Every month The FADER brings you the best R&B songs in the world. Here's February's list, featuring Brent Faiyaz, Kehlani, UMI, Kyle Dion, and more.
"Let Me Know" — Brent Faiyaz
Brent Faiyaz asks the tough questions as he struggles with self-love on "Let Me Know." Fuck the World as a whole is a great R&B project, which made choosing one cut difficult, but the harmonies on this one seal the deal.
"Moment" — Victoria Monét
Victoria Monét uses her gift for sensual vocals to convince her lover to seize the day, over a seductive baseline and moaning violins.
Kehlani, "Valentine's Day (Shameful)"
This! Energy! Ladies, we're kicking ass and refusing to drop names from now on. The growth that has. *chef's kiss*.
[Redacted], ya finished, ya done.
Col3trane, "Someone To Watch Over Me"
Col3trane battles with the effect that a lack of direction has on his self esteem on this beautiful, sensitive search for guidance. And who couldn't use a guardian angel in 2020? It's rough out here.
SAYGRACE, "Crying Skies"
SAYGRACE delivers a soulful plea for honesty across a stunning and emotional build. "Crying Skies" is full of gentle moments that tug the heartstrings.
Jacob Lattimore, "Real Love"
Jacob Lattimore is on his grown and sexy. "Real Love" is the kind of hood love, summers-on-the-stoop song that needs more presence in the R&B revival. Keep that Bobby Valentino-type production alive.
UMI, "Picture Perfect"
This cut from UMI harnesses a dream world, lulling the listener with a looping harp and gentle, sometimes whispered vocals.
Thundercat, "Dragonball Durag"
Thundercat asking to both be lied to and told the truth at the same time is exactly my brand of delusional. His gift for bass is matched only by his refusal to take himself seriously and it's the kind of levity we need. I just feel nervous that anyone other than Thundercat will think they're allowed to wear a Dragonball Durag. It's simply not true.
Terrace Martin, "Lies"
I can think of a few Presidential candidates that need to hear this one.
Sevdaliza, "Oh My God"
Sevdaliza searches for herself across her signature experimental sound. The warbled, nostalgic feeling certain elements of the production evoke are amplified by these home-video style visuals.
Kyle Dion, "Time Heals Just Not Quick Enough"
The vocals. The vocals. And can I just say, the damn VOCALS. Kyle Dion needs to let people pay him to seduce their crushes on Cameo.
Diana Gordon, "Rollin'"
Diana Gordon is more punk that she lets on. This song is '90s grunge over trap bass and I'm 100% here for this version of the revival.
Iris Temple, "Chamomile"
No chamomile tea has ever lulled me into a hypnosis like this song. Reverberated keys and lightly vocoded vocals ring out to the ear like a singing bowl.
Zack Villere f. Dijon, "Rope Swing"
I love how dynamic this song is. It ends in such a different place than it starts, beginning with simple, sporadic synths and developing into an exploration of styles in brief vignettes.
Jhené Aiko f. Future & Miguel, "Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.)
Reclaiming a derogatory term as an empowered move towards happiness is the epitome of Jhené Aiko's ethos. Also in her ethos: singlehandedly arming the the hoes with Instagram captions for a lifetime.
tobi lou, "Hot Tub Dream Machine"
Tobi Lou's first releases of 2020 are two variations of this song — the upbeat, bubblegum version above and a more trap-leaning cut. I included this one because I appreciate the variety.
Justin Bieber f. Travis Scott, "Second Emotion"
I'm kind of into this "I just looked in a law journal" vibe Bieber's been toying with lately. I'm patiently awaiting the Playground L.A. dance videos that will come out of this.
Liv.e draws you in with a breezy instrumental and vocals to match. A perfect song for daydreaming of summer romance.
Pink $weats, "17"
Pink $weats said traditional romance is still alive. His latest ballad imagines a lifetime of youthful passion with his lover over a Tempations-era bassline.
Brent Faiyaz, "Rehab (Winter in Paris)"
I told you it was too hard to narrow down. Don't at me (if you ain't nasty).