10 songs for hopeless romantics on Valentine’s Day


Photo: Lucia Thorne

By Dionna Santucci

Hopeless romantics tend to get a bad rap in romance media, as billions of dollars have been made off the portrayals of starry-eyed individuals being screwed over by their love-blind naivety. Books, films, television, and other components of entertainment have taken the phrase “hopeless romantic” and turned it into a bad word. 

Whether you’re single, in a happy relationship, or in your “it’s complicated” era, being a hopeless romantic is not a detriment to your judgment or character. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the complexities of falling in love with these 10 songs. 

1. My Girl — Joy Oladokun 

A modern spin on a classic tune, Joy Oladokun’s rendition of The Temptations’ song “My Girl” offers new depth to the song’s already enticing and poetic lyrics. The smooth and soaring tone of Oladokun’s voice makes the song take on a life of its own. Once an energetic, celebratory, and upbeat song, Oladokun’s version of “My Girl” captures the bittersweet side of loving someone so deeply that they take up all of your senses. 

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day

When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May

I guess you’d say

What can make me feel this way?

My girl”

2. Someone New — Hozier 

This one is for everyone who loves hard without hesitation; falling in love again and again with little to no shame. Hozier’s “Someone New” showcases the playfulness that can come with being easily infatuated. Where some might be cautious when it comes to love, “Someone New” paints a picture for listeners of a sonic protagonist who embraces all of the blissful highs and inevitable lows of love. The instrumentals easily blend with the playful, almost teasing nature of Hozier’s voice in this song. It is as if the track is somehow smirking at the listener. 

“I wake at the first crink of morning

And my heart’s already sinned

How pure, how sweet a love, Aretha, that you would pray for him?

‘Cause God knows I fall in love just a little ol’ little bit

Every day with someone new”

3. Hard Place — H.E.R. 

H.E.R.’s euphonious voice pairs nicely when singing about the inherently heartbreaking nature of her hit 2019 single “Hard Place.” The lyrics take the listener on a journey of repeated love and loss as H.E.R. vividly details her experience being in a codependent, on-again-off-again relationship. Parts of the song, particularly the bridge and final chorus, have a church choir-like element to the production, alluding to the one-sided worship that goes into loving someone who doesn’t give their all in return. 

“But I, I’d rather fight

Than lose sleep at night

At least you’re all mine

And if I have to choose

My heart or you

I’m gonna lose”

4. Stubborn Love — The Lumineers

The Lumineers’ “Stubborn Love” captures the essence of what it means to be a hopeless romantic: the ability to continue to believe in love, no matter the struggles you might have experienced in the past. Kind, gentle, and warm, “Stubborn Love” is in itself a love letter to everyone who has been called naive for choosing love. 

“She’ll tear a hole in you, the one you can’t repair

But I still love her, I don’t really care…

It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all

The opposite of love’s indifference…

So keep your head up, keep your love”

5. Adam’s Ribs — Jensen McRae

Have you ever loved someone so hard that it felt like you were not only made for this person but made of them as well? Well, Jensen McRae has, and that’s exactly what her song “Adam’s Ribs” portrays, going above and beyond. Through an extended biblical allusion, listeners are made aware of the fact that McRae isn’t Eve, but the very rib that God took from Adam to make Eve in Genesis 2:21. McRae fantasizes about being noticed and “claimed” by her lover as though she was a piece of them. She seeks to be as important to this person as they are to her. 

“You break, it makes me bloom

it’s like I’m made of you…

I can’t lose you yet

I refuse to let you go

loving you is in my bones”

6. Cowboy Like Me — Taylor Swift

For those of us who had love creep up on them or show up in unexpected places, Taylor Swift’s “Cowboy Like Me” has got you covered for all of your angst, recovering pessimist, chronically cynical needs. Swift’s storytelling reminds listeners that love is always a force to be reckoned with, with even some of the most stubborn getting caught in its traps. This song is for anyone who loves attention, but simultaneously craves the comfort of complete anonymity. 

“Now you hang from my lips

Like the Gardens of Babylon

With your boots beneath my bed

Forever is the sweetest con”

7. Just For Me — PinkPantheress

Ushering in a new wave of hyperpop, PinkPantheress’ “Just For Me” is the witchy and whimsical anthem for everyone who’s tried manifesting a potential valentine. PinkPantheress’ angelic voice walks us through love spells, describing the lengths people can go to have someone to call their own. 

“And my diary’s full of your name on every page

‘Cause I read somewhere you’ll fall in love with me

I’ll try and try again one day, you’ll see”

8. First Love / Late Spring — Mitski

Grungy and poetic, Mitski’s song “First Love / Late Spring” speaks to that divinely human hesitance that lingers in the heart of any hopeless romantic. Similar to Swift’s “Cowboy Like Me,” Mitski’s master songwriting abilities perfectly capture what it’s like to be afraid of love, but still long for it somewhere deep in your soul. Much like how falling in love is portrayed in the song, “First Love / Late Spring” also wrecks listeners and breaks hearts in all the best ways. 

“Wild women don’t get the blues

But I find that

Lately, I’ve been crying like a

Tall child”

9. The Louvre — Lorde 

Lorde’s “The Louvre” represents those who romanticize everything but don’t believe they will ever actually be in love and have that fairytale-style grand love story they dream of having. “The Louvre” reads like the high-quality fanfiction we spent days and nights gorging ourselves on in middle school. The dreamy guitar strings and extended metaphors play together nicely and make for the soundtrack as you and your lover (imaginary or not) peruse oil paintings, hearts beating in unison. 

“Blow all my friendships

To sit in hell with you

But we’re the greatest

They’ll hang us in the Louvre

Down the back, but who cares—still the Louvre” 

10. Moon Song — Phoebe Bridgers 

For a sadder, cry-yourself-to-sleep type beat, try “Moon Song” by Phoebe Bridgers. Bridgers’ desperate tone of voice in this song will haunt listeners for days after the first listen, and maybe even after the tenth or fiftieth. If you struggle with emotional intimacy but crave touch, know the pain of unrequited love, or both, then this is the song for you. “Moon Song” expresses just how brutal love can be—to the point where it feels like it is holding us by the throat.

“You couldn’t have, you couldn’t have

Stuck your tongue down the throat of somebody

Who loves you more

So I will wait for the next time you want me

Like a dog with a bird at your door”

Hopeless romantics make the world go around, and loving just wouldn’t be the same without them. No matter what your situation is this Valentine’s Day, as long as you have a good playlist and some headphones, you’re never truly alone. These are the perfect tunes to listen to as you sit out and stargaze, take an afternoon walk, or just sit around and eat chocolate.