Billboarding: March 31, 2008, Keith Sweat Lives

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It's time again to circle back around to the "adult" side of the charts -- and since we've already looked at "adult" Top 40 and the "adult" Adult Contemporary (what?), this week, we're going to run down the Top 10 Hot Adult R&B tracks. Yes, the kids might be wearing their hats cocked to the side and their pants down below their ass cracks, but here on the Adult R&B chart, things are a little more refined -- you can expect plenty of midtempo grooves, a whole bunch of "babys," and oh my God, Keith Sweat!

1. Keyshia Cole, “I Remember” (Geffen/Imani)
This is pretty much the textbook definition of adult R&B, isn’t it? You’ve got your strings, your midtempo groove, your impassioned-yet-tasteful vocals, and your story about somebody doing someone wrong. Oh, and for extra “adult” appeal: A bunch of tats and boobie shots. Let’s slow dance, everyone!

2. Alicia Keys, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” (J)
Not the best track from Keys’ new album, certainly – but since that track, “No One,” has already been a monster hit, you’ve got to go with what you’ve got, and this is a perfectly serviceable chunk of modern rhythm & blues, is it not?

3. Jaheim, “Never” (Atlantic)
Okay, so Jaheim’s vocal delivery might suggest a chronic case of the hiccups, but the dude’s also got plenty of charisma – and “Never” has an effortlessly breezy old-school hook. We could probably do without the dozen “babys” between verses, but why quibble?

4. Raheem DeVaughn, “Woman” (Jive)
DeVaughn may only be on his second album, but he knows how to build a surefire hit: Spend four minutes waxing rhapsodic about the female of the species – and stuff the video with pictures of the female of the species. Boom! Hello, Grammy nomination and Top 10 single!

5. Mary J. Blige, “Just Fine” (Geffen/Matriarch)
Mary J. leads off her eighth album with a song that is, according to the singer, “based on me having a good day.” The video’s opening moments, on the other hand, appear to be based on Blige having a sudden attack of Human Torch Syndrome – but that doesn’t change the fact that this is one addictive little single.

6. Erykah Badu, “Honey” (Motown)
The video is a stone cold ripoff of Morningwood’s “Nth Wonder,” but there’s no arguing with the track’s bouncy good time. Good luck to Motown execs who want to spin off a second single from Badu’s new album, though; there’s a reason the first cut serviced to radio is the record’s bonus track.

7. Angie Stone, “Sometimes” (Stax)
After years of underperforming at Sony, Stone jumped ship to the revitalized Stax Records, where her latest album – featuring guest spots from Betty Wright and James Ingram(!) – has already set personal sales records. This song, though? Eh…it’s just okay.

8. Keith Sweat feat. Paisley Bettis, “Suga Suga Suga” (Rhino)
A lot of people laughed when they heard Keith Sweat was coming out with another album – on Rhino, no less – but Sweat’s having the last laugh with “Suga Suga Suga,” even if the song finds him providing a horny second fiddle to Ms. Bettis. Now where’s that Johnny Kemp comeback?

9. Mariah Carey, “Touch My Body” (Island)
It’s got maybe the best hook of all Mariah’s post-Glitter singles, not to mention one of her least annoying vocal performances of the 21st century. Add a video featuring 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer and a heaping helping of Mimi’s righteous rack, and how can you go wrong? (Answer: you can’t.)

10. Musiq Soulchild, “teachme” (Atlantic)
Soulchild spits out enough lyrics in the verses to make three songs – and we keep waiting, in vain, for him to knock off the dopey spelling shtick – but “teachme” makes for a decent bookend to Keyshia Cole’s chart-topper this week; both tracks are heavy with old-school R&B style. That’s what this chart is for, right?

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