While it’s inarguable that in 2018, R&B music is one of the most commercially viable genres in the business, consistently providing artists and labels with lucrative returns regardless of other trends in pop culture. That’s largely because R&B plays such a big role in our modern pop culture that its influence precedes its marketability, resulting in a massive windfall of success for its established names and industry-accepted artists. On the flip side of the corporate interests, there’s never been more history-conscious talent in R&B than there is right now, thanks largely to a rejuvenated interest in the already widely exposed legends of its past. In this revival, we’re seeing a whole new strain of crooners and soul singers that embrace all of the illustrious harmonies of the old school yet fiercely slice their way through contemporary audio in a full-color high definition sound that’s enough to not just shake your speakers but your consciousness as a whole. One of the most exciting artists of this group is Edenn, a Paris-based singer and songwriter who currently has critics abuzz from one side of the Atlantic to the other with his debut single “Thinking,” out now everywhere that fine independent music and related media is sold.
When we get down to basics, the hallmark of a solid gold R&B release is in its smooth delivery of rhythm while retaining a swaggering boisterousness of blues music. “Thinking” is built around an ominous beat that breaks away from the silence like a hot knife through butter, but there’s a smooth, velvet-like quality to Edenn’s vocal track in the song that helps tremendously to soften any of the sonically rough edges around the perimeter. I can easily see this being a great club track just as easily as it is a chill, relaxed listen on its own, thanks mostly to that beat that is equal parts adrenaline and reflection in intriguing mashup of post-millennial electronic influences. It’s impossible to know for certain how many miles we’ll still be able to get out of R&B as a whole in the next decade as genres and styles continue to merge and birth new hybrids, but it’s obvious now, to me at least, that artists blending tradition with feverishly different, almost abstract accentuations, are going to be at the core of the R&B that does survive in the 2020’s and beyond. Even though this is only his first release, Edenn makes a great argument as to why he should be considered one of the bigger players in this game and alludes to just how much potential he really could have if given the right forum to exercise his craft and spread his wings out completely.
If we’re fortunate, it won’t be long before Edenn drops a full-length album for us to decipher further and get an even better idea about what his artistic identity truly consists of. If “Thinking” is just a taste, I think the majority of us would agree that we’re going to be needing to hear a lot more from this aspiring young popstar.