These crooning tunes will make any romantic’s heart skip a beat.
Is there anything better than being serenaded with a soulful R&B song? If you ask me, very few things can compare.
R&B is a genre that’s known for sexy, sensual love songs that are designed to seduce. Some of the best singers out there melt when they hear the right R&B track, and you know what? That’s totally okay.
If you’re looking to make a mixtape for your lover, these R&B love songs are a must.
1. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
“And I will always love you”
Whitney Houston’s power ballad is one of the best love songs and gives everyone chills, simply because of how amazingly well it’s sung. Her vocals really show off their abilities in this one, and the lyrics couldn’t be more loving if they tried (you can thank Dolly Parton for that).
This isn’t just one of the best R&B love songs of all time — it’s one of the best modern songs of all time, period.
2. “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys
“Some people want it all
But I don’t want nothing at all
If it ain’t you, baby”
Have you ever loved someone so much, they become the only thing you care about? Alicia Keys sure did. Her song perfectly captures that yearning feeling that we’ve all experienced, all while celebrating how much love can mean to a person.
This song is one of the many, many love songs that Alicia Keys made deserving of mention. That being said, we had to pick just one. This one might just be the most soulful of all her songs, and that means something serious.
3. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
“All I’m askin’ for
Is a little respect when I get home”
This might not really seem like a love song at first, but hear me out. Aretha Franklin’s most famous hit is all about a woman who works hard every day, all for a man she loves. The only thing she really wants in return is love and respect.
There’s something naturally endearing about a song that discusses the importance of having a loving, respectful relationship. That’s what makes this a pretty epic love song in its own right.
4. “All My Life” by K-Ci & Jojo
“I will never find another lover
More precious than you.”
When it comes to R&B love songs, very few immediately come to mind the way that K-Ci & Jojo’s classic 90s hit works. This entire track celebrates finding “The One,” and realizing that the person you’re with is the one you were waiting for your entire life.
Every bar of this track is sung with the same enthusiasm of a person who realizes that the search for love is over. If you need a song that just brings a smile to your face or gets you feeling excited for love, this is it.
5. “At Last” by Etta James
My love has come along
My lonely days are gone”
Etta James was known for being a pioneer of R&B, and for having a rich, velvety voice. This song showcases her voice in a way that is nothing short of awe-striking. It’s a slow, crooning song that’s all about getting butterflies in your stomach and never having to worry about being alone again.
Due to the sheer level of romanticism in this song, “At Last” became one of the most popular R&B songs for weddings. Honestly, it’s a great choice and a perennial classic. So, it makes sense.
6. “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
“Who’s going to talk to me till the sun comes up?
Who’s going to take your place?
There is nobody better
Oh, baby, baby, we belong together”
Mimi definitely knows how to make a good love song. She’s famous for it, and “We Belong Together” is one of the biggest hits she’s created. In this song, Mariah tells the story of a girl who just broke up with a guy who really was the love of her life. She begs him to come back to her.
Anyone who’s experienced a breakup has felt this way, and that’s actually what makes this track so relatable. I mean, who hasn’t asked an ex to come back before?
7. “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé
“When you leave
I’m begging you not to go
Two or three times in a row”
Love craze is a thing, you know. When you click with someone just right, it’s hard to control yourself. You tend to act out in ways that would embarrass the normal you. Even Queen Bey is susceptible to it, at least if you hear what she has to say in this track.
This song is old school in the best way possible. Along with being one of the hottest dance tracks of the 2000s, “Crazy in Love” became a nostalgia-inducing track that brings millions of people back to their high school days.
8. “Back at One” by Brian McKnight
“One, you’re like a dream come true
Two, just wanna be with you”
Brian McKnight quickly gained a reputation for being the ultimate R&B romantic during the late 90s. It’s a reputation that’s well earned. Almost all of his hits involved romancing women, talking about a girl’s beauty, or just showing what it means to really have romantic attraction.
“Back at One” tells the beautiful story of a guy who just wants to make a woman happy, and vows to never stop romancing her. It’s a story that will melt your heart, and make you wonder how you can be more romantic towards your spouse. Seriously, Brian McKnight is #goals.
9. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
“Now December found the love that we shared in September
Only blue talk and love
Remember the true love we share today”
Earth, Wind & Fire were some of the biggest pioneers of R&B during the 70s. Their disco-esque take on R&B and Motown was what really made the 70s such an epic time to be alive. This song’s classic beat and old school lyrics remind people to cherish the memories and keep the love alive, whether it’s fall, winter, summer, or spring.
True love is only found once in a blue moon. Earth, Wind & Fire managed to make a danceable beat that reminds us of the fact, all while keeping things incredibly groovy. Bellbottoms, anyone?
10. “All of Me” by John Legend
“Because all of me
Loves all of you”
John Legend put his name on the map when he delivered this soulful, endearing track back in the early 2010s. It’s a song that is all about honest love, minus the Photoshop and public appearance factor that comes in play during so many modern relationships.
It was this slow, heartfelt ballad that became one of the most popular R&B songs to be played during weddings in the past decade. This track, simply put, is romance through and through. What’s not to love?
11. “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men
“I’ll make love to you
Like you want me to”
Boyz II Men was not just an R&B group of the 90s; they were the 90s R&B boy band. Their smooth voices, amazing harmony, and epic slow dance beats were what made 90s R&B popular. Their crowning achievement as far as romance-heavy tunes go was “I’ll Make Love to You.”
Along with being one of the most tender songs about sex to come out of that decade, Boyz II Men were able to capture what it means to have sex in a loving manner while keeping it classy. Needless to say, this is still baby-making music today.
12. “Creep” by TLC
“The twenty seconds of loneliness
And we’ve been through so many things
I love my man with all honesty
But I know he’s cheating on me
Look him in the eyes
But all he tells me is lies to keep me near”
Did you ever have a lover that you really shouldn’t have? Maybe it was a married individual. Maybe it’s a person who just didn’t want to say they were taken by you. TLC was a trio of ladies who totally understood it, and even wrote a song about it.
TLC’s “Creep” is all about cheating on a love who you know is also cheating on you. It’s a weird moral morass that can’t really be fully understood until you’ve been in this position. It’s relatable, especially when you hear all the justifications in the lyrics.
13. “Is It A Crime?” by Sade
“Is it a crime
That I still want you?”
Sade’s voice is made for lovemaking music, plain and simple. Her voice oozes sensuality in a way that most never can, and when it comes to her songs? Oh, well it’s pretty much a done deal. They are romantic and as hyper-sexual as you can get without going into smutty territory.
This elegantly sexy track is all about the steamy, passionate vibes that come from a forbidden love. It’s that feeling of loving someone that’s so right, it can’t be wrong, even if common sense dictates otherwise.
14. “My Boo” by Alicia Keys and Usher
“Even before all the fame and
People screaming your name
Girl I was there and you were my baby”
Alicia Keys and Usher teamed up to make one of the biggest hits of the last decade, and for that, we’re all thankful. This unique love song isn’t quite about the kind of struggles typical couples feel. Rather, it’s about making it through all the turmoil of fame together.
This is a victory lap of a song, talking about how much stuff a couple can go through and still stay together. If you’re in a relationship that’s seen it all, you’ll definitely enjoy this pop-friendly smash hit from yesteryear.
15. “Sexy Love” by Ne-Yo
“Ohh I love
Making love to you”
Danceable R&B songs about lovemaking are a dime a dozen, but very few can be as catchy as this one. Ne-Yo’s “Sexy Love” is all about attraction that goes beyond the physical into the mental.
This duet’s a must for anyone looking for a romantic R&B song to share at a karaoke bar. It’s also a wonderful choice for a couple’s song. Early 2000s R&B never quite sounded as pure and epic as when Ne-Yo sang this hit.
16. “My Girl” by The Temptations
“I’ve got all the riches baby one man can claim
Oh, yes I do
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
Motown and R&B came together in this song in an absolutely beautiful way. “My Girl” might be a serenade about a special girl, but it’s so much more than just a dedication to a lucky lady. It’s a song that captures the innocent thrill of a new relationship in all its glory.
R&B usually focuses on the sexual, but not The Temptations. This classic hit is about pure, innocent love. Even though it’s over three decades old, this hit still manages to bring a smile to lovers’ faces because of how eloquently it discusses love.
17. “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” by D’Angelo
“I can provide everything that you desire
Said if you get a feeling
Feeling that I am feeling
Won’t you come closer to me baby?”
Back before all the hubbub of the 50 Shades franchise, there were artists who would make one-off music releases who would involve elements of the sexy and kinky. D’Angelo gained his notoriety from appearing stark naked in a super-sexy music video talking about how he wants to get with a girl.
With subtle nods to BDSM and all-encompassing desire, D’Angelo gives an amazing tribute to women who are approached by men for the fling of a lifetime. It’s slow, sexy, and incredibly heartfelt. It’s glorious like that.
18. “Thinkin About You” by Frank Ocean
“You were my first
A new feel”
Sexually-charged, nostalgic, and at the same time aggressive in a lovable way, Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ About You” is totally unforgettable. This song is a story about a guy who had a not-so-serious fling years ago, only to be unable to stop thinking about the way the girl rocked his world.
Frank Ocean repeatedly says lines that say it’s just a fling, but at the same time, it feels like he’s just trying to tell himself that he’s not interested. It’s romantic, in the rebelliously wild kind of way.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. She writes primarily about lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships. You can follow her Twitter.