Valentine’s Day this year has more attention than before, the point being we are all at home, growing lonelier and looking for love, in all forms more than ever before. It is a day to celebrate love, with your partner, friends, family, even practising a bit of self-love, we have the perfect playlist for you. Music is one of the purest forms for showing love, it is hard to even fathom the number of love songs out there, it is a way to soothe your soul, express your feelings, and create different, lovable forms of affirmation.
The 1980s and 1990s were pivotal moments in the music industry, from greats like Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan to lesser-known artists like Mtume and 702, they created samples continuously being used today. Their music has helped inspire generations after and is still loved all around the world.
We compiled seven songs each from both decades, curating a playlist of melodic, soulful, slow singles, with a few upbeat anthems to get you through the day!
Share this throwback Valentine’s Day playlist with those you love, you will not regret it…
1. Juicy Fruit – Mtume
Valentine’s Day lyric: You know very well, what you are. You’re my sugar thing. My chocolate star.
You may not know this original, but you have most certainly heard this song being sampled countless times, including The Notorious B.I.G on his debut single ‘Juicy’ and Keyshia Cole on her hit single ‘Let it Go”.
2. P.Y.T – Michael Jackson
Valentine’s Day lyric: Don’t you know now is the perfect time. We can make it right, hit the city lights. Then tonight ease the loving pain. Let me take you to the max
The sixth consecutive top 10 single from the legendary Michael Jackson, it was produced by Quincy Jones who gave the song its name. It was a part of the record-breaking album, Thriller, this track (and album) is sure to keep you moving and feeling good this V-day.
3. Love Need And Want You – Pattie Labelle
Valentine’s Day lyric: Honey, I love you. I do. More than you’ll ever know, It’s for sure. You can always count on my love. Forevermore
The perfect addition to your day, if a love song could illustrate love truthfully, it would be this one. Speaking on always being near, loving and wanting your other half. This is also a much-loved sample, most famously, Nelly & Kelly’s ‘Dilemma’ and ‘Lay It Down’ by Lloyd.
4. Make It Last Forever – Keith Sweat
Valentine’s Day lyric: Your touch is wonderful. Your love is so marvelous. Joy, that’s what I feel when I’m with you.
If you are spending time with your one and only today, this is a must-sing. The R&B king, Keith Sweat is singing to a lover that he wants to last forever. The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard’s R&B chart in 1998.
5. Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Deniece Williams
Valentine’s Day lyric: My baby may not be rich; He’s watching every dime. But he loves me, loves me, loves me.
While the lyricism maybe should be left in the 80’s (we want more from our other half), it is still a huge hit. A #1 single for Deniece Williams, which went on to key a montage in the film, Footloose.
6. Saving All My Love – Whitney Houston
Valentine’s Day lyric: You used to tell me we’d run away together; Love gives you the right to be free
On their 1970 album, Marilyn & Billy, Whitney Housten’s first number 1 record was originally featured on this album. This song is the perfect edition to you day, despite its meaning of an unrequited love, it can mean how you wish!
7. Ain’t Nobody – Chaka Khan
Valentine’s Day lyric: Happened so naturally, did not know it was love. The next thing I felt was you holdin’ me close.
How can any 80’s list be completed without the incredible Chaka Khan? Back in 1983, it became a #1 song by Rufus and Chaka Khan. The writer of the hit single wanted to ensure it would be the lead song on the album by threatening to give it to Michael Jackson! Do you think he would have done the track justice?
8. Get it together – 702
Valentine’s Day lyric: I don’t really wanna stay, I don’t really wanna go.
But I really need to know, can we get it together?
Let’s be honest, this track is how we have all felt at one point in another toward the person we love. It seems this was the general consensus in 1997, it peaked at #10 Billboard Hot 100 and earned a certified gold sale by RIAA, exceeding 500,00 copies in the USA.
9. Knockin Da Boots – H-Town
Valentine’s Day lyric: I feel so good when I’m near you, that’s why I always wanna be close to you. I’m so addicted
The song samples Zapp’s song, ‘Be Alright’, which peaked at #3 on the Billoard Hot 100, and topped its R&B chart for 4 weeks. You may have also heard a similar rendition on 2Pac’s 1993 album with the track ‘Keep Your Head Up’. If you need a bit of musical loving, H-Town provide all the sensuality and sexiness with most of their tracks, especially this one…
10. Bob Marley Feat. Lauryn hill – Turn Your Lights Down Low
Valentine’s Day lyric: Loving you is a-like a song I replay. Every three minutes and thirty seconds of every day. And every chorus was written for us to recite. Every beautiful melody of devotion every night.
Here, Miss Lauryn Hill ‘meets’ her idol with her 1999 remix of Marley’s original hit. It is said that the late legend wrote the song for Cindy Breakspeare, the mother of Damian Marley.
11. That’s The Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson
Valentine’s Day lyric: Like a moth to a flame burned by the fire (that’s the way)
My love is blind can’t you see my desire?
That’s the way love goes
Arguably the most recognised song by Janet Jackson, it was a massive success in 1993. It was the lead single for her fifth self-titled album, topping the Billboard R&B and Dance charts for 4weeks, and Hot 100 charts for 8 weeks! It is no wonder it won a Grammy for best R&B song in 1994.
12. Tell Him – Lauryn Hill
Valentine’s Day lyric: Let me be patient let me be kind. Make me unselfish without being blind
Though I may suffer, I’ll envy it not.
Not everyone will be able to celebrate today with their other half, even if you are single, Valentine’s Day is about love, and this track by Lauryn Hill speaks on a love for something greater than our beings. it is a beautiful track, that often draws attention to who she may be singing to, but today, create your own meaning to the track.
13. Need Somebody – Shola Ama
Valentine’s Day lyric: When somebody reaches for your heart, open up and let them through. Cause everybody needs someone around, things can tumble down on you.
Shola Ama was only a teenager when she released 1997’s hit single that peaked at #4. It is a song we all need right now, while we are in lockdown, it is okay to need someone else with you.
14. Endless Love – Luther Vandross Mariah Carey
Valentine’s Day lyric: Two hearts, two hearts that beat as one. Our lives have just begun. And forever (forever)
While most critics at the time claimed the single to be sappy, this is the perfect time for it to be just that. The song was a massive success in 1994, peaking at #2 on the charts, making it the biggest pop hit for Vandross and remained in the top 40 for 13 weeks!