Every week, a different FADER editor compiles a playlist to highlight a new release and give you a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers. These Staff Selects live in our Spotify app, alongside GEN Fs from our archives and playlists for each issue. This week, it’s Naomi Zeichner on gushy love songs.
In February, 2010, I worked at schools all over the city, and sometimes I sat on the train or bus for four hours a day. It was impossible to make that trip without hearing Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh,” and usually the song would be around when I got home too, floating out of passing cars and the apartments abutting my bedroom’s window. I recorded “Hold Yuh” as a voice memo on my phone and made it my ringtone. The guy I’d been dating, who’d eventually become my boyfriend, winced very time it rang.
Three years have passed and we’re still together. Even though he never enjoyed “Hold Yuh,” I think of him when I hear it, each of the song’s plinks still a palpable shot of oxytocin. Here, it kicks off a Valentine’s parade of songs about the lusty, entangled side of relationships—earnestly smiling, gooey tracks that celebrate feeling invested, loving hard because you feel loved back and never letting go. Each song is tied to an affair of my own, from summer camp crushes to “new adult” monogamy, and of 21 tracks, only a handful bother to acknowledge the bitterness of love gone bad. Beyoncé and The-Dream, as songwriters and performers, make multiple appearances. I’m still not sure whether the core thesis of many of the love songs they’ve worked on together—that a strong woman can find power and happiness through a committed relationship to a strong man—is a deluding fiction or real thing. Meanwhile, Buju Banton’s “Love Sponge” tugs at my heart as much as it ever did, its With you I’m in no hurry refrain generous and reasonable enough to feel right for right now.
Stream: This One 4 My Bb