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PBR&B Ten Pack

A primer of genre-bender records combining R&B with an indie affect.

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The Weeknd
House of Balloons
No other act has so precisely split the difference between a cool-hunting hipster aesthetic and the cool of R&B. This much-hyped mixtape is full of moody, depressive tracks and samples of arty staples like Siouxsie & the Banshees.
Listen to the full album here.





Marques Toliver
“Deep in My Heart”
The music coming from Toliver and his violin is classicist pop, but there’s a big, compelling streak of gospel in his voice, too.
Listen to the full album here.






How to Dress Well
Love Remains
This album sounds more like R&B for sexless ghosts—a graduate student, alone at his computer, submerging his songs in forbidding amounts of static and echo.
Listen to the full album here.






Frank Ocean
Nostalgia, Ultra
After writing for Justin Bieber and Brandy, Ocean gave away this pop record in the form of a druggy, low-budget bedroom confessional (replete with pop-rock samples and a Radiohead-related interlude) on his Tumblr.
Listen to the full album here.



White Hinterland
“Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of dem Days)”
For some indie acts, like White Hinterland and the xx, R&B influences tend to come out in the form of covers—like this cozy take on an old Monica single.
Listen to the full album here.






Blood Orange
“Dinner”
After a few years spent in rock and pop bands, British songwriter Devonté Hynes has drifted into making new-wave soul as Blood Orange—and collaborating with fellow travelers like Theophilus London.
Listen to the full album here.





Janelle Monáe
The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)
Monáe is a traditionally talented R&B singer, but her theatrical concepts and auteurish vision have made her a favorite among people who’d normally dig rock acts.
Listen to the full album here.






Solange Knowles
“Stillness Is the Move”
A terrific cross-genre handoff. The original, by experimentalists Dirty Projectors, had a rock band leaning toward R&B; this version has Solange (sister of Beyoncé) leaning in the other direction to meet it.
Listen to the full album here.






jj feat. Ne-Yo
“We Can’t Stop”
This Swedish group likes making a slurry, sugary haze of R&B tropes, and this collaboration lets them do it with an actual chart-topping American star.
Listen to the full album here.






J*Davey
“Mr. Mister”
The L.A. duo J*Davey is just one of many acts on the oddball fringes of modern R&B—making the stuff with the same eclectic, anything-goes flair that marks the genre’s best years.


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