Really Good Love Songs
The general public is in dire need of love song advice: Seriously, Harry Styles has had two best selling-albums. Given that Valentine’s day is fast approaching, it’s time to drop some knowledge and reveal a list of love songs you haven’t heard before. And who better to write it than Demo’s chief hater and resident sex symbol, me? (Editor's note: Nice try, Zed. Keep dreaming.)
Everyone knows there are only four kinds of love song: Upbeat, bittersweet, weird, and horny. As such, I’ve organized this list into those four categories, each with five songs. There is also a playlist of all the songs so you can listen as you read.
The Feeling — Sammy Rae
Love is scary: What if you get hurt? “The Feeling” tackles exactly this. Love isn’t worth it, Sammy Rae sings, until you’re lost in the feeling.
Breadcrumb Trail — Slint
“Breadcrumb Trail” is a classic of math rock, but it’s also a cute love song about meeting a fortune teller at an amusement park and inviting her to ride the rollercoaster with you.
Lollipop (Ode to Jim) — Alvvays
Ever meet someone at a grocery store, fall in love, and drop LSD with them? If you’re too scared to try, you could listen to Alvvays’s Molly Rankin sing about it on “Lollipop.”
Sexy Bartender/Intro (Jay & Her) — IDK
This song requires a bit more explanation than the others. It’s the intro Subtrap, a concept album about suburban drug dealers. It’s also a love song that compares IDK’s love for music to falling in love with an attractive bartender who leads him on. While it’s worth listening to in the context of the full album, the song is great as a standalone love song.
Prom Night — Anamanaguchi
“Prom Night” is what happens when a chiptune group hires a great vocalist and writes a love song. Despite having more bleeps and bloops than the SNES Mario soundtrack, Bianca Raquel’s excellent vocal performance ties the song together. (Shoutout Aurora G. for recommending this song to me).
Urantia — Deftones
The Urantia book is a batshit crazy collection of pseudo-philosophical nonsense. What does that have to do with love? Absolutely nothing, but Deftones still named a love song after it. This is also the only song that describes sex as “craw[ling] in a tomb and releas[ing] some honey.”
The King — Sarah Kinsley
“The King” is about the impermanence of love. You give someone everything you have for as long as it lasts; when it inevitably ends, the pain will have been worth it.
Thoroughfare — Ethel Cain
This was the best song released in 2022, period. Prog-pop about falling in love on a road trip out West? Count me in. Anyone who doesn’t like this song should be sent to re-education camps, see Figure 1 below.
Breathless — Waxahatchee
Waxahatchee is best known for her song “Fire,” which, incidentally, is also a fantastic love song, but I wanted to highlight an earlier pick from her album Ivy Tripp. “Breathless” is a fantastic, mellow song that recounts moments—both happy and sad—from a relationship.
Mia — Snail Mail
Mia is technically a breakup song, but who cares, the chorus includes the lyric “I love you forever.” Sometimes, even though a relationship is over, you still love someone, and maybe always will. Love is messy and life gets in the way.
Just Plain Weird
You Speak My Language — Morphine
If you put a gun to my head and told me to provide an interpretation of this song, I would ask you to water my plant after I’m gone. The song is great though.
Multi-Love — Unknown Mortal Orchestra
This song is a trans allegory. I will not explain why.
Violent Stars Happy Hunting!!! — Janelle Monáe, featuring the Skunks
This song comes from one of Monáe’s early concept albums about being a cyborg hunted by the police for falling in love with a human named Anthony Greendown. Anthony Greendown could be the most boring name this side of John Smith, but “Violent Stars Happy Hunting!!!” is a romp through an alien city and a forbidden love.
Someday — Phantogram
This song is about when you get so horny you accidentally fuck your mom and dig out your own eyes, living the rest of your life as a wandering King in exile. (Actually, that’s the plot of the Oedipus trilogy, but “Someday” also features love that causes you to dig out your own eyes.)
Nathalie Neal — Swans
This song samples an Eastern European dance teacher talking about touching your dancing partner’s “buttock,” and that isn’t the weirdest thing about it. What is the weirdest thing? Well, the intro to the song features about a minute of what could best be described as glossolalia. Somehow, Michael Gira and co. managed to fit all that into a love song.
Ah, the section everyone has been waiting for. Everyone at the University of Toronto is emotionally unavailable and horny, so this is the only section anyone cares about; I saved it for last in the hopes of getting people to read the rest of the article.
Oceania — Björk
This is the best love song, ever. Told from the point of view of the ocean, “Oceania” is a clever innuendo; about both the ocean and sex. The line “Your sweat is salty / I am why” is both a reminder that humans come from the ocean, and probably the sexiest thing ever written. I don’t have a crush on Björk, she’s just the coolest person alive.
Reptile — Nine Inch Nails
I love horny coked out goth men! There’s new Trønt music coming out soon, so I decided to include the bizarre, horny delight that is “Reptile.” This is my list, I can do whatever I like. This song is also quite well known—it’s on one of the greatest albums of all time—but its romantic elements are underrated.
Animal — Caroline Rose
Caroline Rose also has new music coming out soon, and LONER, the album featuring “Animal,” is one of my favourites, so “Animal” goes on the list. This song is sensual and catchy, featuring one of Rose’s excellent vocal performances.
Kosmic Luv — Dizzy Fae
The entire mixtape “Kosmic Luv” is from could appear in this slot. It’s an excellent selection of R&B about sex, love, and the politics of masculinity. “Kosmic Luv” is a standout track for its jangly background and the dynamic range Fae puts out.
Leif Erikson — Interpol
“Leif Erikson” is one of the great all-time closing tracks for an album, so it’s fitting to finish the list with it. It’s named after a viking because the piano melody apparently sounds nordic. This is another song that isn’t really that obscure—it was a major part of the post-punk revival in the early 2000s in New York, but the opportunity to close a playlist and a review with Leif Erikson was too good to pass up.