2010 is almost over, so it's time to look back at the cream of the crop when it comes to R&B/Soul music that was released during the year. The list features some of the more well-known names in R&B and Soul music; Usher, Erykah Badu, Ne-Yo and Monica are all represented. But there's a number of newcomers who aren't yet household names on the list too, including modern-retro Soul duo Nikki & Rich, Jermaine Dupri protege Dondria, and one of the year's brightest stars, the wonderfully eclectic and category-defying Janelle Monae.
"Everything to Me," Monica
The Missy Elliott-produced "Everything to Me," which contains a sample of the 1980s Deniece Williams hit "Silly," is the biggest standout track on Monica's Still Standing album, which came out in March. The song's solid as a brick house; it has great singing, great lyrics, great production and is just a great all-around song.
"All I Want is You," Miguel feat. J. Cole
"All I Want Is You" is definitely in the top tier when it comes to 2010's better songs. Between Miguel's urgent, pleading vocals, rapper J. Cole's deft lyrics, and a tight beat by producer Salaam Remi, the haunting and emotional song wins on all levels.
"F--- You," Cee-Lo Green
The heartbreak song "F**k You!" accomplishes the difficult task of being bitter, angry and funny all at the same time. And just as impressive, it's a song that's very profane, but is laced with Gospel in the vocals and instrumentation. The song's just a novelty pop hit, but Cee-Lo makes the most of it.
"Tightrope," Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi
"Tightrope" is a song off The ArchAndroid, the critically-acclaimed album by Janelle that was released in the U.S. on May 18, 2010. The album's first single, "Tightrope," is a funky Soul-meets-hip-hop number that's just one musical genre that Janelle tackles on the album, which has strong pop and classical music elements within it's diverse musical foundation.
"There Goes My Baby," Usher
This romantic mid-tempo ballad is so strong that it was included on both Usher's Raymond Vs. Raymond album that came out in March and his Versus EP, which dropped in August. Although the albums' sexier material, like "Lil Freak," may have made a bigger splash initially, this is the song that ruled the R&B charts the longest.
"Ride," Ciara feat. Ludacris
This sexually-charged song, which is on Ciara's Basic Instinct album, marks the fourth time that that she's paired up with Luda to do a song together, and as always, they make a great team.
"Deuces," Chris Brown feat. Tyga and Kevin McCall
This is the song that jump-started Chris Brown's comeback after the Rihanna incident. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Chris really came strong with this bitter break-up tune.
"You're the One," Dondria
Dondria, a protege of music mogul Jermaine Dupri is a relatively fresh face and bright new voice on the music scene, but her single "You're the One" has all the poise, confidence and charm of a veteran singer. Dupri, who's well known for discovering new acts, just may have found his best one in a long time. We'll see once her full debut album drops later this year.
On "Next Best Thing," which was released as a single in March, sassy vocalist Nikki Leonti sings about being a serial heartbreaker who gleefully moves from one man to the next with little thought and no remorse. It's a turns the tables on the idea that men are the ones who hop from one relationship to the next. This is the first of two songs by the duo on the list.