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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Assessing Your Valentine by Their Playlist
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and the one form of music that represents the day better than any other is R&B. Believe it or not, with everything a man may do for his lady on this day, the soundtrack to which it’s all done is just as important. Now, we all have our preferred artists, but since this day is about the ladies all the guys of the world need to put their favorites to the side and break out whatever albums their significant other wants to hear. This is where things get interesting, because you can tell a lot about the woman you’re dating simply by her choice of R&B singer. And ladies, you should be fully aware of what your selections say about you. This is why this week, as a public service for the Valentine’s Day community, I’m going to run down a list of ten prominent R&B artists and break down what a selection of their music represents.

Chris Brown – One of the hottest young singers of today. Just remember to put the emphasis on young. His “No Air” duet with former American Idol Jordin Sparks may leave your girl breathless, but if it seems like there’s a little too much fandom on her part you may want to check ID, because algebra homework and a curfew may be in her immediate future, while fifteen to twenty may be in yours.

Usher – Usher is a bit tricky when trying to ascertain how your Valentine’s Day is going to go. If it’s the Usher of Confessions fame you’re probably all good, but if it’s the much more recent Here I Stand Usher you could be with a girl hinting at marriage. That’s fine if you’re on the same page, but just know what you’re getting into when she suggests you put on his latest album. Usher’s more mature now and your date probably expects you to be, too.

Marvin Gaye / Boyz II Men – The night is going to end very nicely if your date decides either of these artists are the right ones to play. The songs “Let’s Get It On” and “I’ll Make Love To You” are almost always followed by a reenactment of their choruses. If these are your girl’s picks she’s looking to get lucky just as much as you are. Be aware, though, you might be dealing with an older woman, as both of these artists are more appreciated most by the “grown and sexy” crowd.

Brian McKnight – Much like Marvin Gaye and Boyz II Men, you might want to find out just how many presidential elections your date has been able to vote in when she chooses a Brian McKnight album. Here’s a good rule of thumb, however old she says she is, add five years. Brian McKnight’s songs are beautiful, intricate, and usually underappreciated by the younger audience, so if you have a girl who claims to be 30, assume she’s 35, and if she claims to be 35, then she’s damn near 40!

Robin Thicke / John Legend – Robin Thicke and John Legend are the new school equivalent of Brian McKnight. Unlike with Brian McKnight, though, if your girl chooses Robin Thicke or John Legend she’s probably not lying about her age. In addition to that bit of good news, their music also sets the mood perfectly.

Ne-Yo – Ne-Yo is a tough call. He definitely has his fair share of love songs, but a lot of his music is also intended to make a listener dance, which means your date might not be all that interested in anything other than a good time (ahem, HER idea of a good time, which is not necessarily the same as yours). Partying it up is all well and good, but just realize this is no sure thing. A selection of Ne-Yo essentially puts you back at square one when it comes to having any kind of knowledge of where things might go. For the ladies this would be an artist to pick if you want to remain a bit of a mystery.

Musiq – Another great artist for ladies who don’t want to reveal too much, on the same album where he sang a song titled “Love” he also had one about being “Just Friends.” What are you supposed to think with that kind of a mixed message? You could drive yourself “Halfcrazy” trying to figure it out, so rather than racking your brain, just enjoy the fact that your date has terrific taste in music and let the night lead where it may.

R. Kelly – In 2009, if your date openly wants R. Kelly set the mood for your Valentine’s Day evening, I’m sorry to report that there’s a good chance you may be dating a hood rat. Even before his trials R. Kelly was in poor standing for making lewd innuendos about his car when singing about women (“You Remind Me of Something,” “Ignition”), so any girl that still has him in their romantic music playlist after everything else that’s come out about him is definitely not alright. If she expresses a love of R. Kelly and it’s still possible to break the date, do it, and if she says she wants his music played because she’s “friends” with him, call the police because there might be an Amber Alert out for her.

Remember, your musical taste says a lot more about you than you may think, so set the mood right this February 14th and make it a good one.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.

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