We’ve talked quite a bit about love with #MusicSermon. We talked about love not being proud or boastful, and putting ego aside when you need to with Beggin’ Ass R&B. Then we talked about recognizing when someone’s season in your life is over and getting them out the paint with Bye, Ashy R&B. We’ve even talked about how the R&B music we grew up on sometimes glorified side relationships and foolishness, but we were too busy bodyrollin’ and singing along to realize what the song was about with Problematic R&B
Now, I want to take inspiration from Song of Solomon — IMO a highly underrated and underutilized section of the Word — to talk again about love. But not unrequited love. Not ain’t shit love. Not problematic love.
Let’s start with the LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE songs of adoration. The love that had to have come from the Big Homie himself just to bless you… Marvin and Tammi will show up here a few times tonight. (Shout out to Ashford & Simpson)
A LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE is that love that hit you from the very first moment you laid eyes on them.
It’s a love that changed your whole outlook on the world. (Side note — this was 5th grade Naima’s song. Still goes off.)
The LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE has your head spinning, lost in thoughts about your boo.
It keeps you in a daze… just all smiley and happy and silly. Throws you off balance.
A LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE wraps you up in itself. You’re hopeless. Happily so. Auntie Anita will show up here a few times tonight, too. She’s got an excellent Adoration catalogue.
Like I said, you don’t mind being caught up. It just makes everything better; got you vibrating from head to toe. You literally gotta sing about it (what ya’ll know about that lovin’ you gotta sing about?). Stephanie just glowing.
A LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE could also be because you got put on to something new and different and it make your head spin.
The official video for “Liberian Girl” is weird and random in only the way a Michael video could be. Literally anyone of note from the late 80’s is in this joint- music, tv or film, and Michael ain’t even in it until the last shot.
Or it could be that you finally got a good one that made you realize how much you’d been lacking before. (Sing along with a brush in the mirror hall of fame)
When you finally get what you’ve been missing, and feel ways you didn’t even realize you could feel, a LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE will lift you and empower you. (Who’s old enough to remember when Clairol used this for dye a commercial?)
A LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE will make a playa retire his jersey and get out the game. Lawd, I miss Gerald’s big teddy bear self in the game.
After spending a night paging ol’ girl every hour and 10 minutes, Ginuwine realized she was the one.
A LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE will have you expressing yourself through in spoken word (I kid, cause I know spoken word offends ya’ll. LOL) When this song dropped I was looking at my boyfriend with a massive side-eye, because I did not feel this way about him.
Being completely open off someone — and feeling safe in that feeling — is incredible. This one is a little but of an obscure cut, but I it’s so perfect for that moment when you realize you’re into this person like that.
And when you’re in that space — open off that LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE — you sometimes have to wonder it it’s too good to be true.
Lady T’s “Now That I Have You” is a favorite of mine in the LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE category, too. I keep telling ya’ll, if you’re not familiar with her catalogue, get into it. She got some ballads for that ass.
When you find that LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE, people can see it on your face (like Stephanie back there). And you feel it, every time they walk into the room.
Ultimately, a LOVE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE makes you realize that you never knew it could be like this. (And this was me & my last high school boyfriend’s song…So funny to me how we just know these grown songs are speaking our truth at 16/17)
Now, let’s talk about that CAN’T GET ENOUGH love…
CAN’T GET ENOUGH love will have you calling into work, skipping events, leaning over and whispering in their ear in the middle of a public place what you want to do to them as soon as possible.
It’s the kind of love where you’re just like “Lemme take care of you; I got this” This song is sooooo so so so good, still.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH LOVE is that lock yourself in the room for the weekend love. Early Maxwell was good for those vibes.
Prince wrote a song about literally not being able to get enough of your boo. Wanna hear it, here it go.
Aretha said whatever might be ailing her she ain’t need nothin’ but her man. Don’t be sitting all up under them, get your sh*t and go.
The great thing about CAN’T GET ENOUGH classic “Between the Sheets” is that it’s not just about sex. The lyrics specifically speak to love and making love. This that “watch out there now!!” type jam. *Pours brown liquor*
Back in my online dating days, I said in my bio that I wanted a man who would occasionally look at me, whistle under his breath, and say “Damn, you look amazing. Johnny Gill captured that kind of CAN’T GET ENOUGH love… where you get dressed and maybe don’t make it out the house.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH LOVE also means you want to make sure your partner can’t get enough… whatever that takes.
And shout out to the days when dudes weren’t too cool to recruit their boys and croon about their love.
Sense memory is a mug with CAN’T GET ENOUGH love. You’ll just be going about your day, having flashbacks or thinking about the next time.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH love will have you paying bills, cookin’ dinner, whatever they want…cause you whipped.
And CAN’T GET ENOUGH LOVE will have you doing anything you can just to be close to your love, even if it’s just for a moment…just for an hour.
Next, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS love; when you need to let the world know how amazing your boo is. Holding the all time classic in this category: The Temptations. Sing, David.
Auntie Anita shows up again in this category with “Sweet Love”…. she’s calling out his name, she feels no shame. I love all the drama in the beginning of this video.
I don’t think anybody has ever repped the SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOP category quite like Jillie from Philly did with “Lyzel in E Flat”
I hadn’t heard this song in years and then heard it randomly one day, and I was like “This is a GOOD song!!”
Even MARY got a SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS joint. Two of them, really, from this album Mary, which is one of my favorites.
Sometimes you don’t have to declare it all publicly, but you want to POUR YOUR HEART OUT directly to your love, make sure there’s no question in their mind that you adore them and only them. There was a point where I would just play this on a loop.
In POUR YOUR HEART OUT love, you make sure your boo knows what it is… There’s a “Lady” subcategory in this subcategory (R&B-ception), starting with the Whispers #WalterAndScottieCouldStealYourGirl
Then Freddy Jackson (There really is something I love about the term “My lady”). Put some respect on Freddie’s voice.
Cornrowed, blunt smokin’, Avirex-wearin’, lip-lickin’ D’Angelo (amen).
And my all time favorite MJ Song, where Mike got grown on you. Started hitting those lower registers on the ad-libs. If you got somebody around to slow drag with, grab them.
Also in the POUR YOUR HEART OUT category… Ya’ll know I think DeBarge is one of the best R&B groups of all time. I once wrote a dissertation-length instagram post about how this is one of the best R&B songs of all time.
Someone noted that I really could have called this sub-category SIMPIN, but I chose to not go that route, BUT ….I mean if the shoe fits.
Speaking of Peabo, he stepped in for Donny’s part with Roberta on “The Closer I Get to You”…. definitely a POUR YOUR HEART OUT jam.
But since I mentioned Donny…
I guess we also have an “I’m So Into You” subcategory.
You knew Mint Condition was going to show up eventually. The POUR YOUR HEART category obviously also includes letting the object of your affection know not only that you’re into them, but straight head over heels into them...
…and that they take up all the available space in your mind at all times.
When I was in high school you wanted your boo to call and sing this to you over the phone, or dedicate it to you on the radio, or write the lyrics in a note he passed to you between classes. (I love this song soooooo much)
And while we’re on high school POUR YOUR HEART OUT joints…
Let’s bring Toni back for this category. Shout out to the days when Shemar Moore was a whole entire snack. Jesus.
Stevie is of course a repeat in the POUR YOUR HEART OUT category, because Stevie. (Shoutout to the Obamas. We miss ya’ll. Call us)
And of course Kenneth Edmunds is on the pen for multiple songs in this category because POUR YOUR HEART OUT is what he does. If you’ve been a member of the congregation since at least the fall, you already know how much I love this song.
Before we continue to the next category, one last entry in POUR YOUR HEART OUT, and the inspiration for tonight’s topic.
A really quick sub-category here, FORGET THOSE HATERS. Basically “We know what this is; don’t let outside influences cause trouble”. The theme song for this one? Jon B.
“Don’t even worry about what I’m doing in these streets when you know we good” also applies here.
My high school on-and-off somethin’ who nobody at school knew I was dealing with (he was two years ahead of me) but was always at my house on the low made this “Don’t worry about nobody else, we got this” jam our joint.
Now let’s get into ALL ENCOMPASSING love. Your love is at the center of everything. You will burn this whole sh*t down for this. They don’t even understand.
ALL ENCOMPASING love is also that you two are in your own little world love. Have you ever really listened to these lyrics?
Uncle Bill Withers and Norman Conner have one of my favorite songs in this category. “We look for love, no time for tears. Wasted water’s all that is, and it don’t make the flowers grow…” I love his voice so much.
ALL ENCOMPASSING love means that even if Trump goes too far and hits the button tomorrow, it don’t even matter if I got you with me.
ALL ENCOMPASSING love can also sometimes be called RIDE OR DIE love, because all you need is your boo to get through this world. (You really can’t beat Marvin & Tammi/Ashford & Simpson at these songs)
And if some sh*t *should* pop off and we’re not together, the power of our love is stronger than any obstacles in the way of me getting back to you. Again, Marvin & Tammi/Ashford & Simpson (and Tammi was SO pretty).
ALL ENCOMPASSING love can also be awe-inspiring. This person is damn near magical; unbelievable in their perfectness for you. These are three of what I consider the most beautiful odes to incredible love:
Teddy P is inspired…
The good Rev Al is like listen, I don’t even need alot of words…
And here’s an older, post grits Al doing “Simply Beautiful” live. Still got the chops.
Curtis, on the other hand, was like lemme run down every little thing about you, girl.
ALL ENCOMPASSING love also has the power to change you in the midst of your circumstance (one of ya’ll just missed your shout on that one).
It’s a love you will go through heaven and hell to hold on to…and that will launch careers for Chicago rappers after car accidents. (No, straight up I don’t even listen to this song anymore because of “Through the Wire”)
But ALL ENCOMPASSING can also get a little dark sometimes. Like I might need to stab somebody dark.. but only because that’s just how much you mean to me!
That leads us to another semi-subcategory: WHATEVER YOU WANT. There’s a ton of songs that can be indexed into a bunch of these categories at once, but there are two specifically that belong solidly here more than anywhere else.
And usually if you’re talking about SWV “Anything”, it’s the Above the Rim mix, but I actually love the original interlude from the album.
Next-to-last category for tonight: FOREVER AND EVER love. This is it, you are pledging your undying love to this person. This is a forever-type love, baby.
Pebbles & her cousin Cherelle (long time congregants know how I feel about Cherelle) had an ode to holding their man down for the long haul (with a little Johnny Gill mixed in at the end of the song). I swear I just closed my eyes and was in my high school bedroom.
Of course the occasion of having a baby merits a song of dedication. (Al B Sure was inspired by Kim Porter’s pregnancy with Quincy to write this).
Auntie Anita said she’s bettin’ everythang on her wedding rang. That’s real FOREVER AND EVER rap.
One day somebody posted this clip of Anita chilling in a damn straight back chair onstage just belting this out like whatever with her legs crossed, and I had to find it and post it here.
Even street dudes can profess that FOREVER AND EVER love. I really do love this song. I need somebody to update the production from that Casio keyboard-sounding situation, but it’s so good.
Guy with the smooth settle down anthem. Forrrrrever….and ever….everrrr… and ever…. everrrr… and ever ALWAYS
I have seriously considered making this the first dance at my wedding. An all-star sing-a-long jam.
Here’s the Good Rev Al again with the ultimate FOREVER AND EVER jam. *Two steps with cup in hand*
Going back to Maxwell and Urban Hang Suite… This is simultaneously a CAN’T GET ENOUGH JAM and a FOREVER AND EVER joint because in one breath he’s saying it’s been so long since he had her legs wrapped around him, but in the next is…proposing?
Jesse Powell is the perfect transition to the last category … (I told ya’ll about how my friend said he looked like a chickpea and that’s all I can think of when I see him ever since, right?)
FINALLY we’ll close this out with the ultimate songs of Adoration… WEDDING SONGS.
I used INTRO’s version because I knew I was coming behind it with Stevie for “You & I” (Michael sang this when Thelma married Keith in the living room on Good Times)
This truly is of the greatest r&b ballads of all time, which is probably why LTD simply named it “Love Ballad”.
The last time I posted this I asked how many of ya’ll had been to weddings where this was the first dance, and one of you said it was your parents’ wedding song.
Kenny Lattimore has recorded mad albums…will always be known for this song. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). “Wedding” songs tend to wear on me when they’re too popular, but these lyrics really are incredible.
“Here and Now” was Luther’s first Grammy and first song to crack the top 10 of the Hot 100. I think it was also the biggest wedding song of the year in 90 or 91.
And finally, this was in rotation for almost any 99/early 2000’s wedding. HEAVY.
May at least one of the forms of love reflected in these songs find you and wrap itself around you, maybe even more than once in your life.