MN Year In Review: The Best Love Songs Of 2012

December 21, 2012  |  

Though love songs these days don’t quite sound like they used to, it doesn’t mean the genre has died altogether. In fact, 2012 was a good year for love songs; check out some of our favorites and let us know if you agree.

You & I

Avant & KeKe Wyatt

The Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duo for the millennium reunited for their first collaboration since “Nothing In This World,” which was released and “Six Questions,” a song from 2006 which appeared on one of KeKe’s shelved albums. And though both KeKe and Avant have gotten older, it’s clear that they’ve still got it. This duet, despite the lackluster video, is exactly what the game has been missing, since they stopped singing together.

Climax

Usher

It might be easy to think it’s about time to write Usher off; and though he’s not on his Confessions level; when it comes to coming up with creative panty droppers, he still produces. Everyone from teenaged girls to menopausal women were feeling “Climax.” And while many thought it was a sexual reference, Usher has explained that it’s about reaching the hight point of a relationship and realizing it’s only downhill from there.

4AM

Melanie Fiona

I have to be honest when I say this song is not exactly my favorite from Melanie Fiona, but I know how strongly so many people feel about it, so I figured maybe they’ve seen something I’ve missed. Plus, there’s nothing like a song that tells a great story. And in this song, the desperation in Melanie’s voice lets you know that she’s going through it.

Adorn

Miguel

I can’t tell you the number of times, I’ve been walking outside, on the street, when I’d hear a car bumping the mess out of this song. The beauty of this song is that it’s versatile. It’s appropriate in private, more sensual environments as well as public settings when you’re trying to two step to that sick bass line. It’s a beautiful song that knocks. And people received it…very well. Charlemagne from the Breakfast Club called it the best love song of the year. I don’t know if it’s the absolute best, but it most certainly deserves a spot on the list.

Wildest Dreams

Brandy

Just when some had written Brandy off as a type of has been, she comes out with Two Eleven and shocked a couple of folk. The album is a mixture of the familiar Brandy we remember from the ’90’s, yet it’s clear her music and her voice has matured nicely. Naturally, there are a few love songs on the album, including an ode to music; but I prefer this one, because it feels like a diary entry. It’s clear she wrote this from a very genuine place. Women who’ve been hurt before finding their true loves can surely relate to it.

Dive

Usher

I had to put Usher on here twice because while I know the ladies love to love “Climax,” “Dive” is the better song to me, so that’s why it’s here. On a happier note than “Climax,” “Dive” explores the hesitation some of us feel jumping into a new relationship, and then eventually learning that’s the move we want/need to make. Not only is it a good story, I love that we get to experience the depth of Usher’s vocal range. Then the cherry on top, came with a beautiful video featuring Chanel Iman.

Losing You

Solange

This song is hard to quite put your finger on. On one hand, the music is slow and pensive, but it’s contrasted with clapping and party sounds. Solange is singing kind of fast but she talking about coming to the realization that she and her man’s relationship is coming to a painful, yet inevitable end. She’s frolicking around in the video but during the bridge it’s almost like she’s pleading: “baby, you know I triiiied… can’t lose you from my liiiife.” That’s what I dig about the song, it’s honest. Sometimes when a relationship is ending, you don’t know whether you want to celebrate or mourn. 

Refill

Elle Varner

While this song can get real annoying when you’re riding around in a car full of off-pitch women, screaming at the top of their lungs; the original version, sung by Elle Varner herself, is a good one…a great one. What a great concept, asking or begging for a second dose from a man you just can’t get enough of. It’s about that sweet, sweet infatuation phase. From the first time I heard it, I not only liked Elle’s voice but also the fact that musically she took a risk mixing that fiddly, Bluegrass sound with the Urban 808s. It makes for a good song to bust out your best slow dougie. 

Beautiful Surprise

Tamia

I just love Tamia’s voice and will always root for to win. She took us back to that old school R&B sound with this ode to the man who can still manage to surprise her, despite the fact that they’ve been together for so long. Wonder who she could have been referring to? Well, if you were stumped, Tamia’s husband and baby fatha, Grant Hill, is the love interest in the video. 

Bad Religion

Frank Ocean

This song is so deep. While it’s not like some of the other, happy-go-lucky, love songs “Bad Religion” is about a man describing the love he feels for someone who doesn’t share his feelings. It’s not something we’re quick to admit; but often times when we fall in love with someone, whether they feel the same or not, we can begin to view that person as some type of divine being. And we start worshipping them. It’s some sick stuff when you really think about it, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Love and War

Tamar Braxton

After all that yapping, the trash talking, the complaining, nagging and begging that Tamar did before she finally released some music, people all over the world, were ready for her, she, Tamar to show and prove. And fortunately, for all parties involved that girl delivered and exceeded many of our expectations. Instead of focusing on just the beautiful aspects of being in love, “Love And War,” talks about the fights and the work it takes to maintain a healthy, loving relationship. 

Fire We Make

Alicia Keys ft Maxwell

How can you go wrong with Mr. Sultry himself on the track? It’s virtually impossible. Which is why Alicia Keys tapped Maxwell to appear on the song “Fire We Make” from her latest album Girl on Fire. The very sensual song talks about lovers who just can’t seem to stay away from one another. It definitely belong’s on this year’s “Get The Drawers” mix.

My Kind of Love

Emeli Sandé

Maybe you’re not familiar with this name; but Emeli Sandé is the latest British/Scottish/Zambian sensation to cross over to international audiences. (Ironically, her birth name is Adele.) Though she’s been on the scene since 2009, she’s just starting to get international attention. She was nominated by Soul Train as the best new artist and best international performance and for BET’s Best Interactional Act UK and then if that weren’t enough, T-Boz has officially said she’s feeling her. She has quite a few jams; but this one I particularly enjoy because in it, she explains to someone that while she might not express her love in grandiose, glamorous ways; when the chips are down, she’ll be there. This is another beautiful video. Be sure to check it out.

Bye Baby

Nas

This song is so raw, you almost feel uncomfortable listening to it. In this very personal account of his marriage to singer Kelis, Nas takes us step by step through how their once beautiful union succumbed to a tragic end. And then in the same song, he takes time to address those who tried to slander him for doing the right thing by Kelis. It’s powerful.

Fair in Love

Anthony Hamilton

How appropriate is it to end this piece with this song? In his latest album, Anthony Hamilton reminds us of a universal truth, that anything can go down when it comes to love, it’s all a part of the game, a clause in the contract we sign. And though it can be a bit painful, we still have to open ourselves up to its presence in our lives.

Did your favorite love song of the year make the list? Which songs would you add?

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  • nolimit_soldier

    Don’t know if its a love song but For My Brother by Jhene Aiko HAS to be mentioned!

  • Lateshia

    I like Brandy “wildest dreams” that is one of my favorite songs of 2012, Tamia “beautiful Surprise is another favorite. I love Usher I have to admit after Here I Stand I just stopped listening to him, but I heard DIVE on Syrius XM “heart & Soul” and love the song. I’m tired of “adorn” I’ve heard that song sooo many times this year. I think Eric Robson “picture perfect” should be on here, The Bar-Keys “grown folks”, Anita Baker new one “lately”, and Robin Thicke “all tied up”.

  • MissRae

    Adorn is my ish.

    • littleoleme

      I want to make my future babies to Adorn.

  • Starbright

    Emeli Sande has some great songs. My favorite is “This is Where I Sleep”.

  • Ms_Mara

    Love and War is my song!

  • JustSayin

    So; I feel like Climax, 4Am and Bye Baby aren’t love songs. Those songs are about love but essentially not about being in love but more so falling out of love.

  • Nikki

    I didn’t even know some of these existed. I’m obviously biased, but what about Trey Songz’s Sex Ain’t Better Than Love?

    • tdot

      Or Heart Attack, u don’t have to love him to realize that’s a beautiful song about love and heart break .