Donell Jones is an American singer-songwriter. He embarked on a music career in the mid-1990s and has continued to the present time. However, Jones is most notable because of his first two studio albums, which were released in 1996 and 1999. These provided most of his best-known songs, though that isn’t to say the rest of his studio albums aren’t worth listening to.
Here are our picks on 10 of the best Donell Jones songs ever released:
10. “The Finer Things in Life”
“The Finer Things in Life” is a more recent song than most of its counterparts on this list. It came out on Lyrics, which is Jones’s fifth studio album that came out in 2010. Those who are unfamiliar with his songs should have no problem guessing that this is a love song of sorts. To be exact, the viewpoint character talks about treating his lover well, which includes providing her with luxuries.
9. “I’m Gonna Be”
Similarly, “I’m Gonna Be” is also a more recent song. In its case, it came out on the fourth studio album, Journey of a Gemini. Much of its appeal comes from its smooth vocals, which enable it to sell its intended message surprisingly well.
“Forever” came out on the studio album of the same name in 2013. It doesn’t quite hit the same heights as the best of Jones’s best. Despite that, it is the work of a skillful artist who had honed his art for more than one-and-a-half decades by that point. As such, it is every bit as polished as one would expect from a veteran singer who effectively specializes in love songs.
7. “This Luv”
“This Luv” is the first song on this list to come from one of Jones’s first two studio albums. Specifically, it was on Where I Wanna Be, which would be the studio album released in 1999 rather than 1996. Even though Jones was a much less experienced artist at those times, his stellar performance enabled this mid-tempo song to beat out “Forever” on this list.
6. “You Know That I Love You”
“You Know That I Love You” was the first single from Jones’s Life Goes On in 2002. On the whole, that studio album didn’t take any huge risks. However, it managed to be consistently satisfying by combining emotional deliveries with suitable lyrics. This song is one of the best examples of that pairing, which explains why it was chosen as the first single. It peaked at the number 54 position in the United States and the number 41 position in the United Kingdom, which were very respectable results.
No one has ever managed to codify the making of hit songs. As a result, it is common to hear of artists who manage to get their sound right from the very start, which they may or may not be able to repeat for their subsequent releases. Jones is a great example of someone who struck gold right away. “Yearnin'” stands as proof of that. Its lyrics aren’t what anyone would consider particularly sophisticated. Still, the singer’s emotions carry through well, thus providing it with a power beyond what mere words would indicate.
4. “I Want You to Know”
Emotional vulnerability is critical for love songs. After all, love can’t happen unless people open up to one another. “I Want You to Know” is evidence that Jones understood this as far back as his debut. Moreover, he managed to show his sensitive side while sounding sweet.
3. “U Know What’s Up”
Some artists struggle with their sophomore releases. Essentially, they managed to hit upon a winning combination of factors the first time around, but they aren’t sure whether they can recapture that magic for their follow-up effort. That is a lot of pressure, which a lot of people don’t fare well under. Jones doesn’t seem to have been one of those. His second studio album did quite well. Indeed, the first single “U Know What’s Up” became his most successful single ever released. It was a Top 10 hit in several countries including the United States and Canada. Surprisingly, it was most successful in the United Kingdom, where it fell just short of the very top by peaking at the second position. Suffice it to say that most artists never manage to make it to such heights.
2. “Knocks Me Off My Feet”
The original version of “Knocks Me Off My Feet” was a Stevie Wonder song. It was never a single, but it became much beloved anyway. Indeed, people liked it so much that many artists have covered it. Even so, Jones made either the most memorable or one of the most memorable covers, not least because he released it as the second single from his debut studio album. It is hard not to hum along with the song. Similarly, it is hard not to feel a connection to the lyrics, which describe such an overwhelming feeling of love that the viewpoint character has a hard time standing up straight.
1. “Where I Wanna Be”
“Where I Wanna Be” doesn’t quite have the same conventional appeal as some of the earlier songs on this list. Still, there are good reasons why it managed to reach the number 29 position in the United States when it was released as a single from the studio album of the same name.
It tells the story of someone who is torn between his desire to experience life on his own and his desire to do right by his lover. The song might not present its viewpoint character in the saintliest of lights, but in a way, its complexities make it feel more honest and more authentic. Something that makes it special in a very intriguing way.
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