I was at Target a few weeks ago looking at a clearance cd called “R&B Hits” or something equally boring and general. I thought that it might be hilarious to buy the cd and play it at a party that I would never have.
But let’s just pretend it was this CD.
I turned it over to look at the songs:
Tyrese - “Sweet Lady”
Hmm… I know that song. “Sweet lady, would be be my sweet love for a lifetime?”
The Tony Rich Project - “Nobody Knows”
I remember listening to this song in Elementary school. “A million words couldn’t say just how I feel, a million years from now you know I’ll be loving you still. The nights are lonely, the days are so sad and I just keep thinking about the love that we had and I’m missing you. And nobody knows it but me.”
Tevin Campbell - “Can We Talk?”
Oh yeah, I remember hearing that song on “Sister, Sister” when Roger talked on the phone to that girl who he’d never met, but who ended up being way taller than him and he learned that it’s okay to be short and that it doesn’t matter what other people think. “Can we talk for a minute? Girl, I want to know your name.” It kind of just sounds like an aggressive guy hitting on you while you walk down the street, but it’s still a good song.
I looked up the lyrics and they claim to say “Just like a roni, you were too shy” which prompted me to google “What’s a roni?” It’s apparently short for “tenderoni”, which means a sweet girl. And my life has never felt more meaningful.
Toni Braxton - “You’re Makin’ Me High”
Hey, yeah, the music video for this was always on MTV. “I get so high when I’m around you, baby, I can touch the sky. You make my temperature rise. You’re making me high.”
I’m starting to realize that these songs aren’t making me laugh, but are instead making me really want to listen to some fucking R&B. Holy shit, man, I love R&B.
Suddenly the memories all come rushing back to me. I’m remembering when I sang Keith Sweat’s song “Twisted” while in my parents’ bedroom because it was my favorite song. And I’m remembering the time that I sang a song I made-up when I was only 8 years old or something while at the park across from Lincoln High. It was a brilliant song with lyrics like “She’s a cool girl, she’s a school girl, cool girl.” And suddenly I notice a man and his son standing and watching me, then begin laughing when I turned around. I don’t think they appreciated my lyrical achievement.
I also used to wear my hair in little braids because I was obsessed with Brandy. “I Wanna Be Down” is the first song I can remember listening to over and over. It was my jam. And one day my third grade class went to my elementary school library for our weekly book-burning ceremony – I could be a little off on the details – and the librarian, Mrs. Vignolo, said to me “Valerie, are you a wannabe?” Then she went on to tell me that Carla’s mom would probably braid my hair for me and make it look nice. I said, “Carla’s hair is fake!” Sorry, Carla, I totally called you out because my emotions were out of whack. We left the library and I was fuming. My friend, Sara, said “She’s probably on her period” and I thought, yeah Sara, she’s like 60.. There’s no way she’s never had her period before now. I thought that you only had your period once in your whole life and then you were done. I may have discovered that babies come out of vaginas after looking at my mom’s birthing book (filled with pictures, yay!), but she did not have a book about periods, so I was left in the dark about that until I was much older. I should’ve paid closer attention to Monica’s “Just One Of Them Days”: “It’s just one of them days that I wanna be all alone.. Don’t take it personal. I just wanna be all alone and you think I treat you wrong. It’s just one of them days that a girl goes through, when I’m angry inside, don’t wanna take it out on you.”
I still really enjoy listening to all of those songs. In fact, I can’t think of an R&B song that I don’t like.
Aaliyah’s “More Than a Woman”, Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee”, 702’s “Where My Girl’s At?”, Ginuwine’s “In Those Jeans”, Next’s “Too Close”, Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”, Usher’s “You Got It Bad”.
And who could forget Montel Jordan’s responsibility anthem “This Is How We Do It”? “Designated driver take the keys to my truck.. All the gang bangers forgot about the drive-by.”
I can’t even tell you how much just listing those songs makes me want to listen to them. Fuck, man, I think R&B is my favorite kind of music. Yeah, even the cheeseball made-for-movie songs like Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” from Waiting To Exhale or this one by Boyz II Men:
“Mama, you’re the queen of my heart. Your love is like tears from the stars. Mama, I just want you to know loving you is like food to my soul.”
If you can’t figure out what movie that song is from, you’re a dummy. I played that song for Joe once and he was making fun of how cheesy it was and I was like, “Oh really? Imagine it being played at your mom’s funeral.. How cheesy is it now?” He conceded, but I know that imagining even “Old McDonald Had a Farm” being played at your mom’s funeral seems sad, so it was a little unfair, but I guess I just needed to use whatever I could to be right. I did go to a funeral where they played Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” and another where they played N’SYNC’s “I Want You Back” and it was still really sad. But those were probably better options than “Bye, Bye, Bye” or “Since You’ve Been Gone”. “Since you’ve been gone I can breathe for the first time, I’m so movin’ on, yeah, yeah.”
One of my all-time favorite R&B songs is R. Kelly’s “Gotham City”. That song is fucking amazing. People always reference “I Believe I Can Fly”, but they seem to forget about his other gem. “Next door to happiness lives sorrow, and signals of solution in the sky. A city of justice, a city of love, a city of peace for every once of us. We all need it, can’t live without it, Gotham City, oh yeah.”
And he wears a retarded hat in the video which you guys should know by now that I fucking love.
Go ahead, buy yourself a cow print cowboy bat. Let R&B turn you into a wannabe too.
I’ll leave you with lyrics that will lift you up, raise your spirits, and get you through your hardest moments:
“Baby, when we’re grinding I get so excited. You know how I like it, I try but I can’t fight it. You’re dancing real close, plus real, real slow. You’re making it hard for me. …I know you can tell I’m excited, oh girl. Step back, you’re dancing kinda close, I feel a little poke coming through on you. Now girl I know you felt it, but boo you know I can’t help it. You know what I wanna do. The way that you shake it on me makes me want you so bad sexually.”