Valentine’s Day playlist: 150 songs for every mood, relationship status
Valentine’s Day can be a time filled with sentimentality, or maybe indifference or dread.
Cynical as this may sound: it’s still just a greeting card holiday, and we can’t expect everyone to celebrate the occasion. Not everyone is caught up in a picture-perfect romance, or is even in the mood for love.
No matter your feelings toward the 14th of February, here are some tracks we handpicked to soundtrack the occasion: from the cloyingly tender to glacially bitter or couldn’t-care-less; from oldies to contemporary chart-toppers; from slow jams to danceable bops.
** DEEP IN LOVE **
You’re ecstatically in love with your partner, and it feels like whatever the cruel world throws your way, it’s still like you’re living in a fairytale that could go on forever.
“Magic” - She’s Only Sixteen
“Loud Places” (feat. Romy) - Jamie xx
“Such Great Heights” - The Postal Service
“Can’t Believe the Way We Flow” - James Blake
“Get You” (feat. Kali Uchis) - Daniel Caesar
“Mundo” - IV of Spades
“utopia” - Lykke Li
“Dangerous” - The xx
“I Will Follow You into the Dark” - Death Cab for Cutie
“Sunday Candy” - Chance the Rapper
** REFUGE IN THE ARMS OF ANOTHER **
At the end of a long day or across an ocean – over long distances and time – you’re certain someone’s waiting.
“I Know a Place” - MUNA
“The Gate” - Björk (with Arca)
“Dog Years” - Maggie Rogers
“Coming Home” - Leon Bridges
“You’ve Got the Love” - Florence + the Machine
** LOVE YOURSELF **
It’s been a running but overused joke that Valentine’s Day is S.A.D. – Singles’ Awareness Day.
But so what if you’re flying solo? As legendary drag queen RuPaul once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
“Party for One” - Carly Rae Jepsen
“Woman” - Kesha
“Solo” - Frank Ocean
“Juice” - Lizzo
** 'I JUST WANT SOMEBODY NEAR ME' **
You’re like, “F*ck my pride.” You’re craving for affection and short-circuiting without it. But here comes another V-Day without a special someone.
“Nobody” - Mitski
“What You Know” - Two Door Cinema Club
“Ordinary Superstar” - Rina Sawayama
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” - Whitney Houston
“Sober to Death” - Car Seat Headrest
** LOVE IS ALSO SHARED AMONG FRIENDS **
Commiserating with each other over your singlehood? Or just celebrating a brotherhood or sisterhood?
“Hey Girl” (feat. Florence Welch) - Lady Gaga
“Girls Night Out” - Charli XCX
“All My Friends” (feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper) - Snakehips
“Team” - Lorde
“Grudges” - Paramore
** NOTICE ME, PLEASE **
Imagine your cheeks blushing oh-so-red as you flail your arms in front of your huge crush, begging for that adorable one to notice you.
These songs have the same energy as your gushing self – heart beating so fast and all.
“Butterflies" - Kacey Musgraves
“400 Lux” - Lorde
“Better” - SG Lewis x Clairo
“Little of Your Love” - HAIM
“Girl Front” - LOOΠΔ/ODD EYE CIRCLE
“What’s It Gonna Be?” - Shura
“Ligaya” - Eraserheads
“June” - Oh, Flamingo!
“Rollercoaster” - Bleachers
“Summer” - Cheats
** FIRST LOVE **
Capture (or reminisce about) the feeling of the first time your heart has beat for someone else.
“First Love/Late Spring” - Mitski
“Machinist” - Japanese Breakfast
“Diplomat’s Son” - Vampire Weekend
“Violently Happy” - Björk
“F*ck and Run” - Liz Phair
“SGL” - Now, Now
“Repeat Pleasure” - How to Dress Well
“How Will I Know” - Whitney Houston
“First Love” - Utada Hikaru
** FALLING IN LOVE **
You’re in love, but sometimes, your own words fail you.
Here are songs that might help you convey your deepest thoughts and feelings about your loved one.
“Sigurado” - UDD
“Ivy” - Frank Ocean
“love” (feat. Syd) - DE∆N
“24K” - Jae Stephens
“The Palisades” (feat. Christian Rich) - Childish Gambino
“It Runs Through Me” (feat. De la Soul) - Tom Misch
“Cards” - B.P. Valenzuela
“Drop the Game” - Flume & Chet Faker
“Train Wreck” - Sarah McLachlan
“Blue Light” - Kelela
“Ocean Eyes” (Blackbear Remix) - Billie Eilish
** MAKING A RELATIONSHIP WORK **
The honeymoon phase is over. The fantasy versions you have of each other just drops away, and you see your partner as they are.
Relationships can be flawed, but what would it take for lovers to navigate a path that often feels like a rollercoaster – with its highs and lows, twists and turns – of different emotions?
“Garden (Say It Like Dat)” - SZA
“Retrograde” - James Blake
“Hyperballad” - Björk
“seoul” (prod. HONNE) - RM (of BTS)
“Carried Away” - Passion Pit
“LOVE.” (feat. Zacari) - Kendrick Lamar
“A Sorta Fairytale” - Tori Amos
“It’s Not Me, It’s You” - Submotion Orchestra
** FALLING OUT OF LOVE **
You’re grasping at straws to save your relationship. Is it a doomed one?
“You & I” - Local Natives
“Skinny Love” - Bon Iver
“Losing You” - Solange
“When I Needed You” - Carly Rae Jepsen
“Scorpio Rising” - Soccer Mommy
“Forced to Love” - Broken Social Scene
“Dapit Hapon” - Ebe Dancel
** (UN)HAPPY ENDINGS **
It’s the end of an era: of a love you once thought was great and eternal. Your heart is shattered, and as you pick up the pieces – each saturated with memories – the nostalgia rubs salt into the wound.
So, you grieve. There’s a wealth of songs about this experience, but here’s just a handful:
“‘Di Na Babalik” - Ang Bandang Shirley
“Speaking Terms” - Snail Mail
“You Never Knew” - HAIM
“Piledriver Waltz” - Arctic Monkeys
“Visions of Gideon” - Sufjan Stevens
“The Fall” - Rhye
“Supersymmetry” - Arcade Fire
** CAN'T LET GO? **
“Thank u, next?” More like, “Thank u, please come back.”
“Light On” - Maggie Rogers
“New York” - St. Vincent
“Cranes in the Sky” - Solange
“Wonderful” (Solo) - Lianne La Havas
“Motion Sickness” - Phoebe Bridgers
“Me & My Dog” - boygenius
“The Wolves (Act I and II)” - Bon IveR
“Still Into You” - Paramore
** MOVING ON **
Well, that’s over. It’s cancelled. It’s time to move on.
You’re an empowered, liberated person totally over that phase of moping and moaning on your bed or the floor.
“thank u, next” - Ariana Grande
“Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” - Stars
“White Ferrari” - Frank Ocean
“Frontline” - Kelela
“Heat Wave” - Snail Mail
** HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A LOVER SCORNED **
Being betrayed by a lover can send you into a spiral of outrage.
But rein your vengefulness in with these songs about romances gone sour – maybe about infidelity, too.
“TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME - The 1975
“Hold Up” - Beyoncé
“Two Weeks” - FKA twigs
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” - Adele
“One More Hour” - Sleater Kinney
“Black Sheep” - Metric
“Ex-Factor” - Lauryn Hill
“Shut Up and Let Me Go” - The Ting Tings
** READY TO LOVE AGAIN? **
In the words of Vampire Weekend: “Here comes a feeling you thought you’d forgotten.”
The wounds from your past heartbreak have healed, and suddenly, you feel like you’re ready to give in to love once more.
“Begin Again” - Taylor Swift
“Loving Is Easy” - Rex Orange County
“Frogs & Princes” - Natasha Bedingfield
“Who’s Got You Singing Again” - PREP
** LOVE IS LOVE **
Love is love, they say.
But the queer experience of romantic love has its own nuances and complexities. So here’s a selection of songs from some LGBTQ+ artists who can perhaps translate their insights into words and melodies.
“Bike Dream” - Rostam
“Bloom” - Troye Sivan
“Make Me Feel” - Janelle Monáe
“Garden Shed” (feat. Estelle) - Tyler, the Creator
“Girl” (feat. KAYTRANADA) - The Internet
“Empty” - Kevin Abstract
“Alan” - Perfume Genius
“Desafío” - Arca
“It’s Okay to Cry” - SOPHIE
** FOR CUDDLING... ANG MORE ;) **
Things are about to get steamy. Netflix and chill? But are you really chillin’?
“Room in Here” feat. The Game & Sonyae Elise - Anderson .Paak
“Make Out in My Car” - Moses Sumney
“Warm Blood” - Carly Rae Jepsen
“Kiss It Better” (Four Tet Remix) - Rihanna
“Do It” - Rae Morris
“Didn’t Cha Know” - Erykah Badu
“Closer” - Corinne Bailey Rae
** OLDIES BUT GOODIES **
These were probably the records played by your grandparents or parents when they were young sweethearts.
Dedicate it to them, or because these are timeless tunes anyway, listen to them yourself.
“My Funny Valentine” - Chet Baker
“Can’t Take My Eyes off You” - Frankie Valli
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” - Aretha Franklin
“I Just Called to Say I Love You” - Stevie Wonder
“When I’m Sixty Four” - The Beatles
“How Deep Is Your Love” - Bee Gees
“Ceremony” - New Order
** THE GET DOWN **
Here are some uplifting beats and funky grooves to get you getting down on the dance floor.
“I Want Your Love” (feat. Lady Gaga) - Chic
“Foreign Language” feat. Jess - Flight Facilities
“Blind” (Frankie Knuckles Remix) - Hercules & Love Affair
“One Kiss” - Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa
“I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” - Carly Rae Jepsen
** WE'RE TWO SLOW DANCERS, LAST ONES OUT **
Wrap your arms around your lover, and sway ever so gently as if it was prom night.
“Two Slow Dancers” - Mitski
“Slow Show” - The National
“So Close” - Jon McLaughlin
“Slow Dancing in the Dark” - Joji
** CRYDANCING **
The song is glittery and upbeat, but it disguises words that are actually more like knives that cut you up. You feel your tear ducts swelling, and you’re ready to bawl your eyes out.
But you just can’t help but dance.
“Dancing on My Own” - Robyn
“Fast Slow Disco” - St. Vincent
“The Less I Know the Better” - Tame Impala
“Supercut” - Lorde
“When I’m with Him” - Empress Of
“You’re Not Good Enough” - Blood Orange
“Too Young” - Phoenix
** THEME SONGS **
If you’re a pop culture savant, you’ll surely recognize these songs from the soundtracks of movies, TV series, and video games.
“There Are Many of Us” from I’m Here - Aska Matsumiya
“The Moon Song” from Her - Karen O and Ezra Koenig
“Don’t Think Twice” from Kingdom Hearts III - Utada Hikaru
“Eyes on Me” from Final Fantasy VIII - Faye Wong
“Ni Yao De Ai” from Meteor Garden (2001) - Penny Tai
Paolo Abad is a film/television editor and motion graphic designer. He is also a self-confessed concert junkie.