Best R&B Songs | Slow Jams, Quiet Storm and Love Songs
Here are some of the smoothest songs celebrating, wishing for, and lamenting love. No matter what mood you're in, there's an R&B song that says just what you feel.
Here are some of my favorites. I hope you'll find your favorites here too and also discover a new gem.
Can You Stand The Rain- New Edition
This was a number 1 R&B single in1988. I love New Edition’s early hits, but this song had a more mature feel that appealed to their fan base that was growing up with them.
Highlight of the song: The second verse, “But I need somebody who will stand by me, when it’s tough she won’t run, she will always, be right there for me.”
I Swear- All-4-One
I Swear was released in 1994 as the second single from All-4-One’s debut album. It was a huge hit and remains their most popular song.
This beautiful melody is a perfect showcase for the contrasting tones of co-lead singers Jamie Jones and Delious Kennedy.
This was my favorite song for many years so I won’t pick a highlight; it’s all amazing.
I'd Give Anything- Gerald Levert
Another classic from 1994, I’d Give Anything is my favorite from Gerald Levert. It was the highest charting song from his second solo album, Groove On.
Highlight of the song: The end of the bridge and the intensity on the following chorus.
On Bended Knee- Boyz II Men
1994 was a good year for R&B music. On Bended Knee went to number one and contributed to the success of Boyz II Men’s best selling album, II.
Highlight of the song: The vocals on the last two lines, “I’ll never walk again, until you come back to me. I’m down on bended knee.”
It Would Be You- Johnny Gill
This is from Johnny’s sixth solo album, released in 2011 after a 15 year wait. It Would Be You is smooth R&B at its best, sung by a master.
Highlight of the song: Johnny’s vocals on the second verse line, “Your shoes can’t be filled, they cannot wear your heel, the truth is in you, girl there’s nothing else real, than our love, I’d be just fine with our love.”
I'm Still In Love With You- New Edition
I’m Still in Love With You is a classic from Home Again, New Editions first album after 8 years apart and the only album with all 6 members.
Highlight of the song: The sound and vocals on the opening lines, “Oh, what can I do, girl, so much in love, girl.”
All My Life- K-Ci and JoJo
All My Life is from K-Ci and JoJo’s debut album Love Always from 1997. It was their most successful song and is still their most popular.
Highlight of the song: The opening of the second verse, “I promise to never fall in love with a stranger, you’re all I’m thinking of, I praise the Lord above, for sending me your love.”
My, My, My- Johnny Gill
It’s not an accident that My, My, My has become Johnny Gill’s signature song. This one still sounds fresh despite coming out in 1990. It went to number 1 on the R&B chart.
Highlight of the song: The ad-libs at the end when Johnny alternates singing “my” in falsetto and chest voice.
I Can Love You Like That- All-4-One
All-4-One followed up on their debut album strongly with And The Music Speaks in 1995. I Can Love You Like That was its most successful single.
Highlights of the song: The intro melody and the back and forth lines and ad-libs at the end.
You Are Not Alone- Michael Jackson
This was the first song to ever debut at number one on the Billboard chart. Michael came back strong in 1995 with Scream and You Are Not Alone. It’s one of Michael’s best ballads and he’s got a lot of great ones.
Highlight of the song: Near the end of the song, Michael’s 10 second plus belt on “heart”.
Tell Me What You Want Me To Do- Tevin Campbell
I discovered Tevin and this song pretty late but it’s now one of my favorites. His voice is unbelievable.
Highlight of the song: The bridge, where Tevin showed us that the amazing range he’d already shown in the song was just a tease. The line “cause you’re the finest girl that I’ve ever seen.” If you haven’t heard it, drop everything and listen to it immediately. (In the accompanying video, it's at the end of the bridge which is from 2:50 to 3:32)
It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday- G.C. Cameron
Most of us know the Boyz II Men version of this song, which is great, but for a special treat check out the original by G.C. Cameron from 1975. This anthem of longing is perfect for when you’re feeling pensive.
Highlight of the song: The line from the first verse, “And I thought we’d see forever, but forever has gone away.”
Incomplete is from Sisqo’s debut solo album from 2000. It’s about a man who has everything except the woman he loves.
Highlight of the song: The end of the chorus, “I can make believe I have everything, but I can’t pretend that I don’t see, that without you girl, my life is incomplete.”
Two Occasions- The Deele
Two Occasions is an early classic from Babyface among others. It’s an assurance to the woman he loves that no temporary relationship can compare to what they have.
Highlight of the song: Just before the second chorus, the great falsetto at the end of the line, “And I wanna be with you, wherever you are.”
Nobody Knows- Tony Rich Project
Released at the end of 1995, Nobody Knows was the first single from Tony Rich’s debut album. It’s still one of the best songs of lost love ever.
Highlight of the song: The end of the second verse, “A million words couldn’t say just how I feel, a million years from now you know, I’ll be loving you still.”
When You Cry, I Cry- Jesse Campbell (Honorable Mention)
Some of us first heard Jesse Campbell on The Voice but he had released an R&B album in 1995. This song isn’t quite up to the standard of the rest on this list but I’m giving it an honorable mention because it’s Jesse Campbell’s best and his voice is one of the best I’ve heard.
This song has some great parts, showing us what Jesse could do with a really exceptional song. Here’s hoping that one day Jesse Campbell will record a song that’s as good as his voice.
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There are a lot more great R&B love songs not included here. If you have a favorite for us to check out please mention it in the comments.
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