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Why R U (So Underrated?)

September 3, 2010

I’d like to think that, with regards to music, the music buying audience almost never gets it right.  I am a strong believer that the fanbase in underground music culture, while minimal in numbers, is the most loyal audience an artist can have.  However, with artists strictly hoping to make it work in the mainstream market, once an audience doesn’t like you or your work, they are increasingly likely to dismiss all your subsequent releases.

Case in point, Amerie (or Ameriie, as she has now renamed herself).  Her first album was embraced by R&B lovers and spawned two semi-hits but the album and her buzz remained relatively luke warm until she dropped “1 Thing” which propelled her to “hit” status.  The track was aggressive and heavy on the instruments and it was different for a mainstream audience that was used to Neptunes’ beats and Timbaland-type electronica.  However, when her next single didn’t catch on, the audience abandoned her.  She hasn’t had a hit nearly as big since.

However, Ameriie’s best work has been released in the wake of the album that spawned “1 Thing.”  Her follow up album which was released only overseas saw her continue her own brand of Funk-n-B, and the foreign market ate up it.  The USA dumped it like veggies on a 2-year-old’s dinner plate.  Her last album, In Love & War, was perhaps one of the strongest R&B albums of the year.  The singles failed to impact though.

I’ve simply come to the conclusion that America can’t get it right.  It seems like the US simply can’t digest more than one “hot” thing at a time.  With Beyonce and Lady Gaga holding down the R&B/Pop arenas successfully, Americans can’t let another artist be successful.  Indie artists are really the most consistent celebrities.  They grab an audience and push consistent sales, although they fall tragically short to the hundred of thousands a mainstream artist can push in a week of disribution.  At this point, in a time when Rihanna (as popular as she is) can’t push platinum status, I’d happily sit with the underground/indie crowd.

Check out a hot track from In Love & War called “The Flowers” below:

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