Whether you’re trying to tell someone that you love them or you’re trying to articulate that things might not be working, there’s a song for that. Of course, there are a million songs out there that fall under this category and this list barely scratches the surface. But hey, it’s all in the name of love, right? Check out our list of songs to add to your significant other’s playlist below.
“Everlong” – The Foo Fighters
This song’s roots are buried deep in a story of love lost and love gained. At the time that Dave Grohl wrote “Everlong,” he was going through a divorce with his first wife and simultaneously falling in love with another woman. According to Grohl, the song is about the “about a girl that I’d fallen in love with and it was basically about being connected to someone so much, that not only do you love them physically and spiritually, but when you sing along with them you harmonize perfectly.” Now that is adorable.
“Anyone Else But You” – The Moldy Peaches
Many people fell in love with “Anyone Else But You” in 2007 when it appeared on the soundtrack for Juno. It’s a sweet and simple love song that was written while band members Adam Green and Kimya Dawson were looking for love, but not with each other.
“First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes
This is a great pick if you really want to send the waterworks. The song was released on Bright Eyes’ hit album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, and not only tells the story of unshakeable love in its lyrics, but also comes with an equally romantic music video that sees friends and lovers enjoying the song together while gazing into each other’s eyes.
“Without Me” – Mac DeMarco
This on-the-surface seemingly simple love song explores the kind of sacrifice that comes with caring about someone so much that you’d rather see them happy with someone else than not happy at all. Sh*t just got deep in just a few simple lyrics.
“Do You Realize??” – Flaming Lips
This song is a romantic one, but not in the way that you’d think. “Do You Realize??” was written as a kind of love song between two friends. When band member Steven Drozd was going through a really dark and rough time trying to get over a heroin addiction, his suffering pained Wayne Coyne so much that Coyne wrote this song.
“Skinny Love” – Bon Iver
According to Justin Vernon, “skinny love” is his name for a certain kind of unhealthy relationship. “[…] you’re in a relationship because you need help, but that’s not necessarily why you should be in a relationship,” said Vernon in an interview. “And that’s skinny. It doesn’t have weight. Skinny love doesn’t have a chance because it’s not nourished.”
“Do I Wanna Know?” – The Arctic Monkeys
“Do I Wanna Know?” kicks off an album full of songs that explore an ambiguous relationship between two lovers. In this song, Alex Turner manages to put into words the kind of relentless and addictive passion that happens when a spark is lit between two people.
“Knife” – Grizzly Bear
“Knife” only has a few lyrics which can be interpreted in any number of ways, but it’s definitely serenade-worthy.
“I Will Follow You Into The Dark” – Death Cab For Cutie
This song was written entirely by Ben Gibbard during a time in his life that he developed a complicated relationship with death and what comes after. In an interview with Chord Magazine, Gibbard explained that he wrote it to articulate his feelings towards all the people he cared about in his life.
“Maps” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs song that turned 15-years-old this year was reportedly written about the relationship between Angus Andrew (Liars) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ singer Karen O. “There’s a lot of loooove in that song,” Karen O said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “But there’s a lot of fear, too. I exposed myself so much with that song, I kind of shocked myself.”
“I Melt With You” – Modern English
Apparently the line “I’ll stop the world and melt with you” is meant to be taken more literally than you’d think. According to an interview with singer Robbie Grey that appeared on the Valley Girl DVD, the song is quite literally about two people having sex during a nuclear war. You can’t really get anymore morbidly romantic than that.
“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” – The Smiths
According to journalist Simon Goddard in his book Songs that Saved Your Life, this song’s narrative is closely tied to James Dean’s film Rebel Without a Cause, a film that explores one youth’s forbidden love in a rough neighbourhood. The song also quotes a line from the film, that being “It is not my home.”
“Pictures Of You” – The Cure
The Cure isn’t short on love songs, and this one, in particular, is a classic that narrates longing and heartache as it describes finding old photographs and reminiscing on a lost love. Robert Smith has told a number of different origin stories for the song, but most of them describe Smith finding old photos of his wife and losing them in some way.
“All I Need” – Radiohead
One the one hand, “All I Need” is one of Radiohead’s more obvious love songs, with lyrics like “I’m a moth/ Who just wants to share your light” that describe unrequited love. On the other, the song’s music video was made to support MTV EXIT anti-human trafficking campaign, so the visuals in the video are completely unrelated to the song’s content (depending on your interpretation, of course).