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New York. Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon! Birds do, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. After painstaking research and several rock fights, Time Out has arrived at what we believe to be the 50 best love songs of all time. And if things go south, head over and check out our list of the very best breakup songs.
Listen to these songs on Amazon Music. King wails reverby lead vocals against beautiful swirling strings. It's the mushy definition of a love song that becomes all the more powerful for it. But there's real, undeniable hunger in Bobby Hatfield's luminous and raw vocal, the push and pull of the instrumentation is subtler than expected, and the words reveal layers where true fidelity fights to overcome lingering doubt.
The world seems to agree: The Righteous Brothers version of the song remains the most popular and well-loved out of hundreds of recordings from around the globe. Speaking of Ben E. King, his crowning achievement remains this timeless, apocalyptic wonder, which he co-wrote with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. But our favorite boost for the song has to be when it was sung by Barack Obama at a fund-raising event in Three years later, Wilson and the Boys would surpass the master with a song that lifted the notion of the sophisticated love song clean into the heavens.
There was no need to worry. Lennon covered it, Scorsese used it to announce his directorial arrival in Mean Streets , and, as discussed, Brian Wilson was so in awe of its orchestral drive, he famously listened to it times a day. Of course this one should be with you! A globe-trotting musician and a film student meet cute, but what happens when he goes back on tour and she starts drawing the attention of famous athletes?
The dreaded long-distance relationship has been known to decimate many a couple, but not this time. It can be a powerful, fickle jerk, in other words. Set in F minor, the song hits like a breakup. Burt Bacharach, you clever devil.
Aretha belts it like tragedy, too. Love is devastating. She turns her mundane morning ritual—hair, makeup, dressing—into opera. It is the inarticulate poetry of clubbing adolescents. Or, it could be an ode to David Bowie. Either way, nailed it. Written for Eddie Cantor to sing—in blithe blackface—in the movie Whoopee! Though Nina Simone recorded her version in , it became an unlikely chart hit in the U. The irony of this commercial connection is keen, since the song itself represents a rejection of material and cultural distractions.
With matter-of-fact majesty, she restores the love song, in a sense, to its own values. The National is a band best known for its alternately stately and ravaged examinations of existential dread and anxiety—in short, they're far from lovey-dovey. But this track from their breakout album, 's Boxer proves that they're aware of love's curative powers. Harry Connick Jr. Ray Charles knows the feeling. Grand Ole Opry decided to pursue a solo career, became quite the sensation in While the lyrics to this early aughts classic are fairly repetitive, they become almost like a mantra.
We all have those moments when our lives play out like the last five minutes of a CW season finale before the shocking cliff-hanger, natch. Time slows down, all other noises fade. You exchange glances. Your heart flutters. The synthesized strings kick in it was , after all. Though we could have put many a Mimi love song on this list, her smash single made the cut for its classically Carey assurance that come what may, love will triumph.
Otis, you slay us. And the tune, the arrangement, is complex, mercurial, fluttering and diving, able to create a rush from routine. This is the one that will make Senator Blue Ivy weep ages from now. Before she was coming out and wanting the world to know, Diana first staked a claim on disco by virtue of this supreme Motown cut. Just how many times did this song appear on mix CDs made for dorm-room crushes in the aughts?
Plus, who doesn't love Friday? Love is a sweet and splendid thing, but boy, oh boy, can it get dramatic—the rush of endorphins washing through your body when you fall in love, the pangs of pain and fear and longing that can follow. There is a biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love is the only thing that matters in the end. This song gets the job done in something like eight lines, a quarter of which are also the title.
Short and sweet. When Frankie Knuckles gave it a piano house remix in , a new generation went crazy for the song: now artists ranging from Mary J. Blige to KT Tunstall have recorded versions, but none of them reach the thrilling heights of Chaka as she hits the final chorus. Oh, you thought chillwave was some blogger invention of ? McVie stacks and stacks her blissful sighs atop darting, shimmering Buckingham arpeggios and a breezy drum gallop. Eat your heart out, Beach House. For two singers who reached the peaks of musical achievement through astounding ambition and innovation, this restrained and simple love song shows just how talented each was beneath it all.
They sing to each other like Johnny Cash and June Carter, with a whole crowd and a horn section behind them. Looking for a playlist of sexy songs to set the mood? These certified sex songs are just what the doctor ordered. Time Out New York. Get us in your inbox up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from your city and beyond. We already have this . Try another? My My Profile out. My . Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The 50 best love songs of all time.
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50 Best Love Songs to Add to Your Romance Playlist