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Love Me Like a 90’s Love Song

My seven year wedding anniversary is coming up and my husband has been asking me what I’d like as a gift to commemorate the occasion. The seventh year of marriage is supposed to represent several major milestones, namely the age for perfection and a benchmark by which to judge the success or failure of a couple’s marriage. It is conventional belief that if a married can make it past seven years, their marriage can withstand the most tectonic of events. Given the state of marriage these days – and how abruptly they appear to end – I’m not convinced that this belief holds much truth.

I kicked around a few ideas, none of them particularly exciting.
“I guess I’d like something useful, like maybe a dishwasher or something,” I mused. “Or maybe a bigger rice cooker. You could upgrade the one you got me three years ago.”

My husband didn’t even bother to look at me after I made my lame suggestions. Finally, after much reflection, I came up with the perfect token with which he could express his love.

“Write me a love song,” I ordered.


“A love song,” I repeated. “But not just any love song…it specifically has to be one from the 90’s.”


Pleased with my edict, I proceeded to give him further instructions.

“You have to dress up in tapered pants, find some patent leather shoes with plastic soles, let your hair grow into a short afro and cut two lines in the side, and find a collarless black jacket with shoulder pads that only slightly matches your tapered pants.”

My husband giggled (he actually giggled) when he had a firm image of how ridiculous he’d look in this get up in his mind. He promised that he would see what he could do.

Many people in the M.O.M Squad came of age in the 1990’s, when some of the greatest love songs ever were written. Babyface convinced many a filly (myself included) that by virtue of their existence, they could pervade a man’s thoughts on two occasions only: Day and night! *swoon*. According to Ralph Tresvant, I didn’t need a man who would give me money. All that was required to ensure a woman’s contentment and satisfaction was a man with sensitivity. (Go ahead, sing it with me – A man like me.)

For years I believed him, and wasted my better years giving boyfriends passes for forgetting anniversaries or not coming by or calling when they promised they would. All was forgiven the moment they affected even the most miniscule display of “sensitivity”. Usually this came in the form of an apology letter, wrapped in professions of love and fidelity. I was never quite certain how to feel when those relationships were ended by confirmed allegations of cheating.

Then Mary J Blige burst on the scene, fueling this absurd quest for real love with a single entitled by the same phrase. So, clad in a baseball jersey and Tek boots, a mob Black teens and twenty-somethings hip-hopped our way from dance floors to bedrooms in search of “real love”. Many of us were left jaded and disappointed. What was to be done? En Vogue came along and championed our cause, proclaiming that charlatans were Never Gonna Get It (My Lovin’), and with this new found piousness all previous wrongs would be set to right.
In the interim, Joe, Johnny Gill and Silk were desperately trying to convince us that this new quest for virtue was all a terrible idea. They wanted to know what turned us on, and cry “my my my” while they freaked us. Again, many a lass fell victim to the beguiling words of these lyricists and into the waiting trap of the neighborhood philanderer.

As ethereal, unrealistic and dreamy as this era was, I much prefer it to what we view “love” as in our society today. When the culmination of a relationship is summed up in gruff commands to Drop your pants (!) Drop your booty(!) GIVE it to me(!!), Booty, BOOTY, BOOTY!!! I think you might be inclined to agree that we are in a pretty sad state.

So with that in mind, I have charged my hubby to transport me to my favorite era and return me to a time when I had complete trust in love. I wish I could point him to a modern R&B artists who might offer him some lyrical creativity, but when the Babyfaces of our day – by whom I mean Ne-Yo and Bruno Mars – dolefully wail for us to put our hands on grenades and jump in front of trains as proof of our affections, I become hesitant.

Perhaps he can draw inspiration from I Got Nothin’ by Darius Rucker, which is one of the best love songs ever written and sung in my humble estimation. Is there room in the R&B spectrum for this level of brilliance? One would hope so.

In the meantime, this Black man had to go country to write a swooner in the new millennium and I guess I’ll have to trade in my Teks and Timbs for cowgirl boots.

Do you remember the 90’s? What were the songs that did “it’ for you? Do they ever cross your mind? (See how I did that? 😉 )

This article has 18 comments

  1. mwirigi

    Happy Anniversary!!

    Your post has come at an interesting time. Joe is performing in Kenya for the first time.
    The young ones are complaining on Twitter, kicking a fuss, demanding that the main sponsor style up and bring a “New” artist.

    If only they knew!! 🙂

    • Malaka

      Thank you!!

      Aaahhh!!! These youth? They want “I got 99 problems and a b- ain’t one of them”, eh?

      They can’t be blamed. They don’t know Joe was responsible for their existence in some cases!

  2. Winnie

    Brandy and Tevin Campbell did it for me. The one song “can we talk” has always been how I wanted to be approached. Let’s not get started on Boys II Men.

    • Malaka

      We could talk about Boyz II Men until the cows come home!

      Funny you should mention Can we Talk. That was the song my ex used to collude me into taking him back. Ahh, good times.

  3. Rasheeda

    “I need love” LL Cool J…the quintessential rap love song by Mister Licking Lips himself (thats what I think the LL truly stands for).

  4. NM

    LOL @ falling victim to the neighborhood philanderer! Aahh the 90’s, when lyrics made hearts soar from the euphoria of first love or ache at the thought of being without or losing it! Everything was so urgent LOL!

    SWV: Weak
    Extreme: More Than Words
    Bryan Mcknight: Only One For Me
    Bryan Adams/Sting/Rod Stewart: All For Love
    K-C & JoJo: All My Life (the neighborhood philanderer got me with this one mmmssstttt)
    Don’t Let Go: En Vogue

    I’ll stop there!

  5. Coloured Sugar

    Am a 19 year old Kenyan meaning I was born in the 90`s. Unlike other young guys am so stocked that Joe is coming Mwirigi, Am just sad that I woun`t be able to make it though.
    I don`t really understand why the rest are making a fuss. I come from a very huge family and so back in the day when we always had family get-togethers , music was a very essential part of the evening. My older cousins would always have Aaliya,TLC, Monica, Mary J Blidge(endless list) and the likes to entertain so that`s where my love for the 90`s really caught on. So there are some of us that still have hope and if i may add have awesome taste.
    Happy Anniversary .Tell us what your husband comes up with 🙂

  6. Andrew

    And Marriah (always be my baby) ? Helllooo….this would get the neighbourhood hottie out to play…haha. And of course en Vogue, Xscape, Janet Jackson…’she don’t know what she’s got till it’s gone’, my o my. I won’t adulterate the comments section with the likes of Fugees and such…well, rappers…ahh, the 90s

    • Malaka

      Eiii ANdrew!! This would get the neighborhood hottie out to play? We’re you by chance the neighborhood philanderer or the shy guy? 😉

      • Andrew

        Haha, yeah, out to play…but totally the shy guy…horribly so!! And so music was a good distraction to avoid talking…or drawing maps on the ground with my foot *something I thought was totally reserved for the girls* 🙂

  7. siaj won

    @NM…woaaaaaaaaaaaah you got all my favorites there.Yeah I want the 90’s back…I loved the group “Changing faces” and their hit song.. stroke you up..I loved Salt n Pepa and had my long hair cut into a salt n pepa esque do to the utter dismay of my Mom.Who cared/ I was chubby,wore ripped jeans and in love for the first time in my life…real love I am talking about real love…Even though the 90’s were great years but I love Lionel Richie’s ” Three times a lady” so much.I almot forgot the other girl group I loved was ”
    Jade”…the hit was “Don’t walk away”…

    • NM

      @siaj won: LOL at the hair cut bit! Remember Brownstone? The girl in the “If You Love Me” video had me wanting to shave my head…..but um, head contours and whatnot wouldn’t permit. 🙂 Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away” inspired my combat boots, short skirt look.

      & Oh my word on Keith Sweat’s “Twisted” and “Nobody”…..have mercy!

  8. siaj won

    Aaah Malaka…You have trasported me into a time capsule…another big favorite of mine was Keith Sweat’s “twisted”…That was my 21st birthday party special song. Also Peter Andre’s Mysterious girl..

    • Malaka

      HAHAAAA!!! I can see I’ve taken you back! Can virtually hear your fingers tapping furiously on the keyboard. Oh dear me! 😀

  9. siaj won

    @NM..Yes Yes Yes!! Brownstone…that short do….you and me both! Rememeber the group Zhane???
    @Malaka…I know…the sad part is Trayvon Martin (born in mid 90’s) will never get to reminisce about B.o.B,Chris Brown and the rest of them.When he died,he had a girl in his life and I am wondering what their song was.

    • NM

      @siaj won: Zhane……alright now! ‘Sending My Love’ was the jam!
      That reminded me of Groove Theory’s “Tell Me”……this was one of the best posts EVER! Thanks Malaka 🙂

  10. Stella Rambiki Horace

    I know these guys are an infamous duo but “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” by Milli Vanilli was my anthem. Who can forget those cool dread locks and multi coloured suits and their famous dance moves. Another another song that incapsulates real love is “All I’ll Ever Ask” by Freddie Jackson featuring Najee. Listen to the lyrics. Classic.

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