Love Songs for All: Crafting a Playlist Beyond Romantic Clichés

Published February 11, 2024

When the world turns to songs that speak of love around Valentine's Day, they often encounter a mix of cheesy classics and music that's more suitable for a rom-com than a real-life single person's playlist. Utilizing the well-worn tracks of artists like Ed Sheeran, we often find ourselves stuck in a loop of slow ballads that bring us back to those awkward middle school dance days.

Search for tunes catering to single people, and you're likely to stumble upon a collection dominated by breakup ballads and self-empowerment anthems. It appears songs fall into two camps: they either celebrate romantic love or they emphasize its absence, with an excess of Taylor Swift as a bonus.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. True, Spotify's AI and its recommended playlists such as 'Lonely Mix' or 'Empowering Breakup Mix' don't quite hit the mark, often feeling slightly insulting and pegging single life as a loveless existence. Instead, singles can find a middle ground, through music that resonates with a range of emotions from happiness and heartbreak to confusion and contented solitude.

A personal playlist could start strong with David Bowie's 'Modern Love,' an anthem for those who are self-aware about their single status. From Bowie's lyrics of self-sufficiency to the carefree vibes expressed in tracks like Mitski's 'That's Our Lamp,' there's an acknowledgment of love's complexities and the self-honesty that comes with them.

The playlist can dive deeper with songs like The Avett Brothers' 'February Seven,' offering a narrative of heartbreak and the potential for new beginnings. Songs aren't just about being alone; they're about truth, and occasionally, some healthy delusion such as Bonnie Raitt's 'Something to Talk About' or Alvvays' 'Adult Diversion,' where daydreaming is all part of the fun.

Hopeless romantics haven't been forgotten. With The Beatles' 'I Will' and TV Girl's 'Lovers Rock,' there's room for sweet, daydreaming reflections. But single life isn't all about looking back on love. Tracks like Amy Winehouse's 'Tears Dry On Their Own' and The Chicks' 'There's Your Trouble' offer powerful perspectives on growth post-breakup and the complexities of unrequited love.

Exploring the various aspects of love and self, the playlist can include songs like Hozier's 'Someone New,' embracing the beauty in everyone we meet, while U2's 'Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World' serves as a gentle nudge to take life at a slower pace. And for those still in search of romance, Taylor Swift's 'How You Get The Girl' might provide some playful guidance.

The final note could be Natasha Bedingfield's 'Unwritten,' a tune not about finding someone else to love but embracing the love you have for yourself and life's endless possibilities.

Indeed, a person's status—single, taken, or in-between—need not dictate the music they can enjoy. Instead, there's a soundtrack for every facet of the single experience, from the self-reflective to the hopefully romantic. It's music that understands that love comes in many forms, including the love of self and the love of life, regardless of whether you're sharing it with a partner or dancing through the streets on your own.

playlist, singles, emotions