Modern Soul Songs I Couldn't Live Without
Flow with It (You've Got Me Feeling Like)- St. Paul and the Broken Bones
I know I just wrote a review about St Paul's new album saying it wasn't that great, but that doesn't mean I'm still not bumping their old stuff all the time. I absolutely LOVE this song. The emotional lyrics, Paul Janeway's incredibly expressive vocals, and baseline with the use of horns are a recipe for what is sure to be one of the band's highlights for many years to come.
Reachin' 2 Much (featuring Lalah Hathaway)- Anderson .Paak
I've said it before and I will, gladly, say it again. Anything Anderson .Paak touches turns to absolute gold. His most recent solo album, Venutra, you know, the one before the god-tier An Evening with Silk Sonic, has many songs that belong on this list. This song is awesome because it's structured like two separate songs, with the first half being lively and drum heavy, and the second have being more smooth R&B. I love his vocals especially on the "OH!" in the final chorus.
I Need Never Get Old- Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
I remember in 2016 this album was my whole personality, particularly this song and "S.O.B." Nathaniel has so much power behind his voice and every song from this album was so incredibly infectious. I feel like their music belongs in the same category as St Paul and the Broken Bones, but this feels more rough around the edges.
Witchoo- Durand Jones & The Indications
If there's any song I have recommended the most to people over the past fix months, it's this. It is so god damn fun and I feel fly as hell whenever I listen to it. Most of the group's other stuff is much slower than this (not a bad thing), but I think that's what makes this one jump out. This song itself was my favorite find of 2021 and I ranked this album, Private Space, as my second best album of the year.
Bad Bad News- Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges is one of the most talented and versatile R&B crooners in modern music. 2021's Gold Diggers Sound saw him ditch the retro vibes for more progressive soul and the result was actually amazing. However, I am always game for Leon's old school vibes from his first two albums and "Bad Bad News" takes the cake. It's a song that, like all the others on this list, feels so good and confident.
He Loves Me- Brittany Howard
I can't mention the king, Leon, without mentioning the queen, Brittany Howard. I loved Alabama Shakes, but Brittany Howard's solo album, Jaime, is God-tier. If you have noise canceling headphones for this one if you can. The way her explosive voice layers and crescendos on this is insane.
All of the Time- Jungle
It would feel wrong to make a list of my favorite modern soul songs and not include Jungle because they are the biggest and best in electro-soul right now. I saw them on tour for their most recent album, Loving in Stereo (which I named best album of 2021), and it's amazing seeing all the different elements that go into making this collective from the singers, to the production work, to every instrument, a whopping seven people on stage. Check out this whole album if you haven't.