Musical Proof That Men Really Are Romantic

 bruno mars peter gabriel stevie wonder the ramones

Think guys aren’t romantic? Give these 35 songs by men a listen and change your mind. 

Somehow, the notion of what is romantic seems to have fallen into the realm of the feminine. We’re surrounded by messages that romantic films are “chick flicks” and that Valentine’s Day is a test for guys to prove that they’re romantic.

But that’s total crap. Yeah, I said it. The idea that men aren’t romantic, and don’t care about romance is BS and most of us know it.

So in honor of the little-recognized romantic nature of men, here is a list of 35 of the most romantic songs ever written and performed – and they’re all by men! Whether you like the classics, pop hits, soulful singer-songwriters or real rock, there’s something here to help you build a truly romantic playlist.

This list was assembled by an awesome group of our editors and friends, men and women of many different ages and experiences, and we hope you love all this love.

The Classics:

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I Was Made To Love Her – Stevie Wonder

If this song doesn’t make you happy, nothing will.

Something – The Beatles

You Are Too Beautiful – Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane

Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

One of those classic love songs that never gets old. Van Morrison has the market cornered on soulful love songs.

What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) – Jr. Walker and the All Stars

You’ve Made Me So Very Happy - Blood, Sweat & Tears

Mary – Pete Townshend

Thank You – Led Zeppelin

“If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. When mountains crumble to the sea, there would still be you and me.”

♦◊♦

The Pop Hits:

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Kiss Me – Ed Sheerhan

This kid is young, only 23 years old, but he’s well on his way to becoming a pop super star. With love songs like this, it’s no surprise he’s already a favorite of teenagers everywhere.

What makes this song compelling beyond the standard pop fare is a drum track that’s a nod to the early-’00s Drum and Bass sub-genre of Ambient music. There’s something primal about that beat that makes you feel like you’re really in the moment.

Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band

Ah yes, the band everyone loves to hate – DMB. But if you can step away from the hype, this is a pretty freaking great love song.


 

Shake – The Head and The Heart

You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne

Another one of those undeniably happy and joyful love songs that reminds you of why you fell in love in the first place.

Ghosts That We Knew – Mumford & Sons

Just Say Yes – Snow Patrol

“Just say yes, ’cause I’m aching and I know you are too
For the touch of your warm skin
As I breathe you in”

Be Mine – David Gray

One of the cleverest ways for a musician to make a song into a pop classic is to write about love at first sight. David Gray, who is wildly successful but still very respected for his musicianship, lands one here with the opening line, “From the very first moment I saw you, that’s when I knew…” and the rest is just as good.

The Light – Common

Pusher Love Girl- Justin Timberlake

Sounds like the beginning of an epic 1960s film… but it’s just the beginning of yet another epic JT song.

Stubborn Love- The Lumineers

2012 and ’13 were very good years for the band that earned their stripes with years of touring small venues and playing in loud bars. Stubborn Love is about the times when you’re in love with the wrong person, the one who keeps breaking your heart. The one you just can’t seem to leave behind. “It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all” is the line every one of those 20-somethings in the audience screams out when singing along, and it reminds all of us who are past the drama in our own lives of what it felt like to be desperately, pleadingly in love.

“So pay attention now
I’m standing on your porch screaming out
and I won’t leave until you come downstairs.”

It’s either super romantic or super creepy, but it’s a a classic theme in all things young and passionate.

Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

That Bruno Mars sure knows how to write a pop song.

Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung

A movie soundtrack song that captures the amazing feet-don’t-touch-the-ground feeling of falling madly in love. It has a decidedly early ’00s quality, but that’s sorta what makes it so great.

♦◊♦
 

The Singer-Songwriter Set:

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Lucky Now – Ryan Adams

Lover You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley

Try not to blush when listening to this song in public.

She Always Takes It Black – Gregory Alan Isakov

“…but you’ll love her ’til it all goes dark, you’ll love her even after that.”

In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel

It’s impossible to separate this song from the image of Lloyd Dobler standing below Diane Court’s bedroom window with a boom box  in the 1980s Cameron Crowe film Say Anything. But it’s a testament to the truly breathtaking quality of the film that the image is still potent and resonant. Teenagers who’ve never seen a boom box in real life share and re-share the photo of Lloyd in his trench coat in the rain on Tumblr every single day.

And it’s a testament to Peter Gabriel, one of the greatest songwriters and musicians of his generation, that the song still punches us in the gut and makes us feel high when we hear it—even after nearly three decades.

And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop – James Vincent McMorrow

Here’s what happened. My friend Simon Brown shared this song with me a few years ago. Si has great taste, but I didn’t pay much attention to it at first, playing it on my laptop as I cleaned up the house. After the first two lines I had frozen in place and didn’t move until the song was done, tears running down my face.

When I first played it for my sister, she had the exact same reaction. At least four other people – men and women – have told me the same thing. There’s something about this song that is so romantic, so hopeful, and still so sad. It’s impossible to leave behind.

Blackberry Song – Kurt Vile

Sometime Around Midnight – Airborne Toxic Event

You gotta love a song that tells the story of one moment in life that sticks with you, especially when that story is about “the one that got away”. This indie band from Los Feliz tells the string-heavy sexy and brutal story of the games people play with one another when they’re afraid to really feel what they feel.

I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen

There was much debate about what Springsteen song to include, and whether this song really qualifies as romantic, or if it’s just sexy. Hard to tell, but if you don’t pay too much attention to the fact that this dude is in love with a married woman, this is definitely Bruce Springsteen’s most romantic song. I don’t think any songwriter has, to this day, captured the agony of desire quite as well as Springsteen did here.

“At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the
Middle of my head
Oh you, you cool my desire”

Northern Lights – Bowerbirds

Bowerbirds is one of the best folk bands of the last decade, headed up by an actual real-life couple, Philip Moore and Beth Tacular. This song is romantic, but it’s about a lot more about more than the fleeting “love at first sight” lust.

“All I want is your eyes
in the morning as we wake
for a short while.”

♦◊♦
 

Unexpectedly Romantic

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She’s an Angel- They Might Be Giants

The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill – Hüsker Dü

What? You didn’t expect romance from Hüsker Dü? Okay, me either. But here you go.

“I’d trade big mountains and rooms full of gold
For just one look at the beauty of this woman’s soul
Up on heaven hill is where I wanna be
That girl that bottle that mattress and me”

Love Will Tear Us Apart- Joy Division

I Believe in Miracles – The Ramones

She’s a Bombshell – Operation Ivy

Sometimes you meet someone in passing, and you can never forget them. After a while, you start to wonder if they were even real.

Let Me Sleep Beside You – David Bowie

So, what did we miss? What would you add? Tell us in the comments!

Also, because we’re such givers, we’ve embedded you a Spotify playlist right here!

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane, hlntv.com, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Boris Barclay says:

    I like ‘Into My Arms’ by Nick Cave. Maybe not on everyone’s top list, but it would certainly make it onto mine.

  2. Don’t forget Never Tear Us Apart, by iNXS and Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits! Two classic favourites of mine.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      OMG I cannot believe I didn’t think of the INXS song. That song is a gut-wrencher! Such a good call, Shaz.

      I also am absolutely insane over “Romeo and Juliet” but gave it the boot because I may do a “heartbreak” one later and that is such a heartbreaker.

      Also – I missed “Naive Melody (This Must Be the Place) by The Talking Heads which seriously bums me out in retrospect.

  3. Alyssa Saurini says:

    The Beauty of Who You Are~Marc Broussard…the lyrics will take your breath away….and his voice….such passion…

  4. Loved your list. Wish Journey (any, really) had won you over, but thems the brakes :)

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Oh I love Journey!

      80% of the list came from our editors and friends, maybe even more. And somehow we all forgot Journey!

  5. Fantastic list, Joanna! Must add “In My Life” by The Beatles.

  6. Nat King Cole – “Unforgettable”
    Percy Sledge – “When A Man Loves A Woman”
    John Lennon – “Woman”
    Barry White – “I’ve Found Someone”
    Kem – “Share My Life”
    Al Jarreau _ “Teach Me Tonight”
    Elton John – ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”

  7. Such a great list!!! So many good songs here – including some I had not heard before! My additions:

    Marc Cohn – “True Companion”
    My husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary, and this is “Our Song.” Enough said.

    Peter Gabriel – “Blood Of Eden”
    “In Your Eyes” is much better known, but I have a soft spot for this one. One of the best break-up-then-make-up songs ever.

    Dire Straits – “Why Worry”
    Sweet love song that turns into an ambient lullaby. Also my first “makeout” song, actually. ;)

    Townes Van Zandt – “If I Needed You”
    So many different versions of this song exist, I think Emmylou Harris’ version might be the best known. I’m partial to two newer covers, one by Mumford & Sons and one by John Baizley of the band Baroness. All can be found on YouTube.

  8. Heeeeeyyyyyyyy, Let’s not leave out Stevie Wonders, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
    and,
    You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
    This Guy’s In Love With You – Herb Alpert
    I Can’t Make You Love Me – Kevin Mahogany
    Fever – Michael Buble
    And to lighten the mix, a duet:
    I Won’t Dance – Michael Buble andJane Monheit

  9. Theorema Egregium says:

    Sting: Fields of Gold

    and one of my personal favorites: Bob Dylan: I Want You

  10. ogwriter says:

    I grew up,as an entire generation of baby boomers did,listening to Motown.Motown was built on the charm and sweet resilency romantic music.Smokey Robinson is one of the most famous balladeers in the American songbook.And,of course, there was Nat King Cole,Frank Sinatra,Bing Crosby,Dean Martin,Jack Jones,The Delfonics,The Stylistics,Boys To Men,The Dramatics,Al Green,Holland,Dozier,Holland,Burt Bacharach,Mel Torme,who represent a few giants of the genre. These are but a tiny fraction of the coontributors to this enduring genre of romantic music. There has never been a time when there hasn’t been romantic movies,music,books and other literature widely consumed. Are there not more important relationship issues worthy of discussion than the imaginary lack of romance?This seems to happen everyother year.

  11. Mostly_123 says:

    “In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel: It’s impossible to separate this song from the image of Lloyd Dobler standing below Diane Court’s bedroom window with a boom box  in the 1980s Cameron Crowe film Say Anything.”

    Yes. 
    And having never seen the film (but having seen that famous clip from it, like, a million times) neither it nor the song ever really emotionally resonated with me. Ironically though, off the same Peter Gabriel album (the 1986 album “So”) there was a track called “Mercy Street” which has a deep, mystical, and mysterious sound to it- The rather nebulous meanings & symbolism of the lyrics, and the references to poet Anne Sexton were lost on me at the time; but the sound and emotion it evoked was otherworldly. And also I was in junior high at the time, and had a crush on a mysterious and otherworldly girl who happened to be named “Anne” so, of course, I liked it for that…      

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoVVxom8GpY

    Another favorite would be “Trust” by the Cure, from 1992- an unabashedly angsty romantic song about (unrequited?) love and all that other sentimental stuff; from its uncomplicated tender melody, to the simple, vulnerable, yet practically over-wrought lyrics themselves, it’s a wonderfully melancholy song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IUDw4VsO40      

  12. Nothing like losing someone you love…

    John Waite (“Missing You”): “There’s a message in the wire…and I’m sending you this signal tonight…you don’t know how desperate I’ve become…and it looks like I’m losing this fight…”

  13. How is Frank Ocean not in here and Bruno Mars is? Also, Crash by DMB is sung from the POV of a peeping tom. Not terribly romantic if you ask me.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Agree on Frank Ocean, however I do not think that Crash is necessarily about a peeping Tom. I don’t know much about DMB, but has that Dave Matthews dude said that?

      It could so easily be just that she’s his fantasy girl – and she’s real to him. Or he’s fantasizing about her. Or a ton of other things.

      “Touch your lips just so I know
      In your eyes, love, it glows so
      I’m bare boned and crazy for you
      When you come crash
      into me, baby
      And I come into you
      In a boys dream
      In a boys dream

      If I’ve gone overboard
      Then I’m begging you
      to forgive me
      in my haste
      When I’m holding you so girl
      close to me”

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