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.
New single, “Lose My Cool” takes on a couple different shapes. Mark’s deep voice slides above some jazzy piano chords as a slick intro makes you think “hmmm, this is cool” (pun intended) A tropical beat takes over, showing off the span of genres this track covers. Mark has a captivating voice that takes you to a somewhat higher place. Something we felt similarly on her 2016 single, “Monsoon (feat. Mia Mark)” as she honored her late mother, Mia. If you close your eyes you can feel an ocean breeze brush your hair past your face.
She describes her sound as, “a mix of alternative R&B mixed with a little tribal and topped off with a little soul.” Being a tri-artist herself (singer, songwriter, and producer), Mark is quickly making a loud presence in the music world. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Boat rides, backyard BBQ’s, late nights with friends, long car rides. Welcome to summer! Let these artists help you enjoy the sunshine and good times.
The coolest brother-sister duo out there. These two are taking the electro-pop scene by storm. Their new album, Conscious made waves on iTunes the day it came out, and for good reason. Heavy synths and addicting drum beats line every song as Georgia’s vocals remain as heavenly as ever. They can make you dance on a boat or make out under the stars.
That’s right. The man is back at it again with some HOT jamz for those summer days. The R&B/hip-hop King released the Diplo-produced melancholy “Crash” and the straight up saucy, “No Limit” featuring newcomer Young Thug. Both show Usher’s range of musical talent that we’ve been missing for what feels like forever.
Tegan & Sara
Their new album, Love You To Death will put you back into a pop trance you haven’t been in for quite some time. 80’s synths and catchy lyrics are scattered through every track. The opening song, “That Girl” gives us a glimpse into what the rest of the album will be; a pretty/emotional/fun look at love. These two are far from the train track thud of 2007’s “Back In Your Head.”
There’s no doubt that NJ is at the top of his game in 2016. He’s currently on a mega-tour with pop sensation and BFF, Demi Lovato, and just released one of his most honest and experimental albums to date, Last Year Was Complicated. This album has it all, the sappy songs (listen to the emotionally charged “Chainsaw”), some pop/dance anthems (the sizzling “Bacon” feat. Ty Dolla $ign and the sultry “Under You”), and some R&B feelers (check out the beautifully layered “Comfortable”) His falsetto is better than ever, and so is his musicality. Jonas is everything pop music needs at the moment.
Discography: Debut album; Trapsoul released Oct. 1 2015
If you’ve seen Kylie Jenner’s quick Snapchat vids of her lip-syncing lately, it’s probably to a Bryson Tiller song. I looked him up and fell in love. Hot damn, Tiller can SING.
He has perfected R&B with subtle rap and hip-hop elements making Trapsoul the perfect soundtrack to your love life. Each song is just as sultry as the next; keeping a mellow vibe. “So gimme all of you in exchange for me, just give me all of you in exchange for me, for me,” Tiller croons on “Exchange.” He blends poetic melodies with explicit rap content in a way that makes you appreciate rap as musical art. The swearing is subtle and adds a slight edge to his music.
Standout track, “Don’t” starts out with a spooky intro, then the bass kicks in as Tiller sweetly sings, “Don’t, don’t play with her don’t be dishonest.” The song talks about sweeping a girl off her feet and taking her away from the man who doesn’t treat her right. Ummmmm… yes please? Whether you’re enjoying a chill wine night at home or out on a fun date night, Bryson Tiller is the perfect sound.
As if we don’t have enough girl power in the music industry as it is, Tala releases an absolutely dope collab with fellow eclectic goth gal, Banks. “We still got each other, and I got your back…that’s why girl, you’re in my wolfpack.” Whether you’re trying to get some ex revenge or just block the haters, empowerment is the word that comes to mind when listening to this song. Banks brings her vocal trance-like magic to the electronically-infused chorus while Tala’s haunting voice trails through the verses making you wish you were in whatever cool-girl cult these two are in. While the lyrics lean more towards the pop side of town, borderline R&B sounds are sprinkled on every bad ass bass line, which makes it even more unique. I feel as though every female and male should be jamming to this song right now, because what’s not to love? We all could use a wolfpack.
Sometimes you just find music that completely speaks to you. That’s what it felt like when I found Ta-Ku. I was like ummmm, where have you been all my life? (stuffs chocolate and wine into my open mouth as I listen to Songs to Make Up To). It’s an eclectic mix that I’m sure only certain people are into but there’s one thing you can’t deny; it’s beauty. These are love songs and they are mind-blowingly good.
Ta-Ku is a musician from Perth, Australia. He started back in 2011 with an EP titled KT. His most recent album, Songs to Make Up To, serves almost as a sequel to Songs to Break Up To, which was released in 2013. When I heard these two, I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. The songs truly live up to the title in the craziest ways. Both keeping an electronic/R&B based sound with incredible musicality. Songs to Break Up To, could almost be playing in the background as a couple fights about how they don’t make time for each other anymore, or how he’s never home for dinner, or she’s always late. The intense musical elements spark visuals in your brain, almost as if you could create your own music video just from listening.
Songs to Make Up To, is even more delightful to listen to. The song names are a true indication of what magic is about to happen: “Hopeful”, “Love Again”, “Trust Me”, “Long Time, No See”, “Sunrise/Beautiful”, “Fall4You”, “Work In Progress”, and “Down For You”. Every song makes you think of beautiful things in life and that’s how they make you feel too.
One thing that makes Ta-Ku different is that his style is unpredictable, a song can shift into something completely separate from what you just heard and it still cohesively fits together somehow; it’s incredible. “Love Again” (Feat. JMSN & Sango) is a clear masterpiece off this album. Repetitive piano chords, intoxicating vocals, and a clap beat dances in your brain making you want to make up with someone, ANYONE. The song, spanning over 5 minutes is borderline heavenly. Not to mention, the dope hip-hop drag at the end making it a true Ta-Ku song. Most songs are led with no or minimal vocals and it totally works, which is a skill in itself.
Check out this live performance of “Love Again”:
The truth is, I have too many good things to say about Ta-Ku and the way he’s building his music. It’s intricate, intoxicating, powerful, and immensely captivating. Something every artist should be trying to achieve. Touché to you Ta-Ku. Cheers to being a delicious musical force.
The Weekend already proved he can woo the world with “Earned It” and make us dance with “Can’t Feel My Face” so why not add another notch to the belt? His first released collaboration off his upcoming album Beauty Behind the Madness (coming Aug. 28) is called “Prisoner” featuring the sultry queen herself, Lana Del Rey. The Weeknd’s falsetto takes the lead on the chorus as the verses serve to be a guide on how to love; “love will always be a lesson, lets get out of its way.” The powerful bass in this song drive it to be a definite R&B hit and Lana’s easy-going verse just adds to the sex appeal of the song. Abel swoons to the song admitting he’s a prisoner to love; something Lana Del Rey knows very well. The two compliment each other musically, lyrically, and aesthetically.