I’m getting to this weird point in my life where I enjoy classic soul and old school R&B more than I like classic rock. This is really odd because before like my sophomore year of college, classic rock was all I listened to. I’m not sure what it is, but the emotions and passion in old soul music just seems so much rawer and more authentic than classic rock which has become increasingly pandering as I’ve gotten older. I’m not dissing the all-time greats like the Beatles or the Stones or Dylan or Simon & Garfunkel. There’s just a lot of so-so music that I really enjoyed when I was younger primarily because I thought I was supposed to like it. There’s a line in last year’s under-rated gem of a film, Beginners, where Ewan McGregor’s mother tells him as a child that black music is better because African American artists at the time experienced more pain and suffering than their white counterparts. It’s not the most politically correct thing to say, but it’s kind of true. There’s a wounded edge to this music that speaks to the injustice and institutional repression that was the African-American experience in the 60s and 70s. They were also incredible musicians which I don’t think gets recognized enough. I’m going with “Family Affair” by Sly & the Family Stone, off their classic LP There’s a Riot Goin’ On, because it’s one of the greatest soul/funk songs ever recorded. Period.

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