Groove Heaven: The Top 34 R&B Jams to Elevate Your Playlist

By Suzy
Updated on April 26, 2024

Are you looking for those sweet R&B jams that make your heart sing? We've got classics and new hits, all with that special R&B vibe that never gets old. So come on, let's get groovin'!

1. “Moonlight” by Kali Uchis

Kali Uchis's song “Moonlight” showcases her unique blend of R&B with a dreamy atmosphere. 

Its melody carries a sultry and smooth quality, characterized by a laid-back rhythm and soft synth backgrounds. 

The lyrics speak of a romantic relationship, delineated through the metaphor of moonlight.

They represent a guiding light or a source of comfort in the dark. 

It's a suitable addition to any R&B playlist because it encapsulates the essence of the genre.

“Moonlight” serves as an emotional ride that connects with listeners on a personal level. 

2. “That's What I Like” by Bruno Mars

“That's What I Like” by Bruno Mars is a classic R&B tune that dominated charts. 

Bruno Mars infuses the track with an upbeat and funky vibe that's central to its appeal.

The lyrics celebrate the luxury and joys of a lavish lifestyle for your partner.

In your R&B playlist, it adds a burst of high-energy fun and becomes that track you turn up the volume for. 

“That's What I Like” makes listeners feel cheerful and lively, suitable for times when you need a pick-me-up for a fun mood. 

3. “Da Girls” by Ciara

“Da Girls” is a track with a strong dance-R&B influence, fusing Ciara's rhythmic vocals with a powerful bass line.

The melody is designed to get listeners moving with its upbeat tempo and energetic beat.

It is a women-empowerment anthem, resonating with themes of independence and confidence. 

“Da Girls” is perfect for when you're getting ready to go out or when you need a boost of motivation.

4. “Last Call” by Khalid

“Last Call” uses elements of soul with modern R&B.

This song features a mellow, introspective melody.

The lyrics deal with themes of goodbyes and the bittersweet nature of parting ways.

It provides a deep and emotional moment characteristic of the genre.

The feelings evoked can be a mixture of nostalgia, calm and a sense of closure.

“Last Call” is a beautiful song to relax or contemplate.

5.  “Out of Time” by The Weeknd 

This track is off The Weeknd's 2022 album, “Dawn FM.”

The melody of "Out of Time" is smooth, with a retro 80's feel, sleek synthesizers and a laid-back groove.

This reflects classic R&B and urban pop influences.

The Weeknd's voice glides with falsetto delicacies in a lovelorn narrative about missed opportunities. 

It also talks about the longing for a connection that slips away.

“Out of Time” offers an emotional story of love and loss that resonates deeply amidst its catchy melody.

6. “Rock The Boat” by Aaliyah 

This song comes from Aaliyah's eponymous 2001 album, which was her last. 

“Rock the Boat” is an important staple in R&B music, marked by its sensual and hypnotic melody.

It blends harmonious background vocals with a groovy baseline. 

The track has a mid-tempo feel that invites you to sway along.

It's a playful yet intimate exploration of love and sensuality. 

Its inclusion in your R&B collection adds depth because of Aaliyah's significant impact on the genre before her tragic passing.

“Rock The Boat” remains a timeless and cherished hit.

7. “Naturally” by Tinashe

Taken from Tinashe’s 2021 album “333,” this track offers a more modern twist on R&B. 

“Naturally” stands out with an ethereal and smooth melody, which combines traditional R&B sounds with electronic accents.

Its lyrics speak of an effortless, almost inevitable attraction to someone.

It brings a feeling of both ease and intensity, painting a picture of a love that is as natural as it is deep. 

Incorporating “Naturally” to your playlist brings a touch of contemporary R&B with a captivating and emotional atmosphere.

8. “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson 

Released in 1992, it belongs to his eighth studio album, “Dangerous,” and represents a blend of new jack swing with R&B. 

The melody is nostalgic and has a dance-pop feel, reflecting Michael Jackson's soulful style and the popular sound of the time.

“Remember the Time” is celebrated for the unique vocal hiccups, emotional delivery, and impeccable production.

The lyrics recall a romantic relationship, asking a former lover if she remembers the fond moments they shared.

It has a playful, yet sentimental quality that makes you think about your own past loves.

Include it in your R&B playlist because it showcases one of the genre's icons at his peak. 

9. “Shirt” by SZA

SZA delivers a modern R&B experience in this song. 

“Shirt” features a smooth mid-tempo beat with a catchy, moody melody.

It focuses on the problems of personal and romantic relationships.

This song will soundtrack your own emotional journeys, making them personal.

Also, “Shirt” racked up over 20 million streams on Spotify in its first week, the most ever for a female R&B song.

The vibe is perfect for contemplative evenings or when you're in the mood for a song that's as thought-provoking as it is smooth.

10. “Outside” by Bryson Tiller

“Outside” is a track by American singer Bryson Tiller, who burst onto the scene with his debut album “Trapsoul.”

It is a mix of R&B and hip-hop, with smooth melodies, over beats that draw from the trap subgenre.

The lyrics discuss a troubled relationship, reflecting on the feelings and desires to fix what's broken. 

His direct lyrical style helps listeners connect with the song's themes on a personal level.

Including “Outside” in your R&B playlist would bring a touch of modernity.

11. “That's The Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson 

From Janet Jackson's fifth studio album titled “janet.” released in 1993, “That's The Way Love Goes” stands out as a mid-tempo love song. 

This track is a fusion of R&B, pop and funk elements, with a relaxed and groovy melody.

The melody is smooth with a chilled-out vibe, characteristic of the early '90s R&B sound. 

The lyrics talk about the comfort and bliss that comes with being in love and the intimacy between two people. 

You should include it in your R&B playlist for its classic status and timeless, sensual feel.

12. “Location" by Khalid

Released in 2016 on his debut album “American Teen,” this is Khalid's breakout single that put him on the map. 

The melody merges R&B with soul and a hint of pop-synth for a contemporary feel. 

Khalid's vocals are rich and resonant, making you feel his longing for genuine connections in the digital age.

It is a request for a loved one to come to a physical location, symbolizing a desire for authentic interaction over digital communication.

This song has been covered by multiple singers, making it popular around the world. 

This track deserves a spot in your playlist because it reflects the realities of young love and connection in today's world.

13. “After Last Night” by Anderson .Paak, Bruno Mars, Silk Sonic, Bootsy Collins, Thundercat

This collaborative track is a part of the “An Evening with Silk Sonic” album released in 2021.

“After Last Night” is a sultry slow jam that fuses the quintessential sounds of '70s soul with modern R&B aesthetics.

Its melody has a smooth, slow-burning groove that's enriched by the funk bass lines.

The lyrics express the positive change in the singer's feelings after a night spent with a lover, tinged with a little humor and a lot of soul.

Including it in your playlist will give you the loving feel of a classic era, while benefiting from a modern production.

14. “Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle)” by Jhené Aiko

This Jhené Aiko's song is a raw and emotional freestyle that tells a story of heartbreak and betrayal. 

It's an honest reflection of Aiko dealing with the aftermath of a troubled relationship. 

The melody is haunting and stripped-down, with minimal instrumentation, allowing Aiko's expressive vocals to stand out. 

Its lyrics are explicit, relating to real experiences of pain and discovery.

Include it in your R&B playlist if you want an introspective mood and narrative you can relate to.

“Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle)” leaves listeners with a sense of catharsis and reflection.

15. “The Girl Is Mine” by Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney 

This is an iconic duet between two music legends, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. 

Released in the 1980s, it became a huge hit and is notable for blending R&B with pop. 

The melody is smooth and catchy, evoking a light and friendly competition vibe. 

The lyrics playfully contest each other's affection for the same girl, bringing a feel-good and humorous element to your playlist. 

Put “The Girl Is Mine” on the playlist if you want to feel nostalgic and entertained.

16. “Lift Me Up” by Rihanna

This track marks Rihanna’s return after a long break from music. 

“Lift Me Up” was released in tribute to a major personal loss, it is a moving ballad that showcases Rihanna's vocal range.

The melody is both somber and uplifting, featuring a minimalistic approach that centers on Rihanna's voice. 

Its lyrics are about seeking comfort and a sense of peace after losing someone close. 

It's great for an R&B collection because it adds a layer of depth, evoking feelings of hope and resilience. 

17. “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder

“Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder is a timeless ballad with a slow, soothing melody.

Stevie's rich voice sings about love as a divine experience, as constant as a “ribbon in the sky.” 

The emotion-filled lyrics and the gentle piano background make it a symbol of enduring love. 

This wonderful expression of love's permanence is a key reason for its inclusion in your playlist.

byu/JC-Crixus from discussion

A reddit user commented that this track is an amazing piece.

“Ribbon in the Sky” brings a sense of deep connection and timeless romance to your collection.

18. “The Hills” by The Weeknd 

“The Hills” by The Weeknd has a darker, edgier tone with its pulsing beat and haunting melody. 

The song's lyrics reflect themes of fame and excess.

It's a stark contrast to traditional R&B, but its raw emotional honesty and catchy beat make it a modern R&B classic.

“The Hills” adds a contemporary edge to your collection; it brings a mood of mysterious drama and nighttime confessionals.

19. “Broken Clocks” by SZA

“Broken Clocks” by SZA boasts a chill, laid-back beat with introspective lyrics.

It talks about past relationships and the hustle of daily life. 

This song blends relatable storytelling with a relaxed vibe, an essential nuance of R&B. 

It's perfect for your playlist because SZA's voice adds depth and authenticity.

Also, it evokes feelings of empowerment over life's fast pace.

20. “Can't Feel My Face” by The Weeknd 

This song is energetic and catchy, with a pop-R&B fusion melody that's undeniably danceable. 

The lyrics playfully explore themes of love and addiction.

It uses a metaphor that combines an intoxicating relationship with a feeling of numbing euphoria. 

The song was also a massive hit, serving as further proof of The Weeknd's artistry and influence in contemporary music.

byu/BigG123 from discussion

Reddit users claim that this song has a very infectious melody and is incredibly easy to sing along to.

“Can't Feel My Face” would fit seamlessly into your R&B collection to lift the mood.

21. “Thinkin Bout You” by Frank Ocean 

Frank Ocean's “Thinkin Bout You”:captures the vulnerability and reflective mood of longing and lost love. 

It features a haunting beat and Frank's signature falsetto.

The song conveys a deep sense of nostalgia and bittersweet emotions. 

Its lyrics are poetic and reveal a heartache that is both personal and relatable. 

“Thinkin Bout You” has become a modern classic in the R&B genre due to its raw emotional honesty. 

22. “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” by Beyoncé 

Beyoncé's “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” is a smooth and soulful track that showcases her powerful yet delicate vocals.

This song is intimate, with lyrics that celebrate a comfortable and long-standing love, the kind that feels easy and genuine.

It has a soothing melody that makes it perfect for an R&B playlist that seeks to capture the essence of a loving and secure relationship.

Its inclusion would add a touch of contemporary R&B elegance.

23. “Love Me Now” by John Legend

With “Love Me Now,” John Legend brings an anthem of seizing love in the moment. 

The song features a driving beat and a catchy, uplifting chorus that's complemented by his emotive voice. 

Its lyrics speak about the urgency of embracing love amid life's uncertainties. 

It's an optimistic and passionate song that encourages listeners to hold onto love.

The good vibes of this song will lift the spirits of anyone who hears it.

24. “Off the Wall” by Michael Jackson 

Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" is a classic with a timeless disco-influenced R&B sound.

With a lively melody and Michael's dynamic vocals, it exudes a feel-good mood. 

The song's lyrics speak of letting go and enjoying life, embodying the joy of living in the moment.

Including “Off the Wall” in your playlist will guarantee a surge of energy.

25. “Focus” by H.E.R.

H.E.R., short for "Having Everything Revealed." is known for being reserved about her identity.

“Focus” emphasizes her voice and the messages in her lyrics. 

The song has a slow, soulful melody, with a gentle piano in the background.

Its lyrics are a heartfelt plea for attention from a partner, reflecting a common theme in relationships where one feels neglected.

The smooth and emotionally charged delivery makes it a perfect track for an R&B playlist.

Also, “Focus” has been praised for its artistry and relatability, making it a modern-day R&B anthem.

26. “Sunshine” by Tyga, Jhené Aiko, Pop Smoke 

A posthumous release featuring Pop Smoke, “Sunshine” also brings together Tyga and Jhené Aiko, blending different influences of R&B and hip-hop. 

It is upbeat with an ear-catching melody that incorporates catchy hooks typical of Tyga's style.

It also features Jhené Aiko's smooth and soothing vocals. 

The lyrics speak to enjoying life, reminiscing about happier times, and celebrating good moments. 

“Sunshine” introduces a contrastingly uplifting and spirited feel, perfect for lightening the mood.

27. “I Wonder” by Kanye West 

Kanye West's “I Wonder” from his critically acclaimed album “Graduation” showcases a sample-driven melody with inspirational lyrics.

It features a piano loop and a synthesized string section, creating a hopeful and expansive sound. 

In the song, Kanye reflects on his life's potential and the choices that lead to success or failure.

“I Wonder” has a transformative energy that makes it a compelling addition to an R&B playlist; it brings depth and a sense of aspiration.

28. “everything” by Kehlani 

Released in 2019 on her mixtape “While We Wait,” Kehlani's “Everything” is a soulful track that penetrates deep into the themes of love and connection.

The melody is smooth with a subtle yet embracing beat that keeps the tempo. T

Its chorus captures the essence of finding everything you need in one person, making it an intimate addition to your playlist. 

The lyrics are sincere, as they celebrate a love so complete that it makes you reevaluate your understanding of wholeness (“You're all I need.”)

It is comforting with a reliable rhythm, perfect when music is needed for a romantic atmosphere.

29. “Wake Up Love” by Teyana Taylor, Iman

From the 2020 album “The Album,” Teyana's track features her husband, Iman. 

The song's melody combines laid-back vibes with a depth that resonates in Teyana's soulful delivery.

Lyrics talk about rekindling the spark in a relationship, urging a lover to “wake up” so they can love again. 

Include it in your playlist for its authentic take on the ups and downs of love and the cozy warmth it exudes.

30. “Telepatía” by Kali Uchis

This 2020 song from Kali Uchis's album “Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios)” hit it big with its easy-going, lo-fi beats giving it a dreamy feel. 

The melody draws inspiration from Latin sounds with a chillwave, slightly psychedelic touch. 

“Telepatía” is all about a connection so strong, it feels psychic. 

The Spanish lyrics speak of a distant love, kept alive by a metaphysical bond (“La luna está llena, mi cama vacía.”)

“Telepatía” should make its way to your playlist for those daydreaming moment

Also, the bilingual charm, and telepathic love vibes make it stand out.


Released in 2023, “SWITCH” might be the freshest on the list. 

Destin Conrad's vibe is one of millennial angst, capturing the uncertainties of modern relationships. 

The melody thrives on minimalism, laying bare the emotions with little distraction. 

The lyrics raise questions about loyalty and switching sides in love, exploring the feelings in today's age.

It's great for late-night musings or when you're in a more introspective state.

32. “You Right” by Doja Cat, The Weeknd 

Released in 2021 as part of Doja Cat's album “Planet Her,” “You Right” features the collaborative vocal talents of Doja Cat and The Weeknd. 

This song has a smooth, R&B feel with an atmospheric synth melody that's both catchy and haunting. 

“You Right” discusses temptation and the complexity of desires, especially when involved with someone while being attracted to another.

The combination of Doja Cat and The Weeknd's vocals creates a luxurious soundscape.

Also, their popularity ensures that many listeners instantly recognize the song.

33. “The Worst” by Jhené Aiko

“The Worst,” released in 2013, is from Aiko's “Sail Out” EP. 

The track is minimalistic in production but potent in emotion, with a soft piano melody underpinning Aiko's soulful voice.

Its lyrics speak of a painful breakup and the inner conflict of having feelings for someone who is bad for you.

“The Worst” gained critical acclaim for its raw emotionality and Aiko's vulnerable performance.

byu/stabbinU from discussion

Even a reddit user commented that this track was one of the biggest songs of a few years.

Include this tune in your R&B playlist if you want to capture the essence of heartbreak and the difficulty in letting go. 

34. “Grenade” by Bruno Mars

This is a hit from Bruno Mars' 2010 debut album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans.”

“Grenade” offers a pop-R&B fusion sound with a memorable piano-driven melody. 

The lyrics are direct, describing the extent of the unrequited love of Mars' character, willing to do anything for his beloved, who does not reciprocate.

It was praised for its emotional delivery and became a worldwide hit, emphasizing its broad appeal.

“Grenade” is a good pick for your playlist if you want a mix of passion and pain, 

In conclusion, these songs have had an enduring impact on the genre over the years. Each song has a story to tell, so hit play and let your heart sing along with the best of R&B.