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.
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:
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
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:
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.”
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!