Comparison between Motown and Southern Soul music

Does one style sound more “polished” than the other? By “polished”, I mean having more controlled and structured complex arrangements

Motown style is more polished than stax. This is evident in the lyrics of the song “I’m losing you”. The song has more controlled and structured arrangements. At the beginning of the song, the singer expresses the overall message, “Your love is fading”. In the subsequent stanzas, the singer explains the signs which show him that her love is fading, and may end up losing her (The Temptations, 2007). Stax style is not more polished because it lacks controlled structure and arrangement. The song Respect by Aretha Franklin indicates lack of such arrangements (Franklin, 2011).

Does one group of artists look and act more “polished” then the other?

None of the two groups of artists looks or acts more “polished” than the other. Both are the same. For example, in the Motown “I’m losing you by the Teptations” and in the Stax “Respect by Aretha Franklin”, the singers incorporate other members who are dressed the same when performing. In addition, the members of each group use a certain move/dancing style. The members of each group participate by singing in certain sections of the song. These similarities show that none of the groups is more polished than the other (Franklin, 2011; The Tempations, 2007).

How is the instrumentation different?

Instrumentation differ between the two styles. For Motown, the instruments used are drum sets, guitars and pianos to bring out smooth, refined, pop sound. However, for stax style, trumpets are added to drum sets, guitars and pianos to produce the rawer, blues-gospel sound. A majority of the instruments used are similar but the sound required determines the preferred instrumentation (Franklin, 2011; The Tempations, 2007).

How are the singing styles different?

The Motown uses clean, crisp rhythms singing style while stax uses pulsating, “funky” rhythm singing styles. The singing styles closely rhyme with the beats of the song. For instance, in the song “respect”, movements are fast than in the song “I’m Losing You”.


Franklin A. (2011). Respect. Retrieved from

The Temptations (2007). I’m Losing You. Retrieved from

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