The Enduring Resonance of Keyshia Cole’s Love: A Deep Dive into Its Lyrics, Meaning, and Impact

by Alex Harris

8th January, 2024

The Enduring Resonance of Keyshia Cole's Love: A Deep Dive into Its Lyrics, Meaning, and Impact

The Genesis of Love

When Keyshia Cole released Love in 2005, little did she know that it would become a defining track of her career. The song, a collaborative effort with Greg Curtis and produced by Curtis and Ron Fair, emerged from a deeply personal space. Cole revealed in an interview with Blender magazine that inspiration struck in a Malibu nightclub, where a glimpse of an old flame with someone new sparked a flurry of emotions and questions. This encounter led to a night of introspective songwriting, culminating in the creation of Love, a song that encapsulates the rawness of her experience.

A Closer Look at the Lyrics

The soul-stirring lyrics of Love speak to the heart’s vulnerabilities and the pain of unrequited affection. Lines like “I used to think that I wasn’t fine enough, and I used to think that I wasn’t wild enough” echo the insecurities and doubts that often accompany unreciprocated love. The chorus, with its poignant realisation, “Love, never knew what I was missin’, but I knew once we start kissin’, I found,” captures the transformative and revelatory nature of love. It’s a narrative that many can relate to, making the song not just a melody but a shared emotional experience.

Chart Success and Recognition

Love was released as the third single from Cole’s debut album The Way It Is in 2005, and it quickly became a hit. The song reached number 19 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming Cole’s highest-charting single at the time. The song also earned platinum certification from the RIAA, selling over one million copies in the US. The song also received critical acclaim, with many praising Cole’s vocal performance, the song’s melody, and its relatability. The song was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 49th Grammy Awards in 2007 and won the Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Female, in the same year.

The Story Behind the Music Video

The music video for Love, directed by Benny Boom and featuring Tyrese Gibson, is a visual representation of the song’s emotional journey. The video is set in New York City, where Cole and Gibson play a couple who go through ups and downs in their relationship. The video shows Cole’s doubts about Gibson’s fidelity, as well as Gibson’s attempts to win her back. The video also features scenes of Cole performing the song in various locations, such as a rooftop, a subway station, and a club. The video was a huge success, as it stayed on the countdown of BET’s 106 & Park for 65 days until it was retired on April 19, 2006.

Enduring Influence and Legacy

Over the years, Love has grown into an R&B classic, inspiring covers from artists like Bruno Mars and H.E.R. Its ability to resonate across generations speaks to its timeless exploration of love and self-worth. The song’s impact goes beyond charts and certifications; it has become a part of the emotional fabric of its listeners.

Keyshia Cole The Way It Is album cover
Keyshia Cole The Way It Is album cover

Reflecting on Love

Keyshia Cole’s Love stands as more than a chart-topping hit; it’s a journey through the complexities of love and self-discovery. Its blend of heartfelt lyrics and soulful melody continues to captivate and comfort listeners, making it a cherished piece of R&B music. Cole’s ability to transform personal heartache into a universal story of love and longing is what makes Love an enduring classic.

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Keyshia Cole Love Lyrics

Verse
I used to think that I wasn’t fine enough
And I used to think that I wasn’t wild enough
But I won’t waste my time tryin’ to figure out
Why you playing games—what’s this all about?
And I can’t believe you’re hurting me
I met your girl, what a difference
What you see in her you ain’t seen in me
But I guess it was all just make believe

Chorus
Oh love, never knew what I was missin’
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found
Love, never knew what I was missin’
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found, found you

Verse 2
Now you’re gone, what am I gonna do?
So empty, my heart, my soul, can’t go on
Go on without you
My rainy days fade away
When you come around, please tell me, baby
Why you go so far away, why you go…

Chorus
Love, never knew what I was missin’
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found
Love, never knew what I was missin’
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found, I found you

Bridge
(Ooh, what I know) I found you (Ooh)
Now you’re gone, what am I gonna do?
So empty, my heart, my soul, can’t go on
Go on, baby, without you
My rainy days fade away
When you come around, say you’re here to stay
With me, boy, I don’t want you to leave me
I… I need you

Chorus
Love, never knew what I was missin’ (I never knew)
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found
Love, never knew what I was missin’ (I never never)
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found, I found…
(We start kissin, I found, I found)
Love, never knew what I was missin’
But I knew once we start kissin’, I found…

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