When my husband and I were still dating, we fell for each other pretty hard, pretty quickly. Our origin story involves lots of DMs and late-night phone conversations. It was all a little whirlwind. But one silly thing made the record scratch on our seemingly perfect love song–The man didn’t love Luther Vandross. He knew a song here or there, but he didn’t really think Luther was all that. I. Was. Appalled.
A house is not a home without some Luther in it.
R&B and soul music are my native tongues. I’ve been singing about “doing it all night long” since I had an 8:00 PM bedtime and pigtails. That love runs deep (no pun intended). I don’t know how else to hear Black love except in the dulcet tones of Luther Vandross. Luther is the litmus test, you hear me?! He is the standard by which I measure Chris Brown, Bryson Tiller, The Weekday or whatever his name is, or any Black man who fancies himself a “sanger.”
Were my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I in danger of breaking up? Mmmm, nah. He’s a good one. But some serious soul-singer searching had to occur before we got married. I contemplated a life without an argument over “big Luther” songs vs. “small Luther” and it terrified me. I tried my hardest to show my love the brilliance of Luther’s music. He’s now a firm Luther fan and knows many more songs than he did when we first met. I take credit for every bit of it. (Pops collar)
That incident got me thinking…what other musicians are deal-breaker material? I know most of us don’t bank on finding a mate who matches all of our interests. Music, for me, is a meeting place of memory and the present day. I plot chronology through album releases. When I point out how my husband didn’t know Luther, he reminds me he gave me OutKast. Our musical exchange has been one of the more fun aspects of our relationship. He made the cut in part because he had a bomb CD collection for our road trips.We can't go together if your musical tastes are trash. #SorryNotSorry Click To Tweet
There’s nothing better than love with a good soundtrack.
I hate to start off 2017 with a dash of petty, but a bad mp3 collection is a deal breaker. I can’t live with someone who doesn’t appreciate the Blackstrap molasses of Anita Baker’s voice on “Sweet Love.” Sorry, not sorry.
It’s a bonding moment when my little family rides in the car and we hear Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight” come through the speakers. Or, any Whitney song, really. She’s canon. Bean is starting to pick up the words and it makes my entire day. I fell a little more in love with my husband the day he downloaded Whitney’s entire discography from Spotify.
My love says he cannot imagine a solitary soul on Earth who doesn’t love Michael Jackson. Even though he’s probably right, whoever that person is…an MJ aversion has to be a deal breaker for so many people. What is life without randomly singing “Mama say, mama sa, mama coosa?!” If you haven’t had at least one Bad vs. Thriller debate in your relationship, you’re missing out.
I know several people who love Prince (don’t’ dare call them mere fans). One friend in particular married another Prince devoté. I don’t think she could’ve chosen someone who wasn’t fond of the The Purple One. Prince is the kind of artist whose music polarizes–either you connect through your love of his musicianship or you cannot get past his ruffled shirts.
Any love can be made better by a good love song.
To be honest, I still married a man whose musical tastes vary wildly from my own. He thinks Neo Soul is a genre filled with mushmouth mumblers. His affinity for trap music keeps our daughter singing “Cold Like Minnesota” during bath time. I don’t get it, but I’m glad my inability to understand Rae Sremmurd doesn’t make him call this whole thing off. Loving someone who can’t relate to your favorite artists isn’t easy. I’m just glad we’ll always and forever have Luther.
What musical artists are in your relationship deal breaker package?