Babyface, whose real name is Kenneth Edmonds, is a multi-faceted artist. He is a singer, songwriter, and producer. He doesn’t just produce music. He has also produced movies. He was born on April 10, 1959. He got his famous stage name from funk artist Bootsy Collins. Collins gave him that moniker because of his youthful appearance. Babyface began his career in the funk band Manchild. Daryl Simmons was also a member of the band. The band had a hit song called “Especially For You” in 1977. When Manchild broke up, Babyface and L.A. Reid formed the group The Deele in the early 1980’s. The group had some hit songs. While Babyface was in The Deele, he and L.A. Reid wrote songs for other artists. One of the first songs Babyface and L.A. wrote was “Slow Jam” by Midnight Star. They also wrote “Girlfriend” by Peebles and “Rock Steady” by The Whispers.
Babyface released his first solo album while he was still in The Deele. His first album was Lovers, which was released in 1986. It features the hit single “I Love You Babe.” Babyface left The Deele in 1988. His second album helped put him on the map as an artist. In 1989, he released Tender Lover. The album spun four hit singles. The singles are “It’s No Crime,” “Tender Lover,” “Whip Appeal” and “My Kinda Girl.” The album sold over two million copies. The album stayed on top of the r&b charts for eight weeks. His solo career took a backseat because he was working with other artists. Babyface and L.A. formed the record company LaFace Records. They worked with several of the artists on their label. They produced the hit soundtrack for the movie Boomerang. He released For the Cool in You in 1993. This album was a bigger success than his previous solo album. It features the singles “For the Cool in You,” “Never Keeping Secrets,” “And Our Feelings” and “When Can I See You.” He won a Grammy for “When Can I See You.” The album sold more than three million copies.
In 1995, Babyface hit the jackpot when he was chosen to write and produce the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. He wrote nearly all of the songs on the soundtrack. In 1996, he released his next studio album The Day. He scored another top 10 hit with “Every Time I Close My Eyes.” It also features the singles “This Is for the Lover in You” and “How Come, How Long.” This album sold more than two million copies. In 1997, he and his then wife Tracey Edmonds produced their first movie titled Soul Food. It was done under their production company. He produced the soundtrack for the movie. Babyface released an unplugged album in 1997. In 1998, he released a Christmas album.
In 2001, Babyface released Face2Face. It was his first album in five years after his last solo project. This album was different from his other albums. In his previous work, he was more of a balladeer. He wanted to branch out and have a new style of music. He wanted a more urban sound. He worked with Heavy D, The Neptunes, Tim and Bob as well as other songwriters and producers. This album features the singles “What If’ and “There She Goes.” In 2001, he produced the soundtrack to the movie Josie & the Pussycats. In 2005, he released another studio album called Grown & Sexy. It features the singles “The Loneliness”, “God Must Love U” and “The Getting 2 Know U.”
In 2007, he released his seventh studio album Playlist. It is a cover album of folk and soft rock songs. He also wrote two original songs. It features the single “Fire and Rain.” This song was a hit on the adult contemporary charts. In 2014, he released the duet album Love, Marriage & Divorce. It features the number one song “Hurt You.” “Where Did We Go Wrong” and “Rollercoaster” were also hit singles. In 2015, Babyface released Return of the Tender Lover. This album is a tribute to his Tender Lover album. The album features the singles “We Got Love” and “Exceptional.”
Babyface is considered the king of romance. He writes and sings baby-making music. When you are in the mood for romance, you can never go wrong with his music. He has a smooth and velvety voice, but he also has a powerful voice. He can hold long notes if the song calls for it. His voice is very versatile. He has the ability to sing high and low. He has a lot of hit songs as well as amazing songs that could have made this list. Any of the songs from his studio albums could have made this top 10 list. It was hard to come up with only 10 songs, but it was doable. Here is the Top 10 Babyface Songs list. See which song made to the number one spot.
# 10 – This Is for the Lover in You – ft. LL Cool J and Shalamar
The first song on our Top 10 Babyface Songs list is the dance friendly “This Is for the Lover in You” from the r&b friendly The Day album. This is a remake of Shalamar’s hit song. This is an updated version of the song. Shalamar’s version is a ballad while this one is an up-tempo version. There is a trivia for the song. Babyface wanted to record a song with LL Cool J on another project, but LL Cool J didn’t want to do it. LL Cool J ended up working with him on this song. Babyface took a chance covering this song because Shalamar’s version is flawless, but Babyface added his special magic and made his own version a flawless one.
Babyface managed not to make it karaoke. His version contains rap lyrics, which weren’t featured in the original song. Babyface also added original lyrics in the verses. The chorus and the bridge are the same as the original. Babyface also made a miracle happened when he reunited Shalamar in the song. The group broke up bitterly and didn’t sing together until they recorded this remake. This version is magnificent. Everyone has a chance to shine in the song. Babyface could have taken over the song, but he gave everyone a chance to be a star.
# 9 – How Come, How Long – ft. Stevie Wonder
The next song on our Top 10 Babyface Songs list is the anthemic “How Come, How Long” taken from the outstanding album The Day. This touching song is a combination of different genres. It has a pop, r&b, soul and soft rock sound. This poignant song has an important message about domestic violence. It was inspired by what happened to Nicole Brown Simpson. This is the only time these legends worked together so it makes this track even more special. Babyface and Stevie Wonder are superior in their vocals. They both pour their hearts out in the lyrics. Babyface and Wonder’s voices complimented each other. They also sound similar to each other.
Babyface belts in bridge when the music becomes guitar friendly. Stevie Wonder belts when he and Babyface have a vocal battle towards the end of the song. This song wasn’t too much of a stretch for Stevie Wonder because he usually sings songs with anthemic messages. This is new territory for Babyface because he usually sings songs about love and romance. It was an exceptional change to hear Babyface sing a song with a deep and powerful message about domestic violence.
# 8 – Soon As I Get Home
This chivalrous song is taken from the superb Tender Lover album. This enchanting song surprisingly wasn’t a single, but it does get a lot of airplay on quiet storm radio. This fascinating ballad has women wishing their men were like the way he describes himself in the song. The song is about a man who would do anything to please his woman. Who wouldn’t want to be with someone who would do anything and everything for you? The music is soft and superb. Babyface’s vocals are smooth like butter throughout the song. His vocals are layered because he harmonizes with himself in the chorus. He sings in a lower pitch in this song, which was very pleasant. He does amazing runs and holds notes towards the fade out of the song.
# 7 – Every Time I Close My Eyes – ft. Mariah Carey
This compelling song is taken from the passionate album The Day. This is the first single taken from this passionate album. This loving ballad has an r&b, soul and smooth jazz sound. This beautiful song is about thinking about the person you love loving you back. It could have been considered cheesy if another singer did this song, but it was in the right hands with Babyface. He is very convincing when he says he loves a woman. Mariah Carey is in the backing vocals. This song isn’t technically a duet, but she is featured prominently in the background. Kenny G is playing the saxophone and does an unbelievably stunning job. He makes the music sound more romantic.
Babyface’s voice is smooth and seductive. He proved that he is a power balladeer with this song. He was able to keep up with the power diva Mariah Carey. They held a strong note at the end of the bridge. There aren’t too many people who can keep up with Mariah Carey, but he proved that he could. They should have done more songs together because this one was a gem.
# 6 – I Love You Babe
This r&b friendly song is from the underrated Lovers album. This midtempo song has an r&b, soul, funk and pop sound. It was the perfect lead single for his debut album. This underrated song deserves to be on the list because it was perfect for radio. He proved he could sing a love song with tempo. He wasn’t just a crooner. He could get you on the dance floor. He still found a way to be romantic while making you dance. This song is a classic, but the music sounds current. A lot of songs from the 80’s sound dated and like bubble gum pop/r&b, but this song has a current sound. His voice blends perfectly with the beat. He has impeccable timing with the beat changes. He doesn’t hold any notes or do too many runs, but they weren’t needed for the song. The music wasn’t loud enough to support the loud singing. He would have sounded as if he was shouting.
# 5 – And Our Feelings
This breathtaking song is from the hugely popular album For the Cool in You. This awe-inspiring ballad has an r&b and soul sound. Babyface is telling a story about people doubting his relationship only for them to be right. This could have been foreshadowing to the end of his marriage to Tracey Edmonds since they were married at the time this song was recorded and ended up getting a divorce. This song is about a breakup, but he sings it in a romantic way. It’s easy to assume that it is love song. His voice is so hypnotic that it leaves you mesmerized. He showed once again that he is a power balladeer. His vocals are like a seesaw. They go up and down. He holds impressive notes that may be hard to match if you don’t have the ability to hold notes. Men singers don’t usually hold notes the way he did in this song. He proved that he was up for the challenge.
# 4 – It’s No Crime
The next song on our Top 10 Babyface Songs list is the thumping “It’s No Crime” from the awesome Tender Lover album. This is the perfect way to introduce the world to this marvelous album. This song has a new jack swing sound. This song is about love not being a crime. The music has an industrial-sounding beat. It makes you want to move. The percussion and drums are definitely the star of the track. This song was out of his comfort zone and wasn’t something he normally did. You would never know that he was out of his comfort zone because he sings it as if he was right at home. He proved that he could hold notes in a song with tempo. They weren’t that long, but he still gets an A for effort. The only minor complaint is he is a little hard to understand in some of the lyrics. Other than that, the song is a masterpiece.
# 3 – My Kinda Girl
This mind-blowing song is the fourth single from the flawless Tender Lover album. This majestic song has a new jack swing sound. It is about him expressing his love for his woman. He always knows the right thing to say in order to sound romantic. This song is perfect for men to play in order to impress their wives or girlfriends especially if they are in trouble. This song may get them out of trouble. There isn’t enough space to explain how marvelous this song is. His vocals are out of this world. He uses a double in the background. It sounds as if there are several people singing with him. He has exquisite harmonies in the chorus. You can get lost just listening to the chorus alone. He does runs towards the end of the song that are on fire.
# 2 – When Can I See You Again
This perfectly polished song is the fifth single from the splendid album For the Cool in You. This smashing song is a mix of r&b, soft rock and adult contemporary. This song is about him refusing to give up on a relationship after his girlfriend ends it. He believes he could get her to change her mind if he can see her again. This song became Babyface’s signature song. The song has a simple beat. It has an acoustic sound. It is just him and the guitar. It gives the song a heartfelt sound. It was an excellent choice on his part because it makes the song sound more intimate without too much instrumentation. You can hear how passionate he feels about getting the love of his life back. He doesn’t over sing in the song. He does simple vocals throughout the track. This song didn’t need any belting or shouting. It is perfect the way it is without being showy.
# 1 – Whip Appeal
The number one song on our Top 10 Babyface Songs list is the seductive “Whip Appeal” from the incomparable Tender Lover album. This is a risqué love ballad. The song is about a way of talking that is better than words. It is basically about a couple making love. Here is some trivia about the song. Babyface didn’t create the title on his own. He got the idea listening to singers Pebbles and Cherelle talking about it. He didn’t coin the term, but he made it popular. This has an r&b and smooth jazz sound.
The music is sensual to match the risqué lyrics. This is definitely bedroom music or wherever the mood hits you. The keyboards are the star of the music. It is excellent for quiet storm radio. The true star of the song is Babyface himself. He teases you with his seductive vocals. He starts the song off softly to match the music and then works his way up once the music gets louder. It turns into a vocal explosion towards the end of the song. It was completely show stopping. He belts and holds notes that are truly impressive. This is the best way to finish out this impeccable Top 10 Babyface Songs list.
Top 10 Babyface songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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