Pop music, for all its faults, can never be accused of being original. Wikipedia shows a whopping 41 different songs called Let Me Love You, from Lee Bell in 1952 right up to K-Pop duo Junggigo and Chanyeol only last year. But who has the time to filter through all 41 songs, tossing aside the 2008 Macedonian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest and the acoustic anthem by American country singer Fred Knoblock?
LET ME LOVE YOU – DJ SNAKE AND JUSTIN BIEBER (2016)
A song which screams mediocrity from start to finish. Having someone mournfully wail “Don’t you give up/Nah nah nah/I won’t give up/Nah nah nah/ So let me love you” is hardly going to convince anyone that you’re worthy of loving them, and the equally mournful hook which uses approximately five different notes in a slightly different order fills in the gaps.
The song couldn’t sit any closer to the middle of the road if it tried, a sentiment reflected in its chart performance. Let Me Love You only managed to hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and only managed to reach No. 19 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, a position which perfectly encapsulates the song because if it isn’t even top ten in its own genre, what hope does it have?
To be honest, the song worthy only of a mention on this list because it’s amazing that two of the 21st century’s most dominant pop forces could come together to produce something so blisteringly average. On second thoughts, the 2008 Macedonian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest was probably slighter better.
LET ME LOVE YOU – ARIANA GRANDE AND LIL WAYNE (2016)
A slow and sultry tune, Ariana and the greatest rapper of all time Lil Wayne bring stifling, late-night vibes to their interpretation of Let Me Love You. Unlike every other song on this list, which feature whineybois begging their potential girlfriends to please just give them a go, Ariana takes her chance to use someone else to get over her ex.
“I just broke up with my ex/ Now I’m out here single, I don’t really know what’s next/ But I ain’t even trippin’, I’mma chill and sit back/ And I know they will be coming from the right and the left, left, left.”
After a few verses of complaining, the greatest rapper of all time Lil Wayne then joins the fray, losing points for a cheap innuendo on the word ‘Grande’ but gaining them back for a) shoehorning in a line about suffering from amnesia just so he had a word to rhyme with “feature” and b) shoehorning in a line about the US Coast Guard Service just so he had a phrase to rhyme with “Oh Lord”.
LET ME LOVE YOU – NE-YO (2012)
“Hold on,” we hear you cry! “Ne-Yo wrote the best Let Me Love You of all time! Of all time!”
That is true, for reasons we’ll explain later, but it wasn’t this one, although this one is an absolute tune. He wastes no time in getting into it, with the song opening with a soaring piano riff and rumbling percussion a soaring chorus before his Norwegian collaborator comes in with a soaring techno riff, which all meld seamlessly.
Lyrically, this one also differs from the others but we’ll let the man himself explain this one:
“It goes beyond the realm of just a relationship between man and woman,” Ne-Yo said, in the days where a song was accompanied by a press release. “This is understanding what it is to allow another person to get close enough to you to teach you how to love yourself. This song, if taken care of the right way, could help the world!”
Too right, Ne-Yo. Too right.
LET ME LOVE YOU – DJ REBEL & MOHOMBI FEAT. SHAGGY (2016)
What happens when you put a Belgian DJ, a Swedish-Congolese singer and Jamaican superstar Shaggy in a room? A heavenly pop hit sampling the Algerian folk song Abdel Kader, that’s what.
DJ Rebel is big in his home country of Belgium but hasn’t quite had breakthrough success in our market, unless you count a viral remix of a song from Pirates of the Caribbean with a very, very cool accompanying video of DJ Rebel in Lego performing to a crew of pirates. Very, very cool. Mohombi’s Wikipedia page was definitely written by Mohombi, and Shaggy needs to introduction. A modern classic that managed to fly under the radar, with two other Let Me Love You’s released in the same year.
LET ME LOVE YOU – MARIO (2004)
The year was 2004 and Mario, at the tender age of 18, was about to unleash upon the world an absolute monster which still resonates a decade and a half later. It’s a song you can pick up in 2008, put down, then pick back up again 2014 and still be moved. The tune was co-written by Ne-Yo, who also provided backing vocals, so you naysayers at No. 3 can calm down now.
While Mario’s contemporaries have been relegated to the realm of nostalgic Spotify playlists, Let Me Love You stands at the pinnacle of human achievement.
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius.