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MUSIC: “That’s The Way Love Goes” – End of Summer Celebration of ’90s Slow Jams (LISTEN)

Written by Good Black News

September 4, 2020

by Jeff Meier (FB: Jeff.Meier.90)

As we head into Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial end of Summer, it’s one more chance to relax a little amidst such a stressful year for so many of us.

We’ve had such a great reaction here at Good Black News to so many of our Spotify playlists, including our decade-spanning slow jam playlists that we made for the ‘70s (Ultimate ‘70s Slow Jam Summer) and the ‘80s (Ultimate ‘80s Champagne Slow Jams).

So it only made sense, in time for the long weekend, to unveil our playlist of slow jam faves from the ‘90s – entitled Ultimate ‘90s Sunset Slow Jams, available at this link here, and of course you can listen to or access below. All you ‘90s soul music fans, it’s time to favorite this playlist and represent!

Open in Spotify

R&B music in the ‘90s underwent a true sea change that had been slowly building up through the prior decade. If ‘80s slow jams were the sound of lushly-produced, upscale elegance via superstar duets from well-dressed veteran singers, the ‘90s tossed a lot of that in the rearview mirror. 

In fact, of the top 20 artists on the Billboard R&B charts in the 1980s, only two of them (Prince and Luther Vandross) ranked in the Top 20 in the 1990s, both substantially lower on the list.

Gone from the upper ranks were such veteran artists as Aretha Franklin, Stephanie Mills, Melba Moore, Diana Ross, Freddie Jackson, Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osborne, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Atlantic Starr and Kool & the Gang.  In their place arrived fresh faces such as Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Keith Sweat, TLC, Mariah Carey, En Vogue, Jodeci, Brandy, SWV and Toni Braxton.

Hip hop had been slowly bubbling up as a culture throughout the 1980s, but by the 1990s, it emerged full force as a new generation and sound – not just influencing rap music itself, but generating a rawer and more youthful approach to slow jam balladry too.

The ‘90s were a decade that revived the old doo wop traditions of the group of a few guys (or girls).  While in the ‘50s or early ‘60s, the image would have been of a group of guys gathered on a street corner or at a barbershop.

In the ‘90s, the concept was the same, but the imagery now featured teens in hip hop track suits gathered on playgrounds. From big hitmakers like Boyz II Men and TLC to one-album wonders like Az Yet, All-4-One, Portrait, Allure, Intro, Next, Shai, Brownstone and Jade, we’ve got a wide array of these groups on our list.

Hip hop’s reverence for classic funk beats also helped bring about a neo-soul movement that harkened back to the sparer and more authentic instrumentation of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.  Artists like Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Tony! Toni! Tone!, D’Angelo and Les Nubians all fulfilled this excitement for throwback vibes with a new twist.

This level of experimentation also extended to welcoming new sounds from British soul as well as cool beats from around the world. Look for George Michael, Lisa Stansfield, Des’ree, Sade, Sweetback, Omar and more on the playlist as well.

For those who did still like the ‘80s lush elegance, there was a new younger purveyor in town by the name of Babyface – who not only performed his own hits, but also introduced the world to Toni Braxton and After 7, and wrote and produced one of the movie soundtracks of the decade, the all-female sung masterpiece release for Waiting To Exhale (many songs of which are featured on our playlist).

As we’ve done with our ‘80s playlist, we’ve ended our ‘90s playlist with songs that inspire, both from mainstream and gospel artists. The ‘90s were the decade that the Winans family hit the charts, along with Yolanda Adams, bringing gospel music even more into mainstream R&B music, a movement that culminated with yet another movie (also starring Whitney Houston), “The Preacher’s Wife.

What were you doing in the ‘90s during the heyday of all these great songs? Let us take you back to sunset strolls along the boardwalk, hanging out in the park or slow dancing in the clubs.

This weekend, whether you are lounging by the pool or BBQ or just cleaning up the house with the AC and stereo blasting, take a trip back through memory lane – ’90s edition, with our non-stop, all-day playlist – and let us know what you think!

Original article source: | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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