It’s that time of the year again, ladies and gentlemen. Whether you’re having the time of your life out on a romantic date, or you’re snuggled up in bed with Netflix and ice cream (like the rest of us), I’m sure you have your Valentine’s Day playlist.
Even if you’re not out sipping wine and having a lovely time this Valentine’s Day, why not get in the spirit anyway? Who says you can’t celebrate the day of love by yourself? Let’s talk about some of the best music for this time of year, and maybe some artists to add to your playlist.
I’ll skip past some of the more obvious choices like The Weeknd and Ed Sheeran immediately and go to some lesser known artists. If you haven’t heard of Daniel Caesar by now, then you’re definitely missing out. I wouldn’t even say that he’s the kind of artist who you can only listen to while you’re with your other half either, because if you have ever listened to Freudian, then you’ll know full well that this is some of the most relaxing music around at the moment.
Freudian is exactly the kind of album that you can have playing in the background while just chilling at home, maybe doing some light reading or studying. The seamless transitions between songs create the perfect chill atmosphere for lounging around. Daniel Caesar has one of the most mesmerising singing voices not only in R’n’B, but maybe even in the current music scene. His incredible vocal range is in full swing throughout Freudian, and the appearances of other up and coming R’n’B artists such as H.E.R. and Kali Uchis really turn this album into a masterpiece. If I had to pick two favourites, they would be Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song) and We Find Love. Both songs feature beautiful instrumentals and vocals. Neu Roses is probably the best vocal performance on the album, with the first half of the song being entirely acapella, while We Find Love’s beautiful piano melodies and catchy chorus cement its place as the project’s centrepiece.
The next entry to add to your Valentine’s playlist is by none other than the twenty-year-old American sensation Khalid. I struggled to decide which of his two studio albums to include, but I eventually went with his first, the iconic American Teen. Released just under three weeks after his nineteenth birthday, American Teen was a great debut album for Khalid, and showed the world his promise as a future star in the making. While everyone and their mother has probably heard Young Dumb & Broke and knows how great it is, it’s some of the other lesser known songs which should be going straight on your playlists. Location is definitely one of the sexier and more relaxing tunes on this project, with its slow beat and cool lyrics, plus a cheeky bit of guitar and a choir thrown in for good measure. The song directly after that, Another Sad Love Song, is my personal favourite from the album. It’s a little more upbeat than Location, but just as smooth, and is sure to have you bopping your head by the time the first chorus comes around.
I don’t even care how big this next artist is, because I have to put Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! in here somewhere. This album gets a lot of credit and is very highly regarded, and rightly so. While Redbone is the most popular song from this musical masterpiece, there isn’t a single tune that I ever skip when listening to it – it’s that good. For some people, it may take a few listens, but there is no doubt in my mind that, regardless of what kind of music you enjoy most, there will be a degree of appreciation for this album. The mashup of psychedelic funk and soul that resonates the entire way through is perfect for a Valentine’s Day playlist (or any playlist for that matter). If you’re going to take anything away from this today, then please, listen to this album. You won’t be disappointed.
The last artist going on this list, because unfortunately I can’t go on forever (honourable mentions to SZA, Jorja Smith, Jhene Aiko and Brent Faiyaz), is Ella Mai, who represents the Brits out of this list. Her self-titled album released last year is oozing with great R’n’B tracks. The first song that would probably catch your eye on the album is Watchamacallit, featuring Chris Brown. This is a great song to get you into the rest of the project, with a vintage, breezy performance full of stellar vocals.
So remember boys and girls, hit play and enjoy your Valentine’s Day, whether you’re on a date, or you’re single!
by Joshua O’Mahoney