Mixtape: Soft songs for super sensitive men

By Kira Rea and Grace Benefiel

As seniors, with only a semester left, some of us have hit a pretty nostalgic point in our lives, so we’ve decided to bring it back with some old school hits, when R&B could take us away. R&B and its counterpart Hip Hop dominated the music scene in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Billboard’s records show from 2000 to 2009 R&B and Hip Hop artists came out as the top artists of the year regardless of their album sales. Powerhouse voices like Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Destiny’s Child gave us some amazing independent female anthems and as much as we love them for it, we think it’s high time the soft-spoken men are recognized on Mixtape for their soulful voices and sweet, sweet loving.


Ne-Yo – So Sick


Perhaps the most famous of Ne-Yo’s singles is the love song to end all love songs, that’s right: So Sick. The 2006 hit single is actually about a real life break up between Ne-yo and his first love, he says in an interview with Billboard, “… A lot of heartbreak went into that song, so that’s why I think a lot of people dug it the way they did – because you can feel it.” We certainly can Ne-yo, we certainly can. With a voice soft and smooth like butter, Ne-yo confesses his love for his ex boo, despite being sick of missing her, he can’t stop. “I’m so sick of love songs, so sad and slow, so why can’t I turn off the radio?” Not only is Ne-yo sick of writing love songs but he professes this in a love song itself! We can’t possibly be the only ones to appreciate this level of artistic irony. Nevertheless, So Sick will go down in history as one of the top love songs of the early 2000s, and it’s no wonder why.


Mario – Let Me Love You


This song was written by the beloved Ne-Yo and is perfect for the faithful man. Not only does Mario break through the objectification of women, but destroys gender roles as he expresses his desire to care for his love. While he points out how beautiful this woman is he also makes it known that women in general deserve better than their significant other often gives them. With Mario’s sultry voice and Ne-Yo harmonizing in the background, it  makes us feel surrounded by love. If you’re looking for a way to let your boo know that you can treat them right, this song is the way to go.


Usher – Burn


    Usher is the perfect role model for any man with a soft side going through a breakup. He was the (more humble) Drake of the 2000s, turning his pain into poetry. He dominated the charts with every single. Usher dropped back to back singles in 2004 with “Yeah!” which lasted a whopping 12 weeks on Billboard’s Top 100 followed by “Burn” which lasted seven, racking in a 19 week consecutive reign on the top of the charts. The record had previously been held by Boyz II Men who were also deities of the early 2000s R&B era. The intro to “Burn” is a touching monologue by Usher who admits his inner turmoil for his fading relationship. While Usher acknowledges it’s better for both him and his boo to go their separate ways, it’s also killing him inside to part with someone he’s loved for so long. The rhythm is perfectly set up to sound like a heartbeat, binding the listener to the emotion of the song. Hitting notes like none other, Usher breaks our heart with every line.


Usher –  U Got it Bad


“U Got it Bad” topped Billboard’s charts for the first week of its release, only falling the following week after Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” was dropped. Miraculously, the single returned to the top of the charts in its third week of release and stayed number one for another five. “U Got it bad” with its “slow-burning bass lines” (attributed to MTV), is about finding your one true boo and regretting the relationship’s subsequent break up. The song itself is lackluster when it comes to lyric variety but the emotions Usher’s passionate voice brings to the table is what truly makes this song stand out in comparison to other old school R&B hits.


Ginuwine – Differences


    Differences was the number one single in the U.S. R&B top charts for four weeks in 2001 for a good reason. This song makes any man or woman melt at the idea of love that Ginuwine projects. It is for any lovestruck man who can’t stop thinking about his honey. Written for his wife (known as Sole) Ginuwine writes a love ballad where you can hear the, well, genuine passion. While this song lacks creative lyrics and generally has no central conflict, it has the sweet, smooth, “rock your body” flare that is embedded in early 2000s R&B. If your life is simply perfect and your relationship is going flawlessly, we highly recommend this song.