This week in 1995, TLC released what might be the quintessential baby-making song: “Red Light Special.”

Written and produced by da gawd Babyface, “Red Light Special” was the second single from the group’s blockbuster album, CrazySexyCool. The song is all sex. From beginning to end. And somehow, it succeeds in being immensely sexual without being too explicit.

The video for “Red Light Special” fully and completely matches the energy of the song. Super sexy and yet not too raunchy to be played on daytime television.

The video shows all three members of the group playing poker in a room full of mostly of half-naked men, including a young Boris Kodjoe. As it turns out, the video is set in a brothel and the men are prostitutes. And Left Eye is their pimp.

If I said I was able to glean all of that information on my own, I’d be lying. Shout-out to Wikipedia.

In addition to celebrating this song’s 25th anniversary, we’re also going up for Chilli, who turns 49 today. Click play.

SZA and Justin Timberlake linked up for the lead single from the Trolls World Tour soundrack, “The Other Side.” The movie, which also stars JT, is a sequel to 2016’s Trolls, which also had a soundtrack led by a Timberlake single, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” (his last No. 1 hit).

Much like “Can’t Stop,” “The Other Side” is a melodic up-tempo with disco influences — this time, we even have disco balls in the video. The song, is as “radio-friendly” as they come, and mind you, this is not a bad thing. Watch the video below.

On February 22, 2000, Aaliyah released what would become a history-making hit: “Try Again.”

Written by Timbaland and Static Major, the track served as the lead single from the Romeo Must Die soundtrack. The song opens with Timbo rapping a line from Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul,” and before you know it, we’re hit with one of the hardest beats ever.

Interestingly, “Try Again” was initially written as an inspirational song, but the music gods heard the beat and sent a message through Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, who suggested a modification of the lyrics.

The “Try Again” video was something of a reintroduction to Aaliyah. She had shed much of the tomboy image for which she had been known, and was decidedly sexier and more confident.

“Try Again” has the distinction of being the first song in history to top the Billboard Hot 100 off the sole strength of radio airplay. In summary, “Try Again” dominated the airwaves.

Exactly 20 years ago today, the world was introduced to a white girl with pink hair and a black voice. Alecia Moore, better known as Pink, released her debut single, “There You Go.”

Written by Kandi Burruss, Kevin Briggs and Pink, “There You Go” definitely follows the tradition of sassy kiss-off anthems that Kandi was known for at the time. And production-wise, it is definitely very similar to “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “No Scrubs” — somehow, my pre-teen self didn’t catch these similarities, but 20 years later, they are glaring.

At the time, we all thought we had years of dope R&B to come from Pink, but little did we know, she would switch up on us by the time her second LP dropped the following year.

Pink made a clean break from R&B and never looked back. The music has been good for the most part, but we’ll always wonder what could have been. Also, we will always be left with the feeling that Pink used black culture — in sound, look and feel — as a prop to get noticed quickly. It’s one thing to merely sing R&B, but Alecia hit us with the blaccent and everything. She was Miley before Miley was Miley, and unfortunately, there will be many more like her.

Watch the “There You Go” video below.

The Weekend dropped “After Hours,” the third lead single and title track of his upcoming album, which drops on March 20.

Sonically speaking, “After Hours” is  standard Weeknd. Unfortunately, standard Weeknd isn’t always good.

Sub-par vocals are tolerable if they’re supported by a strong melody or solid production, neither of which we get on “After Hours.” And to make matters worse, the song is six minutes long.

The good news (for the Weeknd) is that he is now a commercial powerhouse who no longer needs to release quality music. Expect this song to debut in the top 5 next week.

Singing about heartbreak usually takes a bit of life experience to do so convincingly, but when you’re a 16-year-old phenom, you can sing with the conviction of one who is truly broken-hearted.

In the summer of ‘95, Brandy released “Brokenhearted” as the fourth and final single from her self-titled debut album. Written by Keith Crouch and Kipper Jones, the song samples Loleatta Holloway “Cry to Me,” another outstanding ballad.

Like much of Brandy, “Brokenhearted” possesses the substance of a song that grownups could listen to without shame, all while maintaining qualities that appeal to the core fan base of a teenage Brandy. “I’m young, but I’m wise enough to know” is almost a rallying cry, opening the song with a clear statement about who this is by and who this is for.

The original version of “Brokenhearted” never got the video treatment, but one was made for a remix featuring Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris. For some odd reason, I used to think the remix was better, and though it is a solid track, there’s something haunting about the original that will have you feeling like you’re fresh out of a relationship.

“Brokenhearted” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the live performance below, Brandy performs the original but includes the bridge from the remix, thereby giving us the best of both worlds. Check it out below.

Justin Bieber just released “Intentions” (featuring Quavo), the second single from his upcoming album, Changes. Its documentary-style video focuses on people doing important work in their community despite significant trials and tribulations. The camera follows the Biebs and Quavo as they talk to these humanitarians and ultimately make generous donations to help them fulfill their intentions. It’s all very “God’s Plan.”

Justin Bieber does some of the best singing he has ever done on “Intentions,” and quite frankly, if he released this song as its first single (as opposed to “Yummy”), he wouldn’t have needed to beg people to stream it — only for it to be blocked from No. 1 by Roddy Ricch and slip out of the top 10 after two weeks. Hate to see it.

Check “Intentions” out below.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to announce that Onika Maraj is back in her bag.

Being described as a “promotional single” (i.e., a song that the record label is expecting to underperform), “Yikes” is Nicki’s strongest showing in years — arguably better than every song on Queen. In the less than 24 hours since its release, the song has topped the iTunes chart in 17 countries and is still No. 1 in the US as of the time of this posting.

With the exception of a questionable Rosa Parks reference (which Nicki makes no apologies for), there isn’t much to criticize about “Yikes.” Check it about below.

If you’re familiar with this blog and how songs are reviewed around here, you will know that melody is paramount. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that “Mr. Melody” by Natalie Cole is an all-time favorite.

For starters, there is a line in the song that says, “Without you, I would have no song,” which is a simple fact about music —- the only thing that makes it music (as opposed to poetry or prose) is a melody. Melody *is* music.

That being said, Natalie Cole is definitely singing about sex and whatnot, but the point stands.

“Mr. Melody” lives up to its title with a beautiful melody that draws you in from the very beginning. And toward the end of the song, Natalie Cole does some of the best scatting you will ever hear.

Released as the second single from her sophomore album, Natalie, “Mr. Melody” isn’t one of Natalie Cole’s biggest hits, but it is definitely among her best work. Check it out below.