Words by Nicole Wedding
Did you think love songs were just for lovers? Think again. Whether you’re confused, crushing, heartbroken or just in love with the concept of love — there’s a track for that.
You’ve got a new crush:
Blue Bird — Dirty Projectors
“The Palace Versailles is nice / but if I am honest, I feel just fine on this bench with you”
This song is sickeningly sweet, so you really have to save it for those times you’re looking through rose-coloured glasses. Long-term compatibility? Who has time to think about that when you’re busy staring into someone’s eyes?!
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me — Mel Carter
“They told me, ‘Be sensible with your new love’ / ‘Don’t be fooled, thinking this is the last you’ll find’ / But they never stood in the dark with you, love”
There are a few different recordings of this song, but my favourite version has an unmistakable string arrangement. Every time I hear those violins, my thoughts are: “Love must be real! How else could someone write a string arrangement so beautiful?” This song perfectly captures the feeling of naïve, all-consuming infatuation, and I am here for it.
It’s Oh So Quiet — Björk
“You want to laugh, you wanna cry / You cross your heart and hope to die”
I’m sure science can provide a good explanation for what happens to your brain when you’re in love, but I would rather just listen to Björk. Her cover of this ’50s classic has everything: exploding crescendos, an ebb and flow of emotions, and movie-musical-ready arrangements. The Spike Jonze-directed music video is also the best.
You can’t figure someone out:
I’m Your Man — Leonard Cohen
“I’ll do anything you ask me to / And if you want another kind of love / I’ll wear a mask for you”
Does this person want a relationship? How do they like to communicate? What do they want from our interactions, and do they even like me at all? I don’t have the answers to those questions, and neither does Leonard Cohen. This tune is perfect anyway.
You truly know someone:
Honey and Smoke — case/lang/veirs
“It’s all honey and smoke / They don’t really love you / Like I do”
Firstly, how good is this supergroup? Secondly, how dreamy is this song? Hints of jealousy might be detectable in the lyrics, but they’re delivered with such warmth that you can’t help but soften when hear the admiration this person has for their partner.
Your feelings are unrequited:
Strawberry Blond — Mitski
“You tell me you love her / I give you a grin”
There are a lot of unrequited love songs in the Mitski back catalogue, but this one stands out because it just sounds so cheerful. It’s easy to wallow in the pain of discovering someone doesn’t feel the same way as you, but what’s the point? It’s scary to be sincere and vulnerable, and you should be proud of the fact you saw the best in someone.
You’re ready to move on:
A Lot’s Gonna Change — Weyes Blood
“Falling trees, get off your knees / No one can keep you down”
If I have a daughter one day, this is the song I’d share with her if she’s going through her first heartbreak. Although life is short and abandonment almost inevitable, it’s a beautiful reminder that there is still so much more to come — even if it doesn’t feel that way yet. It’s all about perspective.