“That’s the best shit. Making your girl happy man. Then after that, you know what it is! You gon’ go in there and you gon’ make love to her. But don’t make love to her without the MUSIC on! You gotta put that SLOW shit on and you fuck her reaaal slow.”- Ghostface Killah, via Twitter
I wish I could top that… but I ain’t even gonna put forth the effort. And so, with no further ado, and a shoutout to The Doors, we go from five to one right about… NOW:
5- Aaliyah “At Your Best (You Are Love)” (1994): The third cover on the list, Aaliyah’s version of the Isley Brothers’ tune from ’76. I don’t know what it is, but every time I’ve heard “At Your Best” after her death, it’s carried a certain sadness that none of her other songs do. It’s also one of those that I remember hearing for the first time: it was October ’94, and I was crushin’ hard on a girl named Kelly Peck. I used to sleep with the radio on, and it came on 92Q at like 5-something on a Friday morning. We went on a field trip to WJZ-TV that day, and Kelly (who could sing her ass off) kept singin’ that “let me know” part on the bus. If such a photographic memory doesn’t explain why this is my #5, nothing else could.
4- Isley Brothers “For The Love Of You” (1975): Speaking of the Isleys, “For The Love Of You” is one that’s also been covered by a number of artists. But not a one has come close to the original. It was already a classic by the time I was listening to music, so I always heard it on the “classic” station while growing up. Being the oldhead I was (oh nah, it didn’t just start as an adult), I was feelin’ it in my soul before I knew anything about the subject. The Isleys have had a number of great laidback love anthems that span decades, but “For The Love…” is thee one for me.
3- Shalamar “This Is For The Lover In You” (1981): Who knows if or when I’ll be gettin’ married, but this is already on the list for the reception. One of the most popular groups in R&B during the early ’80s was the trio of Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffery Daniel, and “…Lover In You” was one of their signature songs, from their album Three For Love. It was one that I’ve been lovin’ since childhood, and even sampled some years later when I was doing music.
2- Jodeci “U & I” (1991): Making their second appearance on the list, this was the one that put Jodeci on the map, and understandably so. They were one of those groups whose music I always liked during the ’90s, starting in ’91 with the Forever My Lady album. As much as I was a fan of the more popular title track from that album, my favorite was a non-single track called “U & I”. Jodeci had a number of joints that could’ve made this list, but when I think of the ones I’ve played and loved most, “U & I” takes it.
1- DeBarge “All This Love” (1982): A love worth having is the one you mighta had to go thru some failed love to get to. The homie El and the rest of the family dropped a lot of smooth classic shit during their early-mid ’80s run, but my favorite of the bunch has forever been “All This Love”. I’m positive that I’ve annoyed my neighbors more than once with it, whether it was the day I played it like 10 times in a row, or the times when I have the headphones on and sing along (badly) at awkward hours. Before compiling this list, I didn’t know which ones would and wouldn’t make the cut, or the order they’d all be in… but one thing that I didn’t have to give any thought was that “All This Love” was going to be #1.
And there it is. When taking this list into consideration, a few different things came into play. Some were songs I’ve just always liked or related to, some so vocally great that I always end up singing along to them without fail, some had a particular memory attached to them. There were some others that fell just shy of making it (George Michael‘s “Careless Whisper”, Rose Royce‘s “Wishing On A Star”, 112‘s “Cupid”, etc.) but it came down to these 25.
Thanks for checkin’ it out, God bless you, good night.