Fact: I’m a hopeless romantic. Soul mates, butterflies, finding the kind of love that exists in Nicholas Sparks novels–I believe in all of it.
The only thing I enjoy more than watching a good love story play out in one of those novels or a sappy Netflix movie? Listening to a love song.
I think there’s something so special and beautiful about someone expressing their feelings for another to music and then sharing it with the world. In honor of Valentine’s Day then, I’ve compiled a list of my Top 10 Favorite Love Songs of All Time:
10. “Love Song,” Sara Bareilles
I remember being obsessed with this song when it came out. (I still am). I thought it was a unique take on a “love song,” and Sara is both sassy and clever on this track. You want me to write a love song about you? That’s a little presumptuous considering we’re still kind of early on in this “relationship.” Oh wait, let me write about that. Bam, instant #1. (And rightfully so).
9. “Better Place,” Rachel Platten
The top two things I love about this song? First, the piano sounds gorgeous and maintains a steady presence throughout the track. Second, the feelings Rachel expresses are not only relatable, but also stated in a way that is both simple and elegant: love has changed my life for the better. We should all aspire to find something similar.
8. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith
I wouldn’t normally consider a rock song “tender,” but this one is an exception. The emotional quality of the lyrics paired with the drums and Steven Tyler’s signature growl also make for an interesting combination that is unmistakable to the listener. This isn’t just one of the greatest love songs of all time, but one of the greatest songs in music history.
7. “I Hate Love Songs,” Kelsea Ballerini
When I first heard this track from my girl, KB, it reminded me of how I felt the first time I heard Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.” And I know that’s because this one is also not a “typical” love song. I dig Kelsea’s ‘tude and the way she pokes holes in a variety of cliches (kissing in the rain, catching the bouquet, Cupid, the honeymoon phase, etc.). Plus, I also agree that violets are purple, not blue.
6. “Speechless,” Dan + Shay
There are an infinite number of reasons why I love this song, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll share these five: the melody, the guitar riff, Dan + Shay’s vocals on the chorus, the fact that this would be the perfect first dance song if I get married someday, and finally, that I tear up every time I listen to it. The only thing I find better than a good love song is a good country love song.
5. “The Difference,” Tyler Rich
I recently heard this song on my local country station, and it was love at first listen. The track is equally flirty and sweet. In addition, it’s catchy, fun, and it makes me want to dance. And what’s better than that? Nothing.
4. “Call It What You Want,” Taylor Swift
This song isn’t just one of my favorites from reputation, it’s also one of my favorite songs that my girl, T has ever written. Here’s why: she wrote it about finding love when she’d lost everything that mattered (her name, the career that she worked so hard to build, people she thought were her friends). And when she met her guy, he didn’t care about any of that, he loved her for her (an idea iterated on fellow reputation track, “Delicate” as well). In addition, I love this song’s soft, cozy vibe and its honest, heartfelt lyrics like, “I want to wear his initial on a chain ’round my neck, chain ’round my neck/Not because he owns me/But ’cause he really knows me” and “[He] loves me like I’m brand new.” It’s a song that should be sad, but instead will make the listener smile for its entire three-minute, twenty-three-second duration. I know I do.
3. “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley
I’m going to be a little bit ambitious with this one and say that it’s the quintessential love song. Elvis has been gone for a while now, but this song maintains great longevity and has been covered by countless artists since his passing. Great songs transcend all time because of factors like emotional reach and relatability and this song does exactly that. Another song that will go down as one of the greatest in music history.
2. “I’ll Be,” Edwin McCain
I’d be foolish not to include this signature track from Edwin McCain in my list. This may fall under the pop genre, but rock sensibilities are definitely palpable in Edwin’s vocals. The horns complement the guitar sounds well (particularly at the end of the song) and the chorus contains some of the most recognizable lyrics ever written (My personal favorite is: “I’ll be better when I’m older/I’ll be the greatest fan of your life”). Overall, a top-notch track.
1. “Iris,” The Goo Goo Dolls
My final spot on the list goes to this little gem. It’s a song that I constantly heard on the radio as a kid (and that has stuck with me through adulthood), a song I’ve always admired, and a song that I can’t help but sing every word to. I love that instantly recognizable guitar intro; the way Johnny Rzeznik’s vocals start out smooth, then gradually become grittier and more rocker; and of course, the sweeping, completely instrumental breakdown that follows the second chorus. Iconic.
And that’s the list! If you’d like to give any of these songs a listen, I’ve put together a Spotify playlist you can check out (linked below). The songs appear in chronological rank from one to 10.
Have any exciting plans for Valentine’s Day? Want to share your thoughts on my list or tell me your favorite love songs of all time? Comment below or tweet me at @cmsellers14.