New Wave

A brief evolution of white people music as the 70s turned into the 80s:

  • Punk—We only know four notes on our instruments, and we don’t know how to write a tune.
  • New Wave—We only know four notes on our instruments, but we’ve learned how to write a tune.
  • Techno Pop—Thanks to synthesizers, we never had to learn to play any instruments. But boy can we write a tune!

It’s been all downhill from there.

New Wave AllMusic page

New Orleans R&B

This list came about a bit by accident. When I researching New Orleans brass bands for last Friday’s list, I realized that there is a separate, distinct New Orleans R&B genre. So you can indirectly thank Trombone Shorty for this one. (Not that I am trying to earn brownie points. Really.)

New Orleans R&B AllMusic page

New Orleans Brass

This one’s a bit of a cheat, because it includes Trombone Shorty, who’s very much a post-2000 artist. I’m letting him in because 1) Daveon and I saw him in SF on New Year’s Eve, and the show was blow-off-the-roof awesome; 2) the two of them have the same birthday; and 3) he (Trombone Shorty, not Daveon) is carrying on a tradition that dates well back into the 19th century. I am not including him because I hope he will invite me down to New Orleans to hang out with him and his friends. Nope. Not at all.

New Orleans Brass AllMusic page

New Jack Swing

Once upon a time, kids, R&B music was all about the beat. And no beat was beat-ier than the glory that was New Jack Swing.

New Jack Swing AllMusic page


Apparently the requirements for being a 90s neo-soul singer were: 1) Have large/great hair; 2) Bust out with a critically acclaimed, massive selling debut album; 3) Promptly disappear for many years before releasing your follow-up. Clearly D’Angelo spent all that time perfecting his body for the “Untitled” video. Not sure what everyone else’s excuse was.

Neo-Soul AllMusic page

Neil Young

Given their shared Canadian-ness, childhood bouts of polio, and musical restlessness, I’m tempted to call Neil Young the male Joni Mitchell. But he doesn’t seem like he has much sense of humor, so maybe I’ll rethink that. Bonus points for the annual Bridge School Benefit, which raises money for an organization serving individuals with severe speech and physical impairments. Even more bonus points for putting up with Crosby, Stills, & Nash for so many years.

Neil Young AllMusic page

Native Tongues

They started out all peace-n-love, but pretty soon De La Soul decided they were thugs and Q-Tip did a video that was basically four minutes of watching a woman’s a** shake. Oh, and they all fought and decided they weren’t friends anymore. How did we get from “Potholes on My Lawn” to all that?

A Tribe Called Quest AllMusic page

Black Sheep AllMusic page

De La Soul AllMusic page

Jungle Brothers AllMusic page