Playlist: The Toni Top Twenty!

EST. 1997’s Toni Top Twenty!

by Vincent & Mario

01. “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” — Miss Anita Baker passing on this wonderful track is the reason why Toni’s career took off. The poignant ballad was perfect to showcase the vision Babyface and LA Reid had for Toni: selling heartbreak. Toni’s vocals are immaculate on this song, it was truly an incredible debut single for her.

02. “Another Sad Love Song” — Ironically, the title for this song would become a trend throughout Toni’s career. She’s sung countless sad love songs by now – someone should count! But, this ballad was a perfect second step following her debut with “Love Shoulda Brought You Home.”

03. “Seven Whole Days” — Better yet, Seven Whole SLAYS. This song is pure R&B perfection. There is so much attitude, so much sass, yet it drips in sex and she’s not even singing about sex. The vocals are flawless and Toni takes charge on this traack.

04. “Breathe Again” — Yet another sad love song, “Breathe Again” continued to showcase Toni’s rich voice and was yet another hit that established her as an R&B icon.

05. “You’re Making Me High” — Toni turned up the sex appeal for her 1996 comeback, both in her image and her lyrics. “High” is a not-so-subtle ode to the glories of sex, but many wouldn’t really imagine it’s also a song about being under the influence. It’s a bit like the raunchy sister of Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover.”

06. “Un-Break My Heart” — The biggest song of Toni’s career is one she didn’t even like that much upon first hearing. She admitted she found the track “very Disney,” but ultimately recorded it and it went on to become her signature song all over the world. A classic.

07. “Let It Flow” — This classic made its debut on the equally classic Waiting to Exhale soundtrack; its carefree sentiment about moving forward following heartbreak was a welcomed change of tone for Toni.

08. “Why Should I Care” — Only Toni could be dismissive towards an ex-lover and still sound as sultry as she does on this track, while she reflects on all the drama she went through. Babyface makes things even warmer with his impeccable production. Just an all around jam.

09. “He Wasn’t Man Enough” — The shade of this song is so thick you can’t even hear it properly unless you are blasting it and reading the lyrics. Toni is barely even singing the chorus but she sure is giving a big ole READ to the new girl. “But you married him!” Catch it.

10. “Just Be a Man About It” — This song is more like the soundtrack to a short film than a standard song;  its interesting concept makes it a gem in Toni’s catalogue. That, and her biting sass and the random appearance of Dr. Dre.

11. “The Heat” — The perfect summer bop, the aptly titled “Heat” is fun, sexy and has one of the best closing statements ever: “anybody want some ice cream???” Yes, sis, yes; ice cream is always a good idea.

12. “Maybe” — Clearly inspired by the slinky R&B of the late 90s, “Maybe” is a sensual jam with a tongue-twisting melody that tells a story of one night with Toni — maybe. She also shot a scandalous video for it that never fully saw the light of day:

13. “Selfish” — This gorgeous track is a gem on an album that many have likely never heard (More Than A Woman). The vocals are sweet and rich and the lyrics painfully relatable. Fun Fact: It features sister Tamar on backgrounds as well as co-writing credits, too.

14. “Tell Me” — Taking a page out of the Janet Jackson book of how to be a sex symbol, “Tell Me” is an unabashed ode to pleasing your man, with Toni playing temptress over a sample of Anita Baker’s classic “Sweet Love.” It’s as though she wanted to take “You’re Making Me High” to the next level. If so, she succeeded.

15. “‘Sposed to Be*” — This slinky R&B jam about holding your man down is a highlight from the Libra album, and its sprinkled with a dash of ratchetry if you pay close enough attention.

16. “Suddenly*” — Yet another standout from Libra, “Suddenly” is dark and reminiscent of Sade with its jazzy vibes; it glides through a cascade of rich vocals and oozes sensuality. It actually served as the lead single from Libra in Europe and is a collaboration with singer-guitarist Richard Marx. As well, it features Chris Botti on trumpet.

17. “Hands Tied” — Toni pours her heart out and expresses her devotion to her lover in “Hands Tied,” a beautiful mid-tempo ballad and the best single from the Pulse album.

18. “I Wish” — Toni admitted that she drew inspiration from her parents’ divorce to write this song and she put to words what most women feel when their men seek outside their marriage. “I hope she gives you a disease” is the most hilarious and resentful line of the song at the same time. A great track that showcases Toni’s talents as both a singer and songwriter.

19. “Rollercoaster” — When Toni and Babyface reunited, we knew it’d be good but not this good. Love, Marriage & Divorce is full of amazing R&B, but “Rollercoaster” is one that especially stands out.

20. “The D Word” — Five minutes of sonic bliss, the album closer is another Sade-esque track and one of Love, Marriage & Divorce‘s finest moments.

*Both Libra tracks do not appear on Spotify because Blackground is a fascist mess.

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