Real Loves, in Order of Realness

by Douglas Bleggi

20. Stephanie Mills

About as real as you’re going to get rolling down the frozen aisle or waiting in a doctor’s office, which is likely the only place you will hear it, ever.

19. Lisa Stansfield

Real, but not nearly as real as “All Around the World.”

18. Slaughter

When your birth name is Slaughter, I have to take you for your word when you’re talking about the realness of anything.

17. Beautiful Machines

Pretty legit love.

16. Lil Cuete

Sounds sort of like Zapp’s “Computer Love,” which I think is valid love.

15. David Gray

If you’ve seen his video for “Babylon,” you know the man knows a thing or two about real love.

14. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne

The realness is in the drop.

13. Skyy

The realest of the slow jam variety.

12. Swans

Proof that real love can be really scary.

11. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers

Things are always pretty real when these two get together.

10. The Smashing Pumpkins

A fairly underrated latter-day single, if only for the realness.

9. Doobie Brothers

The authenticity of Michael McDonald’s realness can not be disputed.

8. El Debarge

DeBarge is pretty real — I mean, check out those moves.

7. Muddy Waters

I feel like we should take his word on knowing when real love is indeed real. (Hint: It’s when you make it to him).

6. Rootkit featuring Danyka Nadeau

Norwegian producer Rootkit has real love on lock with a dancefloor jam that you could slip in comfortably between “When a Fire Starts to Burn” and Robin S.’s “Show Me Love.”

5. Delorean

The realness is in the sheer bliss of the tune — all lush synths, chopping percussion, ecstatic house pianos, and that crazy vocal sample that weaves in and out.

4. Jody Watley

The David Fincher-directed video was so real that it made MTV history in picking up six nominations at that year’s VMAs.

3. John Lennon

This “Real Love” is “really real” simply for how much the track is really loved, considering how many times it’s been covered.

2. Beach House

It’s hard to get any realer, except of course for…

1. Mary J. Blige

…the realest real love of all.