I’m not a liar. I may be a bit forgetful, but I’m not a liar. I told y’all last summer that I was going to do a post about “The Top Most Greatest Non-Rap Songs of all Time”. I tweaked the title a little, choosing to violate both spelling and grammar rules rather than just grammar. But luckily, the list itself has been completed for a while and was just sittin’ around chillin’ cuz…well…I forgot about it.
About a year ago, I wrote this post about my confusing/disappointing/dying love affair with rap music. It spawned many music-centered discussions with people. Although I once considered rap my favorite genre of music, I’ve always listened to all kinds. Sadly, I don’t feel like ANY of the genres are as good now as they once were. But hey, that’s a whole nother post, right?
So, friends, these are my top 11 favoritest non-rap songs of all time. I tried to just do 10 for the sake of conforming to industry standards (whatever that means). But then I remembered that this is MY blog and I’ve never conformed to standards before, so why start now?
Here we go…
11) Bonnie Raitt – “Something To Talk About” (1991)
This is a cool bluesy, pop, country song. Bonnie’s voice is very relaxing to me. And this is one of those songs that’s easy to sing along with…which is important to people like me who can’t carry a tune, but still try.
10) TLC – “Creep” (1994)
The video sealed the deal for me on this song. This was the first video that TLC had that was a real video and this was also the first time we saw them without all the condoms hanging off their clothes. I really liked the colors in the video, the choreography (which to this day, I can still do), and especially the horns.
9) [tie] Otis Redding – “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (1965)
If you look up soulful in the dictionary, you would find a picture of this man singing this song. You know, if pictures in dictionaries did that kind of thing. His voice is so comforting and familiar to me, like I knew him. Sorta like he was my uncle or cousin or something. And it is interesting that he was so young (24 years old) when he recorded this song. He’d undoubtedly experienced a lot during his short life.
9) [tie] Aretha Franklin – “Natural Woman” (1967)
The first time I can recall really paying attention to this song was when I heard it in a Chic commercial for some mom jeans circa 1989. Funny thing is that I didn’t really appreciate it or pay close attention to the lyrics until Mary J. Blige re-made it in 1996. Props to Mary – I love her, too, mind you. But I think even she would agree that no one can sing this song quite like the Queen of Soul.
8 ) Donny Hathaway – “Giving Up” (1971) and “A Song for You” (1971)
I can’t decide which one because I LOVE them both. So I guess this is another tie. Mr. Hathaway’s cover of both of these songs is painfully beautiful and beautifully painful. This man is easily the best male vocalist ever. His voice is absolutely flawless and he is the only one whose voice does the lyrics to either song justice. IMHO.
7) Evanescence – “My Immortal” (2004)
I fell in love with this song the very first time I heard it. It’s one of those songs where you think, “How did they steal all of the thoughts out of my head? And how can I get royalties?” I especially enjoyed that I could understand all the words in the song, which is not something I could say for a lot of their alternative/rock peers at that time.
6) Prince – “Kiss” (1986)
This song came out when I was 5 years old. I thought Prince was so awesome that my birthday cake that year (for my 6th birthday) had this picture from the Parade album cover on it. [Note: This is not a joke. There are pictures somewhere of me and this cake.] Sure, the lyrics were a little risqué (and by a little, I mean a lot) for a kindergartener. Or I guess they were…most of the time I couldn’t really understand what he was saying. But back then I would make up my own words if I didn’t understand exactly what the singer was saying. I’ve been known to do this as an adult, too, on occasion. There was a point during “Kiss” when I thought he was saying, “My love will be your food.” And later I learned that he was actually saying, “My love will be your food.” Sooo…maybe that wasn’t the best example. Anywho…
[Ok…so…Prince DOES. NOT. PLAY. when it comes to copyright protection. This video is very hard to find. But try this link: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9wu33_prince-kiss_music. Hopefully, they won’t take it down before I publish this post!]
5) Michael Jackson – “The Way You Make Me Feel” (1987)
Even at 7 years old, you COULD NOT tell me that Michael wasn’t singing this song directly to me. And only me. Despite the fact that there was some other chick who WASN’T me in the video. It took me years to stop hating Ola Mae (the girl from the Thriller video), so to deal with the heartbreak of again not being selected for one of his videos was not easy.
4) Aaliyah – “One in a Million” (1996)
I LOVE the irregular beat of this song. I can’t remember if it was a Timbaland or Missy Elliott beat, but the lyrics, combined with Aaliyah’s voice, style, and dance moves in the video = Perfection.
3) Al Green – “Simply Beautiful” (1972)
Another song I fell in love with the second I heard it. It was featured in the movie Disappearing Acts, but not on the movie soundtrack. Even though I had never heard the song before, I instantly recognized it as Al Green’s voice. At the time, I pulled one of those numbers where you go into Bob’s Used CD store and sing the song to the guy who works there to try to figure out what it is. I recall him kindly suppressing his laughter as he called his co-workers over to listen to me sing the song and help us figure out what the song was. However, they didn’t suppress their laughter. None of them were any help. But I eventually found the song anyway.
2) Janet Jackson – “I Get Lonely” (1998)
Yet another song that was already great but made so much better by the video and awesome choreography. I recently realized (and by recently, I mean like last week) that, although I can do most of this routine, I learned it backwards because I do it in the same direction as she does it on TV! So I should have learned it on the reverse side. I mean, this might not seem important, but in the event I am ever asked to be a back-up dancer for Janet I need to be able to do the routine in the right direction. So I may be absent from blogging for a few weeks while I re-learn all this. Janet was, is, and will always be my girl!
1) Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo – “Nothing Even Matters” (1998)
I get tingles up and down my spine EVERY time I hear this song. The lyrics. The instruments. The snaps. The voices. Nuff said.
So I realize that this might be cheating, but after I compiled this list of 11 (ok, 13) songs I thought, “This was WAY too easy. 31+ years of listening to music (and obviously a couple of these songs are older than I am) and I came up with this list in about 20 minutes…surely there is something I missed!” And I was right—as I usually am. So here are some honorable mentions that missed my list by this much. In no particular order:
- “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” and “My Love is Your Love” – Whitney Houston
- “U Got it Bad” – Usher Raymond
- “Uninvited” – Alanis Morissette
- “When Can I See You Again?” – Babyface
- “Do What it Do” – Jamie Foxx
- “Come and Talk to Me” – Jodeci
- “Early in the Morning” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” – The Gap Band (I can’t decide between these two…and honestly, they sound just alike anyway)
- “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” – John Mayer (not the biggest fan of him when his mouth is talking, but when his mouth is singing, that’s a whole nother story…)
- “Ribbon in the Sky” – Stevie Wonder
- “Lady Marmalade” – Patti LaBelle (NOT the Moulin Rouge chix)
- “Tell Me Something Good” – Chaka Khan ft. Rufus
What are some of your favorite songs? And why? Share them with me in the comments section!