This Week’s Top 10 Urban Adult Contemporary: The Finest in Grown-and-Sexy Soul and R&B

1. Beyoncé, “Love on Top”

Scoring no. 1s. Breast-feeding in public. Your fave could never!
Grade: B
Best YouTube Comment: “I sang this song great. Very hard song to sing. Me and Beyonce are the only people who can sing it good.” —MrRodriguez1956

2. Robin Thicke, “Love After War”

Looks like Hype Williams is going through a French New Wave phase — or maybe just has been watching the trailer for Contempt. I bet he and Kanye project Godard movies on a blimp in the Amazon forest for a relaxing outdoor night screening. Here’s three ’60s French remakes I’d like to see Hype Williams direct:

  • Kanye West as Lemmy Caution in Alphaville.
  • Beyoncé as Catherine Deneuve’s character in Belle de Jour.
  • Rihanna as Anna Karina’s role in Vivre Sa Vie.

Williams, who hasn’t made a movie since Belly, is currently attached to direct an erotic thriller written by Joe Eszterhas called Lust, and I clearly will be first in line for that. Robin Thicke is thirsty, but he will keep scoring as long as Justin Timberlake’s falsetto remains out of commission. Thicke has a hilarious knack for making romantic gestures sound creepy (“Just drink this glass of wine”).
Grade: B-
Best YouTube Comment: “I know no one wants to hear this but thats a fucked up wig” —yourgirlliss

3. Anthony Hamilton, “Woo”

Hamilton sang backup on D’Angelo’s Voodoo and has one of those great, sandpapery soul voices that gives you shivers. His signature song “Charlene” is an all-time classic, and he is generally sort of underrated. Maybe the success of Adele will cause classic styles of R&B to come back as listeners inevitably tire of Chris Brown and every song being four-four handbag house. It’s not a contest, but Hamilton looks better in a yellow sweater than Robin Thicke just did.
Grade: A
Best YouTube Comment: “Anthony Hamilton is fine enough for me! He looks like a MAN, plus he has talent. His voice is so soulful. I like him. He knows what’s up and that’s the way he sings. Woo, he’s so bad.” —cookietwosweet

4. Estelle, “Thank You”

I wish I couldn’t hear the pitch-correcting software so clearly in the vocals for this, because otherwise I would be really into this Creative Source-sampling, Sade-style, “bittersweet rainy day in the big lonely city” song. It was written by Akon, who can sure write a hook, if not a bridge.
Grade: B+
Best YouTube Comment: “WOMENS ANTHEM…IF U EVA BEEN THRU…BIG UPS ESTELLE…” —1123tiffany

5. Tyrese, “Stay”

Did you hear the Amber Tamblyn-pretends-to-be-Amber Rose-and-sends-Tyrese-a-bunch-of-rap-demos prank earlier this week? Your life is worthless until you do. I didn’t really like this song.
Grade: C
Best YouTube Comment: “No way you could hate on this shit. Grown man music” —badguybigv

6. Cee Lo Green feat. Melanie Fiona, “Fool for You”

It’s funny that Cee Lo Green is the member of Goodie Mob that America has chosen to embrace, and not, say, Big Gipp. This song, produced by Plantlife’s Jack Splash, is the best solo Cee Lo (real name: Thomas DeCarlo Callaway) single in a long time. The version with Earth Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey is slightly superior to the Melanie Fiona duet, although the Fiona and Cee Lo version just won a Grammy. Fiona is a Canadian R&B singer who was once in a Toronto group, called The Renaissance, with Drake.
Grade: A-
Best YouTube Comment: “Played this song in the bedroom and ended up with twins SMH” —vanillagorilla22

7. Eric Benet, “Real Love”

I feel like Eric Benet was the first person I ever publicly heard claim to be a sex addict, when he got caught cheating on Halle Berry. How’s that working out for ya these days, Eric? His penance is that he has to make boring wedding videos like these forever. I didn’t know somebody could sound like a complete liar while they were singing, but here you go.
Grade: D
Best YouTube Comment: “I guess since Eric Benet took Prince’s ex-wife, he’d take his singing style, too…PEACE.” —BigBlackRod

8. Kem, “You’re on My Mind”

Goes down smooth and tastes a little like Al B. Sure’s “Night and Day.” This is picnic R&B — not middle-of-the-night phone call R&B. Kem is on Motown.
Grade: B+
Best YouTube Comment: “Kem is a Detroit Legend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” —vaugkarl1

9. Ledisi feat. Jaheim, “Stay Together”

Ledisi has an album with the awesome title of Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue. She has some other songs I enjoy more than this particular one. She toured with Kem on his INTIMACY tour. I like how it was in all caps. Because that’s how INTIMACY is. It’s INTIMATE.
Grade: B-
Best YouTube Comment: “Change the words….get into it! This is a perfect song that would express how I feel about my cyber family. We will be together if it is by his grace in 2012! Dang….I am feeling mad cyber love from around the globe.” —thephotographer4you

10. R. Kelly, “Share My Love”

From the kitchen to the bedroom to the show to the party to the after-party to the after-after-party to the penthouse elevator to the zoo to outer space back to the bedroom to a cab to the beach to the Jeep-Nik Jam to the game to the dance floor to the junior high no not the junior high back to the kitchen for a snack to the club to the strip club to the country club to the five-star hotel to the hotel sauna to the hot tub to anywhere else … Kells has a song for the occasion.
Grade: A
Best YouTube Comment: “This song is making me happy! It’s the kind of song which have you whistle, humm or sing AAAALLL day long while you feel the energy bursting out of you! Like spring! :))))” —Twirlcistematic

Filed Under: Beyonce, Grading the Charts, R&B, R. Kelly, Robin Thicke

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert

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