Friday, 30 December 2011

Best R&B Songs 2011.

1. "Motivation" - Kelly Rowland ft. Lil Wayne

Kelly Rowland's solo career hit a high note in 2011 with the release of "Motivation," a Jim Jonsin-produced track that's slinkier and sexier than anything Kelly's BFF Beyoncé has ever recorded. Rowland, who's been living it up across the pond as one of the judges of the UK version of X-Factor, has finally found a direction that works for her: slow-jam baby-making raunch.

2. "Marvin's Room" - Drake ft. Rihanna

We don't really envy Drake's ex-girlfriends, especially if they're subject to the hyper-emotional and occasionally douchey rants that comprise the lyrics of this message to a lost love (there's also that matter of having your phone conversations sampled). But the beauty of this lonely, regretful song is undeniable, even if it's the creepy aural equivalent of a hangover.

3. "Sure Thing" - Miguel

Miguel's first and only song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Sure Thing," was actually penned years ago by the singer and his then 12-year-old brother, Jawan Harris. It was originally leaked to YouTube in 2009, but it wasn't until January 2011 that it got an official release—and became one of the biggest R&B single of the year.

4. "Only Wanna Give It to You" - Elle Varner ft. J. Cole

Unless you listen to a lot of R&B, chances are you haven't heard of Elle Varner... yet. The 22-year-old Los Angeles native has a distinctively raspy voice that's perfectly showcased in her upbeat debut single, "Only Wanna Give It to You," which features verses by her former classmate J. Cole. Oh, and she's completely adorable. Watch out for her.

5. "5 O'Clock" - T-Pain ft. Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen

Autotune enthusiast T-Pain released his most tender song to date with "5 O'Clock," a song that features a heavy sampling of Lily Allen's "Who'd Have Known." Sure, it includes lyrics like "And I know you be getting so horny / Cause you be sending me texts / Like boy just get your ass up in that car," but we're sure we're not the only ones who were touched by his departure from singing about strippers, booze, and taking shirts off.

6. "Play" - Goapele

Kelly Rowland hasn't exactly cornered the market on unapologetic, brazen sexuality. "Play," the second single off Oakland native Goapele's fourth full-length album Break of Dawn, is a understated sensual masterpiece.

7. "Wicked Games" - The Weeknd

Nearly every "Best of" list this year has dedicated at least one spot to Ethiopian Canadian singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, and his nine-song mixtape House of Balloons. This particular track caught the attention of fellow moody Canadian Drake, who tweeted his admiration with a link to his website. Overnight sensations begetting overnight sensations: It's a thing.

8. "That Way" - Wale ft. Jeremih and Rick Ross

There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about this single off Maybach Music Group's collaboration studio album Self Made Vol. 1, which samples Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love" and Mary J. Blige's "I'm the Only Woman." And yeah, the accompanying music video features slow-mo shots of hot ladies, like just about every other song of like beat. But you never switch the station when this song comes on, now do you?

9. "Party" - Beyonce ft. J. Cole

Beyonce is due for a maternity break pretty soon, which is why she started releasing music videos at breakneck pace soon after she announced her pregnancy. Our favorite was "Party," which makes no effort to downplay its 1980s R&B roots, thanks to its 808 beat and layered vocals. But what's "Swagu"?

10. "Still in Love with You" - Sade

Who would have guessed that Sade would augment its greatest hits collection with a cover of a weepy Thin Lizzy track from 1974? Not we! But like pretty much everything Sade has released since 1984, it makes perfect sense as either a breakup song or a boner jam.

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