Whether you’re loved up, in lust, newly single, or in a happy relationship with yourself, you need a proper Valentine’s Day playlist. I’ve compiled some of my favorite songs that cover the whole feels spectrum.
“Drunk In Love (DrewsThatDude and Fortune Remix)” – Beyonce
The absolute best cover of “Drunk In Love” I’ve ever heard. Fortune and DrewsThatDude give Bey a run for her money.
“Pop Thieves (ft. Jaden Smith)” – Childish Gambino
After hearing this, I wished that CG would ditch rapping and just get into his R&B groove.
“Airy (ft. Kelela)” – Obey City
Pretty and poignant, “Airy” uses dreamy 80s instrumentals with Kelela’s subtly dramatic delivery to craft a really moving ballad.
“Little Bit (ft. Drake)” – Lykke Li
Quite possibly the song that launched a thousand “Drake tears” memes.
“Love For That (ft. Shura)” – Mura Masa
Mura Masa is the unofficial king of thoughtful, emotional pop, as evidenced by the delicately striking “Love For That”.
“Words I Don’t Remember” – How To Dress Well
My all-time favorite love song. Ever.
“69 Camaro (ft. Bobby Saint)” – Penthouse Penthouse
“Cry For You” – Jodeci
It’s not really a Valentine’s Day playlist if you don’t have some Jodeci on there. A bit corny, sure, but don’t act like you don’t love that melodramatic ’90s R&B riffing.
“Keep On Lying (TOKiMONSTA Remix)” – Jessie Ware
“Keep On Lying” is one of those devastatingly beautiful love songs that sticks with you for a long time. Ware is an unfathomably good songwriter, but her fragile vocals are really brought to life by LA producer TOKiMONSTA.
“Forever” – Majid Jordan
Many love songs unintentionally shift from sentimental longing into over-the-top begging and pleading. Majid Jordan’s found that perfect balance between genuine sincerity and raw sensuality, and “Forever” is a great example of that.
“You Give Me Something” – James Morrison
I feel this is a really overlooked romantic ballad from the aughts. The ease of the bold horns and a raspy falsetto make Morrison’s heartfelt breakout hit a mainstay in my list of favorite love songs.
“Lover’s Carvings” – Bibio
Gentle and understated, “Lover’s Carvings” isn’t necessarily a traditional love song, but hey – who says we’re sticking to what’s traditional?
“The Way You’d Love Her” – Mac DeMarco
Mac’s sleepy crooning belies his sensitivity. Simple, twangy guitars give “The Way You’d Love Her” a wistful touch without it being cloying.
“When You’re Smiling and Astride Me” – Father John Misty
FJM is the Renaissance Man of love songs and this one in particular always makes me want to start kissing someone.
“Weak” – Wet
If you don’t know about Wet, you need to. Listen. Learn. Let them break your heart.
“Video” – India.Arie
As RuPaul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the HELL are you gonna love somebody else?”
“Faithful” – Jacques Greene
I often feel that some of the most emotionally provocative songs are the ones that don’t have a clear-cut meaning in their lyrics. Sultry and mysterious, “Faithful” lets you frame your own feelings around a soulful hook and moody synths.
“Anytime (Kittens Remix)” – Brian McKnight
Classic Brian McKnight gets a footwork revamp, and it’s…. surprisingly fantastic.
“Ascension” – Maxwell
“Ascension” was one of the biggest tracks to come out of the Neo-soul movement in the 1990s, and listening to it, you can hear that it set the groundwork for a significant amount of today’s R&B. Beautifully straightforward lyrics and Maxwell’s stunning falsetto make this a must on my playlist.
“Alive” – Kehlani
“I deserve a love that is gonna last.”