These days, finding a good love song on the radio is like locating snow in Nevada. Sure it happens but you have to go to great lengths to see it. Unless you’re listening to an old school hour, the love songs of today leave a lot to be desired. But they are out there; so in the spirit of 2011 coming to a close, we’ve taken the time to compile some of the best love songs this year had to offer.
1. “So in Love”
Jill Scott Feat. Anthony Hamilton
I love your mannerisms, babe,
The way you handle them
Oh, I’m so proud to be with you
So attracted to you too…
Is it really a surprise that these two members of the royal family of soul would produce the smooth groove of the year? Jill and Anthony have been on my fantasy collaboration list for a very long time. So I was excited to see them working together. If you’ve been known to step, this song was made just for you.
2. Love on Top – Beyoncé
I can feel the sun whenever you’re near
Every time you touch me I just melt away
Now everybody asks me why I’m smiling out from ear to ear.
(They say love hurts)
But I know
(It’s gonna take a little work)
I’m going to be real. We had something of an office listening party for Beyoncé’s “4” album and honestly I was not a fan… at all. But Beyoncé has a way of growing on you. Her star power cannot be denied. Anyway, when I took the time to listen to the album again on my own, “Love on Top” quickly became my jam and I played it on repeat. It’s so upbeat and fresh. It’s about being in love for a minute but still maintaining that “just met” newness. She really stretched her vocal cords on this one. Then to add that final stamp of King Bey magic to the track, she announced her pregnancy after performing this song at the MTV awards.
3. How to Love (Lil Wayne)
See you had a lot of crooks tryna steal your heart
Never really had luck, couldn’t never figure out
How to love, how to love
See you had a lot of moments that didn’t last forever
Now you in this corner tryna put it together
Anyone who knows me, knows that I think Lil Wayne, while talented, is severely overrated. But even I had to give it up on this one. My main complaint about the brotha is that he rarely says anything. There’s no substance behind 85 percent of his work but “How to Love” is certainly a break from tradition for him. He really tapped into issues so many women (and men) are facing. The lyrics in combination with a downright masterful video made this song a true work of art for me and quite a few other people.
4. Fool for You Cee Lo Green Feat. Melanie Fiona
What?! That real, that deep, that burning, that amazing unconditional, inseparable love
That feel like forever, that always emotional but still exceptional love
Can’t nobody tell me nothing it is what it is
And any mistake you make I, I just may forgive
If you don’t know this song, it’s about time you get familiar. While “Fawk You” was by far the standout song on Cee Lo’s “Lady Killer” album, “Fool for You” was the bee’s knees in my opinion. I apologize for the cliche but it was literally the only song I listened to for a two day period. I craved the song. It’s so funky, so passionate so powerful. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, it debuted at 13 on the R&B/Hip Hop Billboard charts this year.
5. Sure Thing Miguel
Even when we’re down to the wire babe
Even when it’s do or die
We can do it baby simple and plain
Cause this love is a sure thing
Miguel’s voice is not particularly memorable, but the clever lyrics in this song are bound to catch your attention. The metaphor of notorious pairs is catchy, plus his delivery is believable. And we can’t help but love the deep-voice repeating, “you can bet that, never gotta sweat that.” It’s a head-nodder.
6. We Found Love Rihanna
Shine a light through an open door
Love a life I will divide
Turn away ’cause I need you more
Feel the heartbeat in my mind
It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny
But I’ve gotta let it go.
Rihanna’s music is hit or miss for me, most the time miss. I want to root for the girl but something about her voice doesn’t translate for me. But like Lil Wayne, I had to alter my less than flattering view for her “We Found Love” song. The lyrics aren’t really anything to write home about; but like many of her songs, the video was brilliant. I’m sure the messages in that video represent quite a few dysfunctional love stories. (Maybe even Rihanna’s own…)
7. Pretty Little Heart Robin Thicke ft Lil Wayne
Robin Thicke’s voice is like silk! He really is the epitome of blue eyed soul, even though his eyes definitely aren’t blue. Again Lil Wayne’ verse on this track only add to its appeal for me.
8. Stay Together Ledisi ft Jaheim
There were times when I was afraid
and wanted you to leave
But you stayed right here by my side
You never let me go
You always stayed around
Ledisi is one of the more underrated voices in music today. So it’s good to know that her single, “Pieces of Me” earned her a top ten spot on the Billboard charts this year. Hopefully the success of this single inspired a few people to pick up the album and discover her equally fabulous collaboration “Stay Together,” with Jaheim. Their voices blend perfectly together.
9. Yes Musiq Soulchild
The answer is yes
When 2 or 3 years from now
you start having some doubts
about if this love will last
The answer is yes
I’ll still think you’re beautiful
’cause I’m more attracted to what’s inside of you
You don’t have to guess
The answer is yes
I first saw this video, when we did a piece on the message behind breast cancer awareness. As one with a soft spot for breast cancer survivors, I thought that the video had much to do with my immediate attraction to the song; but I listened again, without watching the video and the song is still so sweet. This is another score of the child of soul.
10. Little Things Syleena Johnson ft. Malone
Something about the way you love me
Something about the things you do
Something pure about our situation
Ain’t material that’s for sure
Chances are you won’t hear this one on the radio, but if you profess to be a lover of real music you must know about this song. This duet is epic to me, like on some Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye type of stuff. This is how you sing a duet. It starts slow and sultry, builds with a sweet crescendo and ends melodically. And the version here is just the acoustic one. If you have Syleena’s album you know that the finalized track, instrumentation, studio quality and all is that much better.
What’s missing from the list? What was your favorite love song of 2011?
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