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destiny's child

In these dark times of pop music, two of R&B’s seminal masterminds have emerged from the shadows and injected a little class into America’s pop lexicon. New singles from two of the most commercially successful acts in recent memory, Destiny’s Child and Justin Timberlake are backed by production from Pharrell and Timbaland respectively, and rather than buckling to the “EDM”-tainted sound that characterizes most of today’s radio smashes, both producers provide soulful, gritty pieces of future-oriented revivalism that make me smile.

As a genre, R&B possesses a futurism that is firmly rooted in music tradition, one of the traits that make it so critically satisfying. Old soul samples are juxtaposed against contemporary crooning, making for a rich listening experience that appeals to people young and old. In the world of half-assed electro house beats and Jason Derulo, that populist appeal is smothered by a digital sheen; cheap thrills take the place of musicality in a more traditional sense. 2013’s first two big budget singles utterly abandon the oppressive polish of the pop output of the past few years and bring back the realness. A sexy swing knocks the barrage of over-compressed kick drums out of the spotlight and I think the world is a slightly better place as a result.

Hit the jump for the full review…

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