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Stacia L. Brown

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5 Contemporary Soul Cyranos

Posted: 01/31/2012 4:10 pm

So many of us are drawn to the strong silent type. But sometimes, brothers can be a little too silent. And if this inability or unwillingness to engage in open dialogue about critical issues comes at a crossroad in your relationship, the silence is more than uncomfortable. It's downright alienating.

The answer to this is simple: fill the silence with music. You'd be surprised at how far the right song bt the right musician can go toward mediating your relationship woes.

Male soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists have long served as Cyranos for brothers who can't seem to express the right sentiments without digging a deeper hole, adding days to their doghouse stint or racking up more nights of couch-slumber.

We've hand-picked a few recent songs by contemporary artists that are certain to help out all of you silent types. If things are a little too far gone, you might wanna invest in a boombox and trench coat and cue one of these up, black Lloyd Dobler-style, to either woo your way back into your love's good graces or to tell her exactly why it's over:

1. Anthony Hamilton - "Back to Love"


Anthony Hamilton is like the Patron Saint of Love-on-a-Budget and Heartfelt Apology. Seriously. If you're trying to get someone back or you're contending for the survival of romance-without-finance, this is your guy. Take the opening lines of the title track from his new album: "I was stupid. Really stupid./Something told me deep inside, "Bet' not do it./What a dummy. Such a dummy/to let some mess I shouldn't-a did take you from me." It's simple. It's straight-forward. It'll get you back in.

2. Bilal - "Think It Over"

Bilal has been speaking to complicated relationship issues since the start of his career. "Sometimes," a rant-laced track from his debut album, 1st Born Second, became an immediate anthem for men who didn't quite know how to articulate the sentiment: "You take that complaining sh-- waaaaay too far. I thought it was cute in the beginning but now, I think: you only do it 'cause you know I hate it, sometimes."

Last week, he released an acoustic version of "Think It Over," from his most recent project, Airtight's Revenge. If you're counting on this song to express how you feel, you'll want to go with this version. There's something about the following pitch-perfect lines that plays far better acoustically: "Thought we was gonna be forever/like King and Coretta, thought we could change the world/but I needed air. So I stepped out/on the balcony/and the world took me out."

3. Phonte/Foreign Exchange/Little Brother - Take your pick, really.

Singer/lyricist Phonte has a very precise handle on how to articulate the many nuances of romantic relationships. From Little Brother's "Slow It Down" to Foreign Exchange's "Valediction" to the track above, "Ball and Chain," from his solo project, Phonte knows how to breathe new life into the term "love-hate relationship." Consider these lines from the opening verse of "Ball and Chain": "She licks my wounds... then cuts me deep/She tells me stay... then plans to leave./She is my cure--and my disease." By the time he's wondering when her anchor became a ball and chain in the hook, you're ready to hire him to just follow you around, "sing-splaining" everything that's wrong with your love life.

4. Fred Hammond - "My Lady and Myself"

Veteran gospel artist Fred Hammond may seem an unlikely Cyrano for those in a troubled relationship, but his new double-disc project, God, Love, and Romance places a lot of focus on what's wrong--and right--about our approach to love. In "My Lady and Myself," he captures a sentiment you just don't find too many gospel artist willing to articulate: "This car's grown cold I'm sitting in/It's getting late; I should go in/But my hands and head still lay here on the wheel./Two men exist inside of me; one says stay and one says leave/Does anybody know just how I feel?"

5. Musiq - "Yes"

Like Anthony Hamilton, Musiq has his finger on the pulse of the love-through-hardship sub-genre. As the newly named Ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Circle of Promise, a movement designed to further engage black women around the globe in the fight against breast cancer, he's in a far more unique position to help those grappling with the illness of a partner express their intention to be loving and supportive.

Who's your go-to Soul Cyrano?

 

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