There’s a bit of a crisis going on in pop music right now. For the first time in a century, the amount of talented, radio worthy recordings is outnumbering our society’s capacity for entertainment consumption. What that means is that there’s more competition than ever between artists vying not just for your money but even for your attention, as content has shifted out of record stores and into online digital downloading and streaming websites. There’s so much to choose from and so many copycats and unoriginal acts just looking to cash in on the success of other more accomplished artists putting in the hours under pressure, when it’s the toughest to keep your head above water. But somehow amidst all of the discord and rivalries, multimedia mogul Eden is standing out to many of us as one of the brightest shooting stars to follow right now, and it’s probably not even for the reasons that you might expect.
While his debut track “Thinking” is everything that traditional R&B fans look for when they’re shopping around for sexy slow jams to celebrate love and life, it’s the fact that the indie rock crowd is taking such a shine to this song that is truly worth talking about. Nobody in hip-hop or R&B cares about crossover appeal anymore, and if they do, they sure have a funny way of showing it. I say that because so many of the biggest names in R&B have made a decidedly ignorant decision to only record with artists and producers that are operating with the same mindset that they themselves are. Where’s the fun or the intrigue in doing that? That’s not only counterproductive to the growth of pop music on a larger scale, but it’s flat out dangerous to influence young artists with that kind of lazy, self-serving work ethic that never accomplished anything for any artist anywhere in history. Of course the big label cats don’t have any shame in this because they’re blinded by greed, but it’s when blue collar, real article ballers like Edenn come around that they get nervous about their spot in the food chain. And, truthfully, their intimidation is for good reason – Edenn stands to take a big chunk out of their fan base and their sales numbers. If someone with a better, more diversified skillset was gaining on me at my job, I’d be a little scared too.
I’m sure not everyone will agree with me that “Thinking” will have as much of an impact as I believe it will if American college radio keeps it spinning for the rest of the year, but I’d ask them to just settle down and see what happens for themselves. After all, it’s up to each one of us to determine what “good” art really is. Not the labels, not the promoters, not Ticketmaster, and certainly not MTV or VH1. Artists are taking control of their career paths, and maybe the audience should start doing the same on their end of things.