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Silly love songs: A Valentine’s Day mixtape

By Ansharah Shakil, February 12 2024—

Love songs have existed for centuries, and come in all sorts of forms, dominating radio charts and best-of lists. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, this playlist has both cheerful, upbeat romantic songs and slower songs for those suffering from heartache.  

Side A: Hopeless romantics 

1. “Valentine” by COIN

This is especially fitting considering that COIN released this song on Valentine’s Day, and it perfectly captures what being in love can feel like.

2. “Tiny Little Bows” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Nothing will restore your faith in love like the lyric, “Cupid, draw back your bow and let your arrow flow straight to my lover’s heart for me” in one of Jepsen’s most bubbly and infectiously romantic songs. 

3. “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure

One of The Cure’s best singles, “Just Like Heaven” soars through its runtime, wildly addictive and euphorically lovestruck, made for jumping around and screaming the lyrics.

4. “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX 

Since “Boom Clap” turns ten this year, it’s time to go back to that irresistible chorus and all the joyful, fervent emotion it manages to express in two syllables. 

5. “Love is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia

The iconic “Love is Strange” is deservedly well-known for its cheeky spoken dialogue section and catchy guitar riff. 

6. “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry 

A bubblegum pop classic, “Teenage Dream” is one of the most Valentine Day’s songs ever, especially in the lyric “every February, you’ll be my Valentine.”

7. “Valentine” by 5 Seconds of Summer

5SOS called this the ultimate Valentine’s Day song when it came out, and the infatuated lyrics — contrasting alongside the bassline as the band tip their pop-punk sound into gothic territory — make it a standout in their discography.

Side B: Hopeless about romance

8. “Valentine” by Fiona Apple 

Like most of Apple’s songs, this is constructed so cleverly, carefully and delicately that it’s almost impossible to fully absorb its vivid, heart-wrenching emotion.

9. “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears

All the confusing fears of loving someone are gathered here in one dreamy, glimmering melody, the idyllic production as poignant as the lyrics. 

10. “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star

It’s impossible to listen to the chiming tambourines and slow, gorgeous waltz of “Fade Into You” and not feel the hopeless longing pulled off by the slide guitar and the smoky, soothing vocals. 

11. “Say Yes” by Elliot Smith

“Say Yes” is a surrender: Smith plucks along a simple acoustic melody over vulnerable lyrics full of beautiful imagery. 

12. “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé  

Bittersweet and passionate, “Sandcastles” is a ballad for the ages, with vocals full of raw emotion that will take your breath away.   

13. “White Ferrari” by Frank Ocean 

The lyrics of “White Ferrari” are poetry. Three minutes in, distortion signals a change to one of its most profound verses, set off by a captivating falsetto. The entire song is instantly gripping, dissonantly gorgeous and unforgettable.

14. “Valentine, Texas” by Mitski  

Named for a real small town founded on Valentine’s Day, “Valentine, Texas” is a dazzling, haunting and mesmerizing album opener.

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