Love. Lust. Longing. Lamenting. A Black Valentine’s Day


Photo via Flickr user Gloria Bell

Valentine’s Day means a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, it’s a day of “love” (whatever that word means to them). To others, it’s a “Hallmark holiday,” reserved for cheesy cards, rom-coms, and excuses for people to appreciate their significant others. Whatever feelings Valentine’s Day brings, R&B has been a soundtrack to those feelings of love, lust, longing, and lamenting that encapsulate the holiday.


“A Black Valentine’s Day: Love”. A YouTube playlist by The RYM.

Pretty self-explanatory. This list of songs explores the cliché “love” trope. It’s about love and relationships in general — “boo-lovin” if you will. Nothing wrong with it though.

  1. “LOVE.” — Kendrick Lamar Featuring Zacari
  2. “Love” — Keyshia Cole
  3. “Cupid” — 112
  4. “If I Ain’t Got You” — Alicia Keys
  5. “All My Life” — KC & JoJo
  6. “Love On Top” — Beyoncé
  7. “Really Love” — D’Angelo and The Vanguard
  8. “YOU’RE THE ONE” — KAYTRANADA Featuring Syd
  9. “Chanel” — Frank Ocean
  10. “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” — Michael Jackson Featuring Siedah Garrett


“A Black Valentine’s Day: Lust”. A YouTube playlist by The RYM.

This one’s for the “grown & sexy”. That “late night” playlist. If you’ve got “wild thoughts” and want to bring them to life, crank up these tunes to set the mood. Or, you know, when you start ringing bells.

  1. “Body Party” — Ciara
  2. “That’s What It’s Made For” — Usher
  3. “Rocket” — Beyoncé
  4. “Practice” — Drake
  5. “The Weekend” — SZA
  6. “Falsetto” — The-Dream
  7. “Body” — Syd
  8. “Anywhere” — 112
  9. “The Heat” — Toni Braxton
  10. “Neighbors Know My Name” — Trey Songz


“A Black Valentine’s Day: Longing”. A YouTube playlist by The RYM.

This is about crushes and courtship. Maybe they know you like them, maybe they don’t. Maybe you want to escalate the relationship. Maybe you’ve never officially met! Whatever the case, these songs should cover your needs.

  1. “You Don’t Know My Name” — Alicia Keys
  2. “Butterflies” — Michael Jackson
  3. “Creep” — TLC
  4. “I Wanna Know” — Joe
  5. “Need U Bad” — Jazmine Sullivan
  6. “Can’t Help But Wait” — Trey Songz
  7. “The Closer I Get To You” — Beyoncé & Luther Vandross
  8. “Back At One” — Brian McKnight
  9. “Me & U” — Cassie
  10. “Sweet Lady” — Tyrese


“A Black Valentine’s Day: Lamenting”. A YouTube playlist by The RYM.

This playlist is for those who have been through a recent break-up and just want to wallow in their feelings for a day. Take some time, crack a bottle of wine (or whiskey), and toast to old times with these tunes.

  1. “We Belong Together” — Mariah Carey
  2. “Do You?” — Ne-Yo
  3. “Be Without U” — Mary J. Blige
  4. “Thinkin Bout You” — Frank Ocean
  5. “The Worst” — Jhené Aiko
  6. “Throwback” — Usher Featuring Jadakiss
  7. “Broken Clocks” — SZA
  8. “I Want You” — Common
  9. “Marvins Room” — Drake
  10. “Love Lockdown” — Kanye West

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