As this is being written, 2011 is almost over, so it's time to look back at the best songs of the year. Leading the pack is a duet by two of R&B/Soul's best singers, Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton. There's a number of other highly-regarded artists on the list too, including R&B-pop crossover artists Sade, Adele and Beyonce, and a few artists who fly under the radar of the mainstream music world, like Anthony Hamilton and Kindred the Family Soul. So without further ado, here's about.com's picks for the best R&B and Soul songs of 2011 so far.
Adele may be considered more a pop artist than an R&B or Soul one, but "Rumour Has It" is easily one of the best bluesy-soulful songs about relationship complications that you'll hear this year, or any other.
3. Good Man, Raphael Saadiq
"Good Man" is a melancholy track about a hard-working, church-going provider who winds up in handcuffs and hauled off to jail after having the cops called on him by his woman. The song's depressing, all-to-real theme and haunting lyrics give the song a cinematic quality.
Keke Wyatt's Unbelievable! album, which dropped June 14 via Shanachie Records, had a great, great lead single working for it; a mature powerhouse of a ballad called "Mirror," which features her singing verses with a couple of other underappreciated vocalists: Kelly Price and the previously missing-in-action Tweet.
Queen B came strong on this single, which is about a woman who's really relieved that she didn't end up with someone who turned out to be Mr. Wrong. A sample of the lyrics: "When I think of the time I almost loved you, you showed your ass and I saw the real you/Thank God you blew it, thank God I dodged a bullet, I'm so over you, so good lookin' out."