Written by Parys Wyatt
I know it’s only my first day out here, but I have a confession to make. R&B and Neo-Soul are two genres I can never seem to get enough of. I’m not exactly sure what the gravitational pull is for me. While all genres have the potential to be intimate in one way or another, something about the R&B/Neo-Soul realm makes me feel up-close, personal, and cozy with the artist and their work. I would even go so far as to say that, here in my tiny corner of the internet, the only thing better than R&B and Neo-Soul is Indie R&B and Neo-Soul. Yeah, I said it. Indie R&B/Neo-Soul is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get (or whatever Forrest Gump said). Keep in mind that we’re going to go through the following songs in the order that I felt hit the best, kind of like a mini playlist.
In this episode’s song list, Cal Maro starts us off with a smooth (maybe too smooth?) bare bones version of his song, Juliet. I feel like every now and then, an artist reminds me how far a few chords can go, and Cal Maro does just that with this song. With Juliet, he gives us the soft and simple side of Indie R&B. It’s sentimental, but also calming and contemplative. And if you’re anything like me, you can appreciate those in-your-own-head moments.
Our next song, Whisper My Name by Adeline is a complete vibe shift from the first song on our list. Y’all.. Whenever outside opens back up, I definitely would like to make the move to see this song performed live. Adeline’s accompaniment comes in strong with a vibrant and seductive intro –– a vibe that is maintained throughout the entire song. With Whisper My Name, Adeline gives us the energetic side of Indie R&B; a side I feel like a lot of people forget about when they think of the genre. For those that automatically think of slow jams when they hear of Indie R&B/Neo-Soul, Adeline encourages them to think again.
Orange Lake brings us back into our consciences with their daydream of a song, entitled, In My Mind. As you can probably guess by the title, In My Mind is purely introspective. This song honestly feels like someone’s journal was put to a beat. It talks about the difficulties behind just trying to decide what works best for you, and determining which direction to take. This is a sentiment that many can relate to, especially those of us that are still in the process of laying the foundation for the kind of future we want for ourselves.
Upcoming on our list is Halfway Love by Glasstempo and Ayelle. It has an energy similar to that of Cal Maro’s Juliet, but if Juliet is the “I’m waiting on you, the ball is in your court” message, then Halfway Love is the “jk nvm I’m actually tired.” (Something about this unintentional narrative progression within this mini list is really doing it for me.) In addition to its free-flowing melodies, Halfway Love gives us even more with a beautiful slo-mo break in its ending. I always love when songs do this because it’s unexpected, and it kind of changes how the song as a whole feels. It adds more drama, and I love it.
Our last song is Mara TK’s Met at the River, featuring Xenia Menasseh. This piece felt like the perfect send-off for our mini-list. The song itself is an adventure, and with its experimental sounds, you really have no choice but to light some sage and jam with it. I wish I could add GIFs in this article because it would honestly get a chef’s kiss. Between the duet’s vocals, the piano, and the mid-song switchup, this piece is a moment. It gives you that little break from reality, which is always necessary, but especially now.
What I love about all the songs on this episode’s list is that they provide a very fresh experience, and that’s exactly how Indie R&B/Neo-Soul should be! Check these songs out for yourself below: