Tunesday: Old-school R&B love

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Whether you’re heartbroken or happily in love, you can always count on old-school R&B love songs to channel your love life. With their soulful beats and melodies, they always hit the spot. We’ve compiled a list of both somber and happy love songs to help you get through the rough times and celebrate the good moments.

“At Your Best (You Are Love)” by Aaliyah

“But at your best, you are love

You’re a positive motivating force within my life

Should you ever feel the need to wonder why

Let me know, let me know”

An R&B angel taken away from us too soon, Aaliyah lends her soothing, beautiful vocals to celebrate love. And love sounds just as heavenly as Aaliyah’s voice the sweet xylophone enmeshed with the romantic guitar riffs not only makes us crave a love that touches our souls, but also reminds us to appreciate our loved ones as we build healthy, positive relationships. It’s a track that is certain to leave listeners in a dreamy trance.

“So Into You” by Tamia

“I really like what you’ve done to me

I can’t really explain it

I’m so into you”

Sometimes love feels like it doesn’t make sense, but we gladly roll with the spontaneity anyway. Tamia captures this rush of adrenaline as she develops feelings for someone in her whimsical track. The bouncing upbeat tempo parallels the excitement and wonder of a budding love, one that’s difficult to explain in words yet easy to enjoy. But Tamia’s soft and calm voice emphasizes how precious these emerging feelings are and that we should relish them.

“Weak” by SWV

“I get so weak in the knees I can hardly speak

I lose all control, and something takes over me

In a daze, your love’s so amazing, it’s not a phase”

Timeless in its pure and innocent dedication to love, this track reminds us of the times we’ve been head-over-heels for someone. The butterflies, nerves and zealous urge to be with a lover are overwhelming, as channeled through SWV’s passionate high notes accompanied by mellow electric piano throughout the song. She captures this lack of control perfectly, her words leaving us in a haze.

“Twisted” by Keith Sweat

“I guess I’ll wait for the day until you come back

Because my heart is where your love is at

You got me twisted”

Love isn’t always two-sided, and when one is giving rather than receiving, it can be discouraging. In this wistful ode to the one that got away, Keith Sweat laments over his broken heart alongside female R&B trio Kut Klose, whose vocals harmoniously match his. It’s like a conversation between the singers, revealing the dynamic of a lost love trying but failing to regain footing. The cheerful tune to the track is a twisted reminder that Sweat’s love was once vibrant, but the defeat in his voice is telling of his dejection.

“Don’t Leave Me” by Blackstreet

“Forget my pride girl, I’m begging you

You’re my heart, you’re my soul,

You’ve got so much control”

In other cases, it feels like one doesn’t have a say in love. We feel the members of Blackstreet’s remorse as they desperately plead for another chance the agony of feeling like an integral part of us is missing is nerve-wracking. The song closes with Blackstreet’s last shot at restoring a broken love with the repeated exclamation “stay,” to which it fades out. Love can be unforgiving and harsh, and although our best efforts may not be enough to spark a lost flame, it might be better off that way.

Contact Caroline Lee at [email protected].