Below are my favorite songs from the 1960s to the 2000s.
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin (1967) was written by Otis Redding in 1965 and became popular in 1967 when Aretha Franklin recorded it. This became one of the songs she was most known for during her singing career. I like this song because it represents a form of women empowerment or activism. The lyrics are very easy to follow and from a young age I knew the song, but as I got older the meaning of the words started to resonate with me. My interpretation of it is that women will go to the moon and back for men and do anything they need us to do, but all she — and other women, I suppose — are asking for is respect from their significant others.
“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green (1972) will always be one of my favorite older songs. It is such a sweet love song and I can remember listening to this song in the car, my house on Saturday mornings, and as I got older just whenever I am in the mood to hear some classic throwbacks. This song is always on my family’s cookout playlist and it was always be there.
“When Doves Cry” by Prince (1984) is on my top 5 list for a different reason than the others. When I would be in the car listening to music with my parents, this song always stood out to me as different than the others. Throughout the song (especially at the beginning), it sounds like Prince is speaking more than he is singing with a great beat behind him. I always liked this song for that reason.
“Keep Ya Head Up” by Tupac (1993) is my favorite old school hip-hop song. My parents were more R&B and Soul fans so growing up I was not really exposed to rap and hip-hop until my other brother started listening to it. When I discovered this song by Tupac, I could not stop listening to it. Like most older songs, the meaning didn’t resonate with me until I got older. I like the lyrics in this song and respect Tupac so much for this because Black women are usually the ones to stand up for ourselves. It is nice to hear a Black man both recognizing the struggles of Black women and calling out other Black men on their lack of respect in the first verse of the song.
“Love” by Musiq Soulchild (2000) is my favorite R&B song. I think Musiq Soulchild is extremely underrated and he did not get the recognition he deserved, but I will always listen to his music. This song is a love song written about the concept of love, which is why I like it so much. The music video highlights that this is not only about love between a couple, but love between anything (e.g. a man and his trumpet).