THE BEST MODERN LOVE SONGS

3/25/20
Photo by Chirobocea Nicu

Here at We Are: The Guard, we love us some of those great love songs. And it’s easy to just think of the classics (“I Will Always Love You,” “Baby Love,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “All You Need Is Love”), but that’s not what this post is about. We’re here to show you some of the best love songs to come out in the last 10-20 years. The emotion is a complicated thing that can take many shapes, so we’ve broken our list of modern love songs down into different kinds of relationships.

 

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

 

“STILL TOGETHER” - MAC DEMARCO

Mac DeMarco, though goofy, is known to have a romantic side. He’s been in a long term relationship and often is inspired to write about it. On “Still Together,” DeMarco sings about staying together over time. The song is lighthearted, with lyrics that are *almost* cheesy and the chorus has this crazy, Lion-King like melody. Live, he dedicates the song to Kiki, his girlfriend, and even brings her onstage sometimes! The outro consists of a cute conversation between the couple.

 

“CAROLINE” - AMINÈ

While “Caroline” by Aminé is funny and upbeat, it has some really sweet, thoughtful moments. As we hear in the intro and see in the music video, Aminé is telling his friends about his girl. In the chorus, he says “great scenes might be great/But I love your bloopers. Perfect’s for the urgent/Baby, I want forever.” He’s not looking for something short-term with someone seemingly perfect. He’s in it for the long-haul with someone real.

 

FOR TAKING CARE SOMEONE YOU LOVE

 

“THE BUG COLLECTOR” - HAYLEY HEYNDERICKX

Known for her nature inspired lyrics and skillful guitar work, Hayley Heynderickx is an indie folk force to be reckoned with. On “The Bug Collector,” she reassures a partner who is faced with fears. Throughout the song, she validates their emotions, comparing stopping the fears to catching bugs. The lyrics build up to the last line: “I try my best/to prove that nothing’s out to get you.” While the trombone and minor chords give the song a gloomier tone, watching Heynderickx play the song live shows a different side to it. She smiles throughout the performances, showing that she doesn’t mind catching the bugs.

 

“FIX YOU” - COLDPLAY

Unlike a lot of other songs released in 2005, “Fix You” by Coldplay doesn’t sound dated at all. With it’s simple production, powerful lyrics, and anthemic melodies, “Fix You” is a timeless, modern classic. Allegedly, the song was written to comfort Chris Martin’s at the time wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, after the death of her father. While the verses express understanding for a partner’s emotions, the choruses are hopeful.

 

FOR UNREQUITED LOVE

 

“SUNFLOWER” - POST MALONE & SWAE LEE

On “Sunflower,” Post Malone and Swae Lee describe a persistent woman who wants what they can’t give her. Sunflowers have a lot of symbolic meaning. While these flowers can represent loyalty and longevity, they also demand direct sunlight and can strip soil of resources. The love interest wants something serious and long term, but they guys think it could be “too much.”  

 

“NO ONE’S GONNA LOVE YOU” - BAND OF HORSES

Hinging on the line “No one’s gonna love you more than I do,” No One’s Gonna Love You is beautiful and thought provoking. Released in 2007, Band of Horses reflect on the end of a relationship. The reverb and powerful lyrics make this one of those cinematic, epic love songs that belongs in a movie. The song starts by describing the final days as an “limb torn off” and an “endless fall,” but despite what happened, the singer reveals that they still love the person.

 

FOR SELF LOVE

 

“HOLY” - JAMILA WOODS

“Holy” by Jamila Woods is a gospel-inspired track about loving yourself. Woods flips various religious references to encourage finding peace within. Woods offers a little history lesson, too. The chorus is a reinterpretation of “I Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Set on Jesus.” That song was also reinterpreted during the civil rights movement as “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Set on Freedom.” On “Holy,” she sings “woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me.”

 

FOR TIMES OF TRANSITION

 

“LILO” - THE JAPANESE HOUSE

On “Lilo,” Amber Bain (aka The Japanese House) reminds us of how people fall in and out of love, reassuring listeners that we will be ok after both. Bain began writing the song when she first met artist Marika Hackman and finished the song when they broke up. Writing through the relationship gives “Lilo” this special, emotional-chameleon capability. Hackman appears in the fiery, emotional music video (filmed post-break up). Whether you’re waiting for the right person, with that person, or leaving them to start a new chapter, “Lilo” can be the perfect soundtrack.

 

FOR FRIENDS

 

“EVERYTHING TO ME” - EMPRESS OF

With a list of collaborators including Khalid and Blood Orange (Dev Hynes), Lorely Rodriguez is an alt-pop artist, writer, and producer to keep an eye on. On “Everything to Me,” she paints pictures of Brooklyn rooftops, peppered with memories and friends. It’s fitting that the song would feature long-time collaborator Dev Hynes.

 

FOR NON-EXCLUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS

 

“THE WEEKEND” - SZA

You might be wondering how this is a love song. Well, this post is about modern love, and part of modern love includes hook ups, open relationships, and things that are not exclusive. SZA outlines this perfectly and describes the emotional complexity of being with someone who sees other people. There’s an element of being aware and not caring, an attitude of being ready for more, and questions surrounding the man’s motives. A skillful songwriter, SZA switches between the perspectives of multiple women involved in the situation.

 

“FUCKBOY” - BAUM

A WATG favorite (and signed to our label!), “Fuckboy” by BAUM walks us through an empowering exploration of hookup culture. While it’s usually the guys who get to be fuckboys, BAUM flips it and owns being “a fuckboy too.” “Fuckboy” is fun and light with an explosive chorus, and lyrics that tell the story of a casual relationship with a mutual understanding of what’s going on. It’s 2020 and women don’t have to always be looking for something serious and emotional!

In these trying times, I think it’s good for us all to feel something. We hope you’ve found the perfect love song to describe how you’re feeling. As you can see, love songs exist across genres, and can be pretty complicated. Whether you’re getting over a break up, meeting someone new, or going strong with a solid partner, there’s a modern love song out there for you!

Photo by Chirobocea Nicu, CC0

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Arielle Tindel is a Berklee College of Music student from Cleveland, OH. She will graduate in December with degrees in Music Business Marketing and Songwriting. In her free time, Arielle can be found gardening or playing bass.