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    14 Of The Steamiest Love Songs Released Since 2019 To Play For Your Bae

    R&B releases so hot you’ll need a hose to cool off.

    Spring is here. Love is in the air. It's time to tap into the love song frequency.

    Two neon lights form the shape of a heart inside a heart

    1. “Time N Affection” by Rema and Chris Brown

    Chris Brown smiles on stage at a concert.

    The music video for "Time N Affection" features a looped visualization of an upside-down house that is on fire. The piece of art is the cover of Rema's album Rave & Roses.

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Music Group / Via youtube.com

    The house is cooking, and perhaps that represents the pressure that the men sing about feeling. The camera zooms into the window over and over again. The image is curiously reminiscent of the infamous “This is fine” meme.

    Not only does Rema want to give the girl his time and affection, but he pledges to stay with her.

    Chris Brown’s signature vocals open with airy ad-libs before his performance of the chorus closes with falsetto runs that are exquisite to the ear.

    Chris Brown sings on stage with a mic in his hand during his Indigoat tour.

    Tune into "Time N Affection" with your bae when you want to remind them of the place they hold in your heart.

    2. “Come for Me (Unlocked) (feat. Khalid & Lucky Daye)” by Alicia Keys

    Alicia Keys poses with her hands on her hips at a Hollywood event

    The electronic drum loop and synthesizer create an easygoing vibe. The artists' voices truly complement the instrumentation to make a song that feels complete and ready to repeat.

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Music Group / Via youtube.com

    Lucky Daye opens the first verse with a call to be looked into his eyes. “Look me in my eye, know you know the vibe. In you I confide, something I can't hide. Tell me what it's worth, I put in the work.” He sings about a man who then lets his lady know that she is the one he prefers, but it seems their relationship hit a snag.

    Khalid picks up the song with the second verse when he says he wants to be looked into his face then asks some questions that seek commitment and affirmation from the lover he sings to. “Are you good now? Are you staying ‘round? I just wanna know what that's about,” Khalid sings to close verse two.

    “Come for Me (Unlocked) (feat. Khalid & Lucky Daye)” is the type of track to cut on late at night while you two are out for a drive or staying in for some stay-at-home slow dance parties. 👀

    3. “Magic Hour” by Jhené Aiko

    Jhené Aiko poses at a Hollywood event

    The song rings like a lullaby. In some traditions the magic hour is also known as the "golden hour," which is the last hour before a golden sunset.

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Music Group / Via youtube.com

    To any artist, the golden hour is optimal for photography and other projects that make use of the golden light, even if they are just inspired by it.

    The message of the song is one about miracles. The miracle may be the singer. It may be the person to whom the singer opens their heart. Maybe both are miracles, and there is another miracle between them. This kind of high vibrational love music is where Aiko has developed her niche.

    For Jhené, the magic hour is the perfect one to request and receive miracles because the divine hour represents the universal law of transformation.

    “Magic Hour” is the type of song to listen to while embracing or being embraced by your significant other while sitting before the golden sunset during the magic hour. Go ahead — wish for miracles. Why not?

    4. “Oxygen” by Emeli Sandé

    Emeli Sandé sings in front of a microphone with her hands slightly raised above her hips

    The March 2022 single “Oxygen” by Emeli Sandé is a love song from someone who seeks to get to know the depths of their partner.

    The instrumentation is simple and elegant.

    Sandé's background vocals kick up the airy sound of her voice, creating an effect that does feel as if the listener is between the sheets. The lyric “kiss me hard like I’m your only oxygen” could be mistaken to mean that she is the source of his oxygen. But this is quickly dispelled when the singer continues, “Feels as if you’re teaching me to breathe. Baby, please stay close. You are my oxygen.” 

    In fact, it seems oxygen is a metaphor for the profound impact the mates have on each other’s lives. 

    “Too much small talk, well, my darling, that's bad for our health. Turns your talks so small, you'll turn into somebody else,” Sandé opens the first verse.

    View this video on YouTube

    Emeli Sandé / Via youtube.com

    Small talk isn’t enough for her because she yearns to create a world with him where they can be who they truly are.

    “Swimming in the shallow end really ain't getting us far. I wanna know where you've been, who you need, why you left, why you cry. I wanna know who you are,” she closes the verse.

    “Oxygen” is perfect to listen to when the candles are lit and your hearts are open. It’s a song about appreciation for the light that brought you and your mate together.

    5. “Too Much” by Jacob Banks

    Jacob Banks sings on stage while wearing a hat and sunglasses.

    The artist sings these words to the lady he loves: “‘Cause I’ve been waiting my whole life to feel your embrace. See I’ve been waiting my whole life to feel the sun on my face.”

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Music Group / Via youtube.com

    A guitar is strung in the background with a few chords on repeat to set the pace and mood of the song as soon as Banks’ soulful voice enters on "Too Much."

    Like Emeli Sandé, Jacob Banks has a powerful voice that screams, “I sang in a church,” in a way that reminds me of home. Play this song for the one you love to remind her that she can never be too much. She is who she is who she was created to be.

    Banks uses the booming sound of his voice to express the depth and boundlessness of his love for his woman.

    The booming sound rises and falls throughout the song. It even transitions into his falsetto, which showcases his more tender side.

    “So if you ever need to change. If you ever need to hideaway. If you ever need some space. You could never be too much,” he sings to a woman who could be his lady, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, daughter. The type of love that this song is written about transcends any relationship title. The song is a pledge to love the woman no matter who she becomes or what she needs because the work of loving her will never be too much. It is a song with a message about pure love and spiritual maturity.

    "Too Much" is a song to cut on at the cookout or a grown folks' dinner party to remind everyone in your circle to be the mate that promised their significant other they would be.

    6. “Ooh Ahh!” by Miguel

    Miguel sings on stage while smiling holding a mic stand in his hand.

    When Miguel’s voice enters the first verse, the audience experiences his falsetto slide across the track.

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Music / Via youtube.com

    It’s enough to shatter a few bones, and where he takes the song isn’t for the faint at heart. “Let's forth this pain and pleasure… Let me free your mind… A dirty little girl like you. Needs to be mine,” Miguel sings. The character in his song goes on to welcome fantasies and fetishes to run free in the domain of where he offers his lover to get dirty. 

    This song is right on brand for Miguel’s R&B sound that often tilts just as much toward Rock N' Roll. In true Rock N' Roll fashion, this song has a simple message that expresses one feeling, and it is right in your face. It’s about what goes down in the bedroom and being free for “exotic exploration.”

    “Ooh Ahh!” is the type of song to cut on when your boo arrives home and you have a sexy playtime surprise for them.

    7. “Energy” by DJ Tunez, Ashanti, and Adekunle Gold

    Ashanti poses at a BET event

    The R&B singer visited The Breakfast Club in December 2021 to share the news about re-recording her masters so she could collect her coins.

    The song is about a woman who is enveloped in a man’s energy — energy so good that she doesn’t want to let go.

    Kick up the “Energy” with bae by turning on this sultry song for some quality time in sandy waters on the beach.

    8. “What’s Up” by Anthony Lewis

    View this video on YouTube

    Anthony Lewis / Via youtube.com

    “What’s Up” kicks a really hard beat that screams, “Hit the highway and drive to me.” Los Angeles-born R&B singer Anthony Lewis released the jam in 2021.

    The song is about a guy who is having trouble pinning down the status of his relationship with a lady with whom he’s been intimate. “Every time I see you in the club. You act like you don't show no love. Even on the low we fuck. I need to know what's up,” Lewis sings. Sounds like the woman ignores the man in the club, but low-key they meet up on some sneaky-link-type stuff. 

    There’s some talk about erotic happenings near a window, but for some reason, she is acting like she doesn’t know his name anymore, and he is not with that undercover lover life.

    “Didn't even know we was undercover. Acting like we not underneath them covers. But you didn't have to change, girl?” Unfortunately for the crooner, it sounds like she did change up on him.

    “What’s Up” has club banger vibes that could work well for some role play with bae where you meet up in a club for a sneaky link scene.

    9. “Pressure” by Ari Lennox

    Ari Lennox sings on stage while smiling in front of a mic stand.

    “Pressure” here can mean many things, but I’ll let your imagination run wild.

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Music Group / Via youtube.com

    The lyrics suggest that the song is about a woman who needs a bit more fire, intensity, and maybe even consistency from a particular interested party. 

    Even though she’s getting text messages from the suitor, it seems like that isn’t enough for the singer anymore because she wanted to be embraced for who she was before she was fire. “Now you textin' me. You know I won't reply? Why you ain't fuck with me when I wasn't this fly,” she sings. But still, she’s saying that she wants that pressure from him. Something the singer repeats throughout the piece, signaling that the song is flirtatious and playful.

    “Pressure” is perfect to playfully tease your lover with when you two are coming out of a little tiff. Use it to acknowledge the conflict and ignite reconnection.

    10. “Ooh Laa” by John Legend

    John Legend smiles while posing at a Hollywood event

    I love the range of John Legend’s soulful music because even the songs about sex come through his emotionally mature lens. It’s sexy, sexual, but not lewd. It’s freaky and respectful. It’s a gift Legend has. I love this song so much that I introduced it on The Kelly Clarkson Show for Kellyoke.

    Oh my… “Ooh Laa” is a banger. How does John Legend do it?

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Music Group / Via youtube.com

    “Come and get me wasted. This is dedicated to that, 'Ooh-laa.' Run it to me real quick. I be going stupid for that, 'Ooh-laa,'” John Legend's voice booms. It’s the music I wanna hear because I easily get lost in this chorus. 

    “Get a little louder, scream it in my ear, yeah. Spin it 'round, let it bounce some. Up and down, think we found something. Smack it, flip it, rub it down,” he continues in the chorus.

    The man in John Legend’s song proclaims himself as a romantic who would cross the Atlantic Ocean for that “Ooh-laa,” and he’ll even wear his best tuxedo. Basically, if the “Ooh-laa” is hitting right, this man is ready to be there.

    Cut on “Ooh Laa” around your lover when you want to remind them how good their bedroom game is to you.

    11. “And Then Life Was Beautiful” by Nao

    Nao opens the first verse with lyrics that are so relatable. “Change came like a hurricane. 2020 hit us differently. And even though I didn't want it. The slow life got a hold of me. How to float when there's no control?”

    By the end of the first verse, Nao sings about hope, clarity, and truth.

    View this video on YouTube

    RCA / Via youtube.com

    “That's when you know what matters to you. Hope will come someday soon. Been in the darkness for a while. We’ll see the rays shinin' down.” It’s as if she’s describing a spiritual transformation.

    Then the chorus washes over the audience. “And then life was beautiful. Feel the waves ’til we rise.” The vocal runs and harmonies set the song off so well.

    “And Then Life Was Beautiful” is a great song to send to your love just to remind them that growth is beautiful.

    12. “Could Be” by Brandy Haze

    In the chorus, Haze essentially says that if the two are in agreement with each other about what they want, then they’re a couple.

    View this video on YouTube

    Brandy Haze Music / Via youtube.com

    She sings, “If I say what I want and you want the same. If you're staying home tonight and need some company. If I send you picture of my lingerie. If I say I gotta leave and you ask me to stay,” while the phrase “could be a vibe, yeah” is interspersed. 

    “Could Be” is the song to drop in a text to someone as a cute way to show that you want to make things official, or send it to bae as a playful flirt.

    13. “Love Is the New Black” by Anthony Hamilton

    Anthony Williams sings onstage in front of a mic stand

    “Love Is the New Black” appears on Anthony Hamilton’s album of the same title.

    Hamilton keeps it simple and soulful with this sleek track. “I know where I'm going. You know where it's at. One thing that's for sure. Love is the new black,” he sings. Hamilton can also be heard singing, “You’re welcome,” in the background.

    Hamilton’s message is about Black Love. He is about that Black Love. It’s where he’s going. It’s where it’s at. That’s it. This type of songwriting is common in soul music. Phrase repetition with varying emotive effects can be seen in the work of James Brown and Ray Charles.

    “Love Is the New Black” is a song of celebration for Black couples and Black Love admirers to cut on at the kickback.

    14. “U Move, I Move” by John Legend featuring Jhené Aiko

    John Legend sings onstage while playing the piano

    The pre-chorus and chorus describe a loving relationship that exhibits balance and order.

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Music Group / Via youtube.com

    “When I'm lost, you give me order. Pull me back and push me forward… When you move, I move (I move). Move (I'm caught in your groove). Yeah, I'm gonna stay right next to you. Wherever you going, I'm going too.”

    "U Move, I Move" also has a clever connection to the culture.

    This song references Ludacris’s single “Stand Up,” which features the chorus “When I move, you move. Just like that.” To take it a level deeper into the culture, Ludacris’s “Stand Up” bares a similar message as the song “Da Dip” by Freak Nasty, where the chorus is “I put my hand upon your hip. When I dip, you dip, we dip." John Legend’s “U Move, I Move” is his take on the same concept presented in these hip-hop songs but through his R&B and soul lens.

    Jhené Aiko opens the second verse with words that get at the heart of sharing one's soul.

    Jhené Aiko poses on the red carpet at the Grammys

    “U Move, I Move” is the cut for candlelight dinners and boat trips with bae.

    This is my list of love songs to enjoy while basking in the "warm embrace" of your mate. Go forth and be loving.

    Write in the comments to tell me your fave R&B love songs that have dropped since the pandemic began.