly and sings, “I like my girls just like I like my honey, sweet, a little selfish.” Her voice stays pretty and honest – as usual. “Honey” is simple, yet says so much. A modern day love song all about women loving women.
The California native said on her Instagram, “A huge thx to everyone listening to Honey, 7-8 months since I dropped anything and I’m happy ya’ll still here ready to jam at any moment. More comin where date came frommmmm.”
My prediction? She will become a leader on the R&B charts, dominating every spot. Her raw honesty and sense of self made her a frontrunner in music this past year. Keeping simple R&B sounds with spicy lyrics that fit the bill (listen to “Distraction”). SweetSexySavage, will be what you’re bumping going into 2017.
Big Sean:I Decided, Feb. 3
It’s been a minute since his last album, Dark Sky Paradise (2015) which was flooded with all-star cameo’s like Ariana Grande and Kanye West. The rapper has slowly been releasing singles throughout 2016 with, “Living Single,” “Bounce Back,” “Moves,” and “No More Interviews.” Big Sean told Entertainment Weekly the album is focused on rebirth, saying “Sometimes I feel like I was an old man and didn’t succeed in life and asked for a second chance, and this is my second chance.”
The XX:I See You, Jan 13.
Mumbled rhyme schemes and pulsating guitar riffs litter every XX track. After their hit, “On Hold,” fans became once again addicted to the distinct XX sound. “There was so much pressure from ourselves about: What do people like about us? What makes us sound like us? What do we need to hang onto?” member Oliver Sim told Pitchfork. The trio remains out of the limelight as much as possible holding onto their privacy as much as they can. I See You could be their best yet.
Katy Perry: ??
It is rumored that Ms. Perry is back in the studio again working on new music. We haven’t heard much from the singer since her laid back 2013 album, Prism; garnering hits like, “Birthday,” “Dark Horse,” and “This Is How We Do.” Will she continue her pop-happy radio domination in 2017? Only time will tell…
Ed Sheeran: ??
Sheeran has been MIA for quite some time, perhaps perfecting his acoustic/pop sound? The crooner shared an Instagram with fans hinting that new music would be released this Friday (1/6). An album? single? music video? We just have to wait and see. In the past, he’s mentioned his progress on his third album (reportedly titled “÷”- following the numeric theme he’s titled past albums) calling it, “The best thing I have made thus far.”
“Advice” is every conversation we’ve had with ourselves after heartbreak. The pain, the denial, the truth we’ve been neglecting to respect. Kehlani sings with a slight plead, “I don’t want you around, cause how is the man of my dreams, not a man of his words?” The chorus comes in strong, “It’s time to take my own advice.” One of the hardest things we as humans often have trouble doing. We trust and believe in others, but can’t seem to apply that to ourselves. It’s too easy to break our confidence and feel rejected. While the song is soaked in broken love, it thrives in hope, and pure honesty. “Advice” serves as her most emotional song to date. Proving her raw lasting beauty in the R&B genre.
Her debut album SWEETSEXYSAVAGE will FINALLY hit shelves on January 27. With a 19-song track list, it’s bound to be a saucy musical brew. In response to her album title, Kehlani tweeted, “As women we are told that we cannot be multi layered.. we are put in boxes.. we can’t be all the above.. reclaim yourself.” Then she goes on to say, “But really.. it’s me reclaiming myself. Me accepting myself. Good & bad. All the way around. It’s me. Thank you for loving me.”
“CRZY” kicked off the summer of Kehlani. I found myself playing it over and over. The sassy verses; “Everything I do, I do it with a passion, if I gotta be a bitch, I’mma be a bad one,” and thudding beat make you crank the bass and roll the windows down. The single artwork features what looks to be a cartoon version of the singer with one hand grabbing her opposite shoulder. A pair of brass knuckles is seen on her fingers. A grappling sense of independence makes Kehlani a bad ass in the R&B genre.
She later released the sultry and sweet, “Distraction” where she asks the question, “Are you down to be a distraction, baby?” Then accompanies hip/hop-rapper Belly on his track, “You.” A saucy duet between two lovers as they talk about sex, passion, and getting faded thinking about each other. Belly recites, “All about you, all about you…” over and over as Kehlani serves some serious sauce.
Just when you thought she couldn’t get hotter, a contribution to the Suicide Squad soundtrack put her back on the charts again. “Gangsta” is a hauntingly beautiful song about the intoxicating love that blinds two people. Her fairy-like vocals sing, “I need a gangsta, to love me better, than all the others do, to always forgive me, ride or die with me.” The lyrics are evil villain-worthy, while the backing music keeps the same dark powerful theme.