Every Valentine’s Day needs a soundtrack, whether you’ve got reservations for a special dinner, are spending the night in or just hanging out with Pal-entines. Here’s a playlist with a little something for everyone — even those who hate Cupid’s favorite day.
Our Spotify playlist is at the bottom.
1. “I Would Die 4 U” - Prince
Before Bruno Mars said he would catch a grenade or Justin Bieber asked if he could say sorry, Prince was ready to put it ALL on the line.
2. “The Lady in My Life” - Michael Jackson
One of seven singles released from the best-selling album in the world, “Thriller,” Jackson delivers a classic slow jam vibe here. Put it on after dinner and there will surely be no darkness that night.
3. “Say You Love Me”
Fleetwood MacSimple, sweet and soft. Sung by keyboardist Christine McVie, this is one of Fleetwood Mac’s best love songs.
4. “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By” - Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige
A hip-hop classic that builds off the classic Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duet by adding some ’90s boom bap and R&B vibes.
5. “Always on My Mind” - Willie Nelson
For the one who got away, an apology song asking for another chance. This song has been recorded many times by other artists, but no one captures the heartache quite like Willie.
6. “Adorn” by Miguel
Miguel is keeping that classic R&B quiet-storm jam alive on this 2012 track. Musically simple, the earnest and versatile vocals take center stage.
7. “Moody’s Mood for Love” - Amy Winehouse
A smooth, easygoing groove by a supremely talented singer. She left us too soon, but we still have her incredible, if abbreviated, body of work to cherish. Her laid-back take on this jazz standard was just another example of her versatility.
8. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” - Randy Newman
Friendship is a special bond, too. Here’s a song about having your buddy’s back, and why not remind that friend you love them on Valentine’s Day?
9. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” - Celine Dion
Big. Bombastic. Dramatic. Only Celine could carry this power ballad with her soaring voice.
10. “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” - Dusty Springfield
Relationships can be complicated. Dusty lays it out on the line here, spilling her guts to someone who apparently isn’t that great at reciprocating. But she still offers unconditional affection.
11. “Gimme All Your Love” - Alabama Shakes
A guitar rocker led by Brittany Howard’s powerful vocals, this song’s about taking a minute from our busy lives to stop and remind our significant other how we feel about them. With so much going on, it’s important to slow down and show a little love.
12. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” - Louis Armstrong
A classic song off a collaboration album with fellow jazz giant Ella Fitzgerald. Everybody from romantic sponges to chimpanzees to dragonflies do it. So why not do it? Go fall in love.
13. “You’ve Got the Love” - Florence + the Machine
When times are tough, when things go wrong, when you feel like giving up, bae will be there. A reminder that your partner is your rock.
14. “You’re So Vain” - Carly Simon
Maybe you’re coming off a breakup, and that person sucked. If so, turn this one up.
15. “Ion Square” - Bloc Party
The best love stories are the ones that grow old but never tire. On this 2008 song, a young Bloc Party delivers a dancy, slow-burn tune that builds up to a simple message to a longtime lover: Even if the crazy, dance-all-night passion of the early days are gone, it’s all right. The couch and TV, holding hands, are good enough.
16. “Thinking Out Loud” - Ed Sheeran
Along those same lines, even when we’re old, gray and achy, we can still make loving fun.
17. “Love Stinks” - J. Geils Band
Of course, love ain’t always pretty. An anthem for the haters who will grumble through Tuesday.
18. “I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone” - The Ataris
A love letter in the form of early-2000s pop-punk gold, straight off that mixtape CD you burned for your middle-school crush.
19. “Rome (Wasn’t Built in a Day)” - Sam Cooke
True love doesn’t always happen overnight. It usually takes time. It takes work. Despite the King of Soul’s penchant for burning, dramatic love songs, he knew how to be realistic. A beautiful relationship, like Rome, wasn’t built in a day.
20. “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” - Elvis Presley
Elvis, on the other hand, didn’t give a damn. No matter what wise men say, fools rush in on this classic ballad where he offers his whole life along with his hand to his beloved. Hey, sometimes ya just gotta dive in.
21. “Layla” - Derek & The Dominoes
Sometimes, your heart leads you to places that your head would never go. Like when guitar god Eric Clapton fell in hopelessly in love with his friend’s wife and wrote the ultimate anthem of unattainable, unrequited passion. That friend, by the way, was George Harrison of the Beatles. And Clapton ended up marrying the woman, Pattie Boyd, after she split from Harrison. So I guess the song worked?
22. “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” - The Ramones
23. “Burbujas de Amor” - Juan Luis Guerra
Bachata music from the Dominican Republic is a wellspring for romantic music, and one of the greats is Juan Luis Guerra. Throw this one for close dance, cheek to cheek.
24. “Ballad of Love and Hate” - Avett Brothers
The Avetts craft a folksy and sparse story about love and hate being lovers and reconciling after time apart, told over a gentle acoustic guitar.
25. “Something” - The Beatles
Frank Sinatra used to say this was the best Lennon/McCartney song … even though it was actually written by George Harrison. The Quiet Beatle ended up producing the group’s best love song.