Category Archives: Music

Today’s Word is… FOUR

“Can’t turn a bad girl good but once a good girl’s gone bad; she’s gone forever, I’ll mourn forever, got to live with the fact I did you wrong forever” 

That was the realest shit I ever heard. I was only like 13 tho.  Even into my early 20s, “Song Cry”  was my heartbreak remedy.  I didn’t need begging R&B records, Uncle Hov said aye sometimes things break bad, you just got to accept the L and move on.  There wasn’t much personal accountability, it was I KNOW I’m flawed, but you were the best part of us, but now you’re as messed up as me.  How disappointing…welp. New steak, who this.  (issa callback).  Sometimes the villain wins, so yada yada yada Jay ends up with the biggest superstar in the world, lord knows what happened to the Song Cry jawn.  Fast forward to 2017, Jay is once again making the song cry… Except he is crying, and apologizing to himself, to his wife, to his kids, to his sister in law, to the nigga he stabbed, (not to Kanye, Dame, Foxy, or Beanie tho ) and even to me, the youth who fell in love with Jay Z. “Forever macking” Jigga was long gone, this was full blown Uncle Hov, humbled.   Of course, we get older we mature (And sure it took until he was the same age Barack Obama was when he was elected, but hey.) but ultimately, Jay was humbled by what humbles many men, heartbreak and fatherhood.  And sure being beat up in an elevator and being branded a cheater in front of the whole world helps too. 

The humility of heartbreak, actual heartbreak, not you gave your situationship an ultimatum only to learn you didn’t matter that much or your #WCW just doesn’t look at you that way, makes you take a hard look at yourself.  Someone who you thought would love you forever is done with you.  Heartbreak that “Song Cry” or a trip out of town for a few days can’t fix.  I’ve “loved” and lost, went through the motions of someone with a broken heart but in hindsight, my ego was just bruised.   I don’t date exes as a general policy, but maybe I just didn’t love them enough to really earn them back.  Far as I was concerned, they just went bad.  I’ve loved and lost, and it gets to me sometimes. Not just the humbling of being heartbroken but the humbling of being so wrong that I had to teach myself how to trust myself again.  That good girls weren’t just going bad, they were just over me.  Still wondering if it’s even possible to love me forever, am I always just going to burn hot and quick like a supernova.  It took Jay damn near 5 decades to figure out his flaws, what if I’m still blind to mine?  Jay and Bey got a happy ending, but they’re the exception, not the rule.  

The humility of fatherhood, of which I can only speak on as a spectator.  Jay Z who coming up was as chauvinist as he was clever is now close to breaking at the thought of having to explain himself to his children one day.  Most men have a fear their child will grow up and learn they ain’t shit.  Kids are unfiltered too, they go to school and tell all their friends you ain’t got no job and 3 roommates.  I think about my brother, who spent his last on my niece’s gift because *redacted family business* was worth not disappointing her.  I see my cousin at a cookout,  someone who one day *more redacted family business* and now is giving instructions on watching his daughter when all he was doing was going upstairs to shower for 30 minutes.  They are probably more daughter dads as their kids are daddy’s girls.  They make them want to be better men.  

The irony in a girl being born with the burden of a man’s emotional maturity; from her father to the ones she love to the son she may have.  It’s how Jay can say with a straight face that woman 12 years his junior matured faster than him, Kanye’s mother has been gone for a decade and we still blame her for not being around to check him.  Women are simply held to a higher standard, expected to take on a project and just hold on for dear life and hope it works out.  

 I’m not in the clear myself, the man I’ve become and continue to be also came on the backs of the women in my pasts’ emotional labor.  I’ve toyed with emotions, kept people around, tested the limits of their patience.  There was a time that’s where I got my confidence from; being loved, being wanted, even if I didn’t feel the same.  I’m still learning, still growing and I think I can figure it out before I’m 47. Maybe 30. 33?  Okay, at least before I’m somebody’s husband or father.  

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… VIEWS

So, I miss her.  

I miss her quirkiness, her creativity, our chemistry. 

I miss the way I was when she was in my life, I was excited, optimistic, ready to conquer the world.  She was my muse, my peace, my hope.

With every subtle reminder, every drop of alcohol that lands in the pit of my stomach, every moment alone, I want to plan a comeback.  I can surprise her somehow, maybe write her something from the heart, maybe this post, I mean she used to love my writing. If only I could remind her I used to mean as much to her as she me.

But what’s the point?  Maybe we can reconnect for a couple weeks, a few months, even a handful of days and while I would treasure every minute…it’d still be temporary….

I wrote that 2 years ago about someone.  2 months after that, I met someone I could write that  same thing about now.  2 years from now, I can…..well lets not put that in the universe.  As I roll over in an empty bed, I can sell myself on the fact that I’ve already lost the love of my life.  Nostalgia  never remembers the details,  just the feelings.  It’s the same reason people are still wasting their money to see Lauryn Hill perform an album she doesn’t have clearances for, or why Fuller House exists. 

This crossed my mind as I listened to Drake’s “Views“; wondering where was this dope album everyone else was hearing because this sounds like a half hearted sequel to his second best album.  Anyway, listening to Drake wail over tracks about women he wants everything except a relationship from, my main takeaway was; ego is a hell of a drug.  You love, you lose, you move on but ego….ego can’t take it lying down.  A recurring theme on Views, is the idea of loyalty, and Drake, like most niggas, wants stability and security of a relationship but without the whole commitment thing.  He’s not even talking about winning them back, doing better, it’s just blatant manipulation and guilt tripping because how dare they not take the raincheck of love he’s offering. Drake’s whole steez is finding women starving enough that his crumbs look like Thanksgiving.  He could have them if he so chose (because he actually wants someone he deems an equal); he merely wants them to never be over him. (Because a stripper should be grateful he is treating her like a human).  That is megalomania.  Over calypso beats. (Or as I call it Drakeggaeton)

Listening to Views and being so put off, I then had to look at the man in the mirror.   I’ve definitely used the “let’s just be friends” to carry on a one sided open relationship.  I’ve sabotaged ex’s new relationships, I may have literally quoted Hotline Bling to an ex (facetiously).  I’ve taken it personal when women decided they just can’t with me, when in reality one of us needed to pull off that band aid.  (Not like anyone goes anywhere when I do it anyway…but whatever I’LL be the bad guy).  Bringing it full circle, lately I find myself missing someone who frankly, doesn’t deserve me.  The temptation arises to try and fix things, tell myself its closure, tell myself I thought we were friends…but really her presence in my life would serve as nothing more than ego feeding.  Ego is a hell of a drug.

The way this life account is set up, you only get one.  You only need one.  Unless you bout #thatlife. I’m not. Looks exhausting.  As annoying as dating and searching is, its very convenient to just take oddments of affection from what you know already.   It’s even more convenient to offer it.  I can have my ego stroked by a bunch of maybes or be fulfilled having my one.  Perhaps a mix of both except Tequila might cut someone.  I’ll take the former.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… ADELE

[Editor’s Note: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW, I don’t know why people would want a review of an album 24 hours after its release, do you really need someone to tell you that you like it.. Or do you just want some talking points to sound smarter when you discuss it? Pewn Pewn, shots fired. And now for your featured presentation]

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So I listened to Adele’s new album.  I loved it.  Maybe even more than her previous ones.  (Not to say it’s better, 21 musically is absolutely stellar and the more superior album).  25 is a tale of reflection on the one that got away, unrequited love and “this is probably a bad idea but fuck it, I need this” sex…shit, that’s my life.   (I won’t touch A Million Years Ago, because I don’t appreciate Adele strumming my pain with her fingers, singing my life with her words, it was like how I imagine Ronda Rousey felt when she caught that kick to the dome… I knew it was coming but I didn’t know it was coming…damn you!) As I listen, with each track it sets in that maybe I’m actually the on the wrong side of these love songs.  When did I become the bad guy in this movie?  Is this what white people felt when they first heard To Pimp A Butterfly or Black on Both Sides?  It’s like being the person who watches Hannibal and is like, you know he isn’t that bad, technically he is just hunting meat that can talk.  Care and manipulation, killing then eating…isnt that where chicken comes from?  See…. I’m turning heel.  Total, help me sang.

I also listened to Bryson Tiller’s debut album. (Yes I’m using Adele and Bryson Tiller in the same breath, just rock with me for a second) When I was able to move past the fact “Trap Soul” is just an meaty oaker made genre for artists who don’t got enough bars to rap and don’t have the range for traditional R&B and gave the album a fair spin, I liked… the first 6 songs.  I’ll take the mediocre (yes I just used mediocre again in case someone didn’t get the joke and thought I was an imbecile) singing over those tired yell raps.  What I did come away with is… This is what the other side sounds like;   A man who gets jealous when she tries to move on, tries to win back her heart even though he has no intentions on doing something with it.  A man who would take that offer for “one night only” even though he knows damn well she isn’t really bout that life.   A man who doesn’t get his ego stroked by his conquests but rather how sprung he can get her.  Shit… Am I that guy? 

Yes. Of course not.  Depends who you ask.  Look she grown she should know better. God ain’t thru with me yet.  The correct answer is that I was.  Without googling I can say Bryson Tiller has to be under 25, because that’s how an under 25 year old would do things.  (When you get over 30 then you can just say it’s sex addiction,  shoutout Eric Benet.)  I’m closer to Adele’s age than Bryson’s, closer to the antagonist in Adele’s songs than the protagonist in his.  I would’ve said Adele is doing it to herself,  but now I can say… You know what, I get it.  Growth and shit. 

As with most double standards, the same way no one wants to heat white people’s hurt feelings over the #inward, the one on the other end of the love song is the villain.  No matter how good you think you’ve elucidated or how logical your argument… If you’re the one breaking the heart it’s your fault.   I bet  Adele’s ex is somewhere like, yo but SHE ASKED to come over and SHE made the first move….. Been there bruh, been there. 

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… ARENBEE

I had to Musiq Soulchild it,  it’s been like 3 years why break format?  Anyway,  growing up I was a big R&B fan.  By default really, I had no music of my own so I borrowed my parents cassettes (omg am I old now?) and my sister’s CDs.   (My 7 year old nephew uses  Spotify…. kids these days, okay maybe I am old).   I’m not one of the super nostalgic types, while I can listen to 90s R&B and engage in online debate for  several productive work hours,  I’m also able to listen and enjoy current music.   It seems like ever since Nas declared hip hop dead and proceeded to make a mediocre album to serve as a eulogy,  the line in the sand was drawn and now with social media to echo bitterness no one seems to like…. Anything. Ironically,  as we have more access to music than ever before,  people still live in the past,  listening to 90s R&B and telling kids to get off the lawn. It’s perplexing to pay $10 a month for a streaming service and only listen to music you purchased 20 years ago.   But hey, not my ears.   As someone who chooses to live in the now,  I’ve just come to accept that R&B has been…. sundered.  In every era,  there was one dominant sound whether it was doo wop,  electropop, or new jack swing and slow jams.  This era is a bit more scattered.  For example there’s….

R&Buckfoy- This is probably the one that history will sadly label the era as a whole.   Dudes are too tough to love,  women are just hoes,  bitches and thots anyway.   Popular with the League of Ash-assins and dudes who never got hugs in high school.

Ex: Some dude who isn’t Chris Brown & French Montana -Can’t Trust Thots

PBR&B- or Alternative R&B,  will be the other label that would be used to describe this era of music 20 years from now.  A break from the previous era where the stars were confident heartthrobs, now are much more weird and vulnerable.  

Ex: The Weeknd weeknds Drunk In Love

R&ebriated- Artists these days do love….. Being drunk. A growing trend to sing the praises of alcohol that doesn’t pay you to do so.  *Insert Kermit Meme*

Ex: Elijah Blake x I Just Wanna

R&Biguous- Like in the early 2000s when every pretty brown skinned girl with a 24 inch sew in got a record deal,  these days it’s racially ambiguous girl next door types.   Unfortunately not much different from the Ashantis,  Brooke Valentines, Ameries,  Niveas,  this pretty faces don’t carry much of a tune either

Ex: Jhene Aiko – You Vs Them

Hard&B- A confusing bunch,  they can sing but think singing is soft so they try to over compensate their street cred.  It didn’t feel forced when Nate Dogg did it but then you see like a Chris Brown do it and it’s like,  cmon bruh.

Ex: Pictures say a thousand words

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You're singing a duet with Aaliyah fam

Slur&B- It’s not really singing you’re just kinda dragging your voice over music that sounds like a water level in Super Mario Bros.  This Drake’s fault.

Ex: Post Malone – White Iverson

White&B- aka Blue Eyed Soul or as I like to call #SneakyAthletic R&B,  is some of your typical R&B except because it’s a white man singing it, it’s much more popular.   It’s why Tank got lawn furniture in his living room and Sam Smith has Grammys in his. No shade tho,  it’s probably my favorite playlist on Spotify

Ex JMSN- Street Sweeper

R&Barz- Only way to describe whatever it is when people are basically singing rap lyrics over club beats

Ex Trap Queen… I refuse to make a link for it cuz I’m so tired of that damn song

R&90s- For those who can’t get with the new new, plenty of their favorite artists are still kicking…..except they’re still doing the same thing they were doing 20 years ago. 

Ex: Toni Braxton & Babyface – Roller Coaster

Then of course,  there’s Neo Soul,  but they saw the storm cloud and hopped on their lifeboat a decade ago.   They long gave up chasing hits and selling their souls to sell records (sideeyes Usher),  they have their fan bases and will shut down a House of Blues in a second.

So what happened to the R&B we knew and loved?   It still exists but to my point about neo soul it’s much more of a niche genre.  Art reflects the times,  and really,  people just find love boring.   Sure, a good breakup song will get some spins but a song like All of Me is a rare exception (because people love they ass some Chrissy). Also, society as a whole has become increasingly narcissistic, songs are no longer about being vulnerable and wooing a woman,  it’s more I know you want me so just pull em to the side.   Then of course,  there’s just a lack of appreciation for greatness…..but that’s another post entirely. Maybe.  If I get around to it.  I’m busy.

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