This list goes from “on the topic of love” to “I’m literally sobbing” on the romance scale. Listen at your own peril, and Happy Valentine’s Day folks!
“Someone New,” Hozier
This 2014 song is a big mood for people who fall in love quickly, and fleetingly, or for those who are polyamourous. When Hozier sings, “Honey there is no right way [to be in love],” we all felt that.
“If You Ever Want to Be In Love,” James Bay
Bay, who is famous for the song “Let It Go,” released this hopeful love song in 2016 and I haven’t stopped singing it since. It’s about taking time and meeting people again later in life, and reminds us that love can take time.
“Dela,” Johnny Clegg
This song became famous when it was featured in 1997’s George of the Jungle’s campfire dance scene, which is still the height of sweetheart romance for me. When will 1990’s Brendan Fraser swing into my life and make me his jungle queen?
“1950,” King Princess
King Princess is an iconic lesbian musician who does not hide her sexuality in her songs. This vibrant and dreamlike song shares the intimate feelings of one woman for another, ironically reminiscing about 1950’s housewives but, get this: lesbians.
“No One,” Alicia Keys
Everyone knows this song and it’s hard to not sing along to it when it’s on in the car. Keys really hits those high notes the rest of us can’t, but in the end, singing along to this tune is about the love we have and the love we’ve lost. Just remember, “everything’s gonna be alright.”
“My Girl,” The Temptations
Originally released in 1965, it was later featured in the 1991 movie by the same title. It’s an upbeat, sweetheart song about a man telling the world how much he loves his girl. If you like smooth, synchronized snapping and men in tuxedos, check out this music video.
“Lady In Red,” Chris de Burgh
In this ballad, de Burgh narrates how beautiful his lover is and how he cannot believe that she is with him, dancing through the night. A classic love song for a romantic evening.
“Love Like You,” Rebecca Sugar
This song comes from the singer/animator Rebecca Sugar. The song itself is from her show, Steven Universe; the lyrics “I could even learn how to love” really hit home for anyone who has felt, at any point in their life, undeserving of love. But don’t worry, Sugar is here to tell you that you deserve every ounce of love that the world has to offer.
“Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” Iron & Wine
Yes, this was in Twilight. It’s a baffling song about love, but it spends most of the lyrics talking about cats, birds, blood, and other odd things. The tune is soft and lulling and clearly about affection, and so I’m counting it as a love song.
“My Best Friend,” Tim McGraw
Regardless of your feelings about country music, this song beautifully captures how the love of your life should also be your best friend. None of that hating your spouse shit, but instead, you should love the one you’re with.
“She Keeps Me Warm,” Mary Lambert
This song was famously sampled in 2012 by Macklemore in “Same Love”, but the original full version is much better. It’s about being queer and not wanting to hide it, but acknowledges how difficult life can be for LGBT+ in the dating scene.
“Make You Feel My Love,” Adele
This tune was a tribute to Amy Winehouse and her untimely death, and Adele’s rendition was tragic and lovely at the same time. This song isn’t just about love for a partner, but love for anyone in your life.
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons
Remember a young Heath Ledger dancing down stadium steps to this song in the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You? If you don’t, go give it a watch! This song is a touching admission of love, and Ledger absolutely nailed the dancing for it.
“For Your Precious Love,” Otis Redding
I’ll admit some bias here, as Otis Redding is a heartthrob for me. However, this song will forever be a perfect song to send to or share with the one you love.
“Open Arms,” Journey
Want to tell your darling how much you love them through song, but want it to rock? Journey blew this one out of the park when they released it in 1981, and it hasn’t stopped blowing our minds since.
“Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Elvis Presley
It’s 1961 and Elvis is on the scene, and this tune has wedged its way into many hearts. It is a go-to for romance and if you have not played it for your partner while you slow dance in the kitchen, then add that to your to-do list.
“Up Where We Belong,” Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
I’m not a fan of large birds but this song makes me sob just like the eagles in the lyrics. This is a song for people who have been together for a very long time, and who love each other deeply. Play this for your love to make them get a little teary-eyed.
“Dream Come True,” Frozen Ghost
You might not recognize the title or the band, but when the chorus hits with “Love of my life,” you might just fall to pieces. This heart-wrenching ballad is enough to make even the toughest of us cry, but we do it privately, alone in our showers.
“When A Man Loves A Woman,” Percy Sledge
I first heard this song when I was sixteen and immediately wished that someone, one day, would feel this way about me. This song is the height of devotion, even when the object of your affection doesn’t deserve it, much like how we don’t deserve this song.
“I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston
Dear god, tears are streaming down my face and typing is difficult. Houston released this cover of Dolly Parton’s song in 1992, and it is still the top selling single of any female singer of all time.