While Valentine’s Day playlists are undoubtedly being cued up for an evening full of romance, a slew of R&B acts are gifting fans with bundles of free tunes to soundtrack the day.
Ne-Yo, JoJo, K. Michelle and Mya have all marked the romantic holiday with EPs and mixtapes.
JoJo issued a three-song EP “#LOVEJO,” which pulls from an eclectic variety of inspirations. The EP features her twist on records from Anita Baker, Phil Collins and Kathleen Battle. The singer’s chilled take on Collins’ pop hit “Take Me Home,” courtesy of Da Internz (Rihanna, Nas), is a standout.
Ne-Yo dishes on his “3 Simple Rules” on his love-themed EP. Whether he’s singing about keeping romance fresh on “New Love” or getting things right in the bedroom, the crooner flexes his knack for effortless songwriting on the breezy offering.
Mýa’s long overdue comeback begins on “With Love.” The sultry songstress has largely been M.I.A. in recent years. Her last two albums, 2008’s “Sugar & Spice” and 2011’s “K.I.S.S.,” were issued in Japan (the latter eventually recived a U.S. release with very soft sales). “With Love” arrives on the 16th anniversary of her debut single, “It’s All About Me.” From the frank sexuality of “Do It” to the anthemic “Like A Woman,” the four-track EP is a reminder of why Mýa is missed on the R&B scene.
K. Michelle’s confessional, warts-and-all style allowed her to stand out as a cast member of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” and her cathartic and painstakingly unfiltered tunes of sex, heartache and self-love that evoked the pathos of singers such as Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole and Monica made her debut album, “Rebellious Soul,” a hit. Her unfiltered brand has given way to plenty of criticism along the way, but her mixtape, “Still No … Given,” proves the singer is willing to toss a middle finger to her detractors. Need proof, she literally says “… You” on one rattling banger. It’s raw, and explicit (you’ve been warned), but worth the spin. You can listen here.