chicago — COVID-19 has changed how we experience things a lot and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s no different. This year, those fancy intimate dinners at your favorite restaurant won’t happen. We’ll be stuck at home celebrating our significant other or simply enjoying a quiet night alone. Either way, as our first pandemic-style Valentine’s Day approaches, this calls for a new kind of playlist to mark the occasion.
I love playlists, and I like to think of them as an unofficial love language. Music can speak to us in many ways, from evoking emotions to just finding a beat that vibes with you. Just like love, music can transcend many levels to express how you feel about both another person and yourself. After all, Valentine’s Day is about love, and not necessarily just the kind that we find in relationships. With that in mind, check out the 15 songs that I have chosen for a new kind of Valentine’s Day. These songs come from different artists, styles and genres so you will find choices that anyone can enjoy, regardless of your relationship status.
Five Songs for Couples
Whether you started dating this month or six years ago, here are five songs that can help you express your feelings:
1. “I Would Find You” by Oceanator
From “I would find you/I would come for you” to “And if you can't go any further/I would carry you,” Brooklyn-based band Oceanator finds the right words to remind your loved one that they are just that.
2. “First Person on Earth” by Robert DeLong
“If you were the first person on earth; we would be together when it ends.” There really is no better way to convey to someone that they are your whole world than through this song.
3. “Mates” by Routine Faces
If you and your significant other started as “friends first,” then this new track from Routine Faces is the perfect fit for you! It captures the transition from friends to lovers, all to the vibe of electric rock.
4. “Miss Right” by Anderson.Paak
If you want to tell your significant other that they are the right one for you, look no further than Anderson.Paak. Written to describe what is missing from a relationship, “Miss Right” can also capture a healthy one: “I wanna love sensation/Someone to hold to/Someone to play with.”
5. “Visions” by Dirty Heads feat. Chloe Chaidez
You know that feeling where you can’t get someone out of your head, but the thought of them makes everything better? This is the song for that feeling. While multiple versions of this song exist, go for the duet with Chloe Chaidez, which magnificently intertwines the feelings of two people seeing only each other.
Five Songs for Singles
Who said that being single was a bad thing? Sometimes we just want to go through life without another person and there is absolutely no shame in that. Here are some songs for that journey:
1. “Ain’t No Man” by The Avett Brothers
While the song title can be misleading, the message within the music reminds us that it is really fine if you don’t have a partner or don’t want to be tied down.
2. “My Name is Human” by Highly Suspect
Making sure that things in our lives are in a decent place is something we try to do before we bring another person in. In the form of a powerful ballad, this Massachusetts rock band reminds us that at the end of the day, we are all human and we’re stronger than we think.
3. “Show Your Colors” by Genevieve
“Your life is your design, so go ahead design it. Your star is in the sky, so go ahead align it.” Those lyrics are everything. It is so much easier to work on yourself when you are not in a relationship, and while Genevieve reminds us that things can be messy, you should never be afraid to be who you are.
4. “I Don’t Want” by Santigold
Some of us are just happier when we aren’t tied down to anyone. Santigold truly amplifies those feelings with this mellow pop-drop off her 2018 album.
5. “Life’s What You Make It” by Talk Talk
The iconic British band makes their message short, sweet and simple: life is a beautiful thing, and the thought of you enjoying it as you are is equally beautiful.
Five Songs for Your First Valentine’s Day on Your Own
Whether you have had a breakup or your significant other is no longer in the picture, the first Valentine’s Day solo has a tendency to be difficult. A listen through these choices is sure to revamp your outlook and maybe even add some pep in your step:
1. “Gold Rush” by Death Cab for Cutie
Ironically, the band behind some of the best love songs of all time also gave us one of the best breakup songs. Ben Gibbard croons about hanging on to the past while also encouraging himself to accept the realities of change. It’s the perfect way to remember that memories and people are not one.
2. “Permanent Way” (Live Version) by Charlie Cunningham
“You can do what you want but I'm making my own way.” Those words have never sounded so powerful, especially when delivered repeatedly within this melodically-mellow single. Listen to the live version though — it offers a far more intimate and personal feel that makes it seem like Charlie is strumming his guitar right next to you.
3. “Before I Knew What Love Was” by Everest Cale
Nobody said falling out of love would be easy, but Everest Cale says it best with this heart-crushing ballad. Sometimes it really is better to let someone else do the feeling for us, and this song is the perfect one to do that.
4. “High School Lover” by Cayucas
This indie pop song mixes the story of a cheating girlfriend with a poppy beat in the background. Listening to it serves as a reminder that no matter how bad a relationship once was, it’s often best when it’s over and the painful memories are in the background.
5. “Find an Island” by BENEE
Are you getting away from drama, an unhappy relationship or both? BENEE will take care of you with her newest hit. Her somber lyrics cut deep, while the bouncing beats are sure to distract you from anything remotely related to your past partners. Listening to this is like letting your brain take a mental trip to an island.
Love comes in many forms. Whether you use these songs to express it to your significant other or to signify your happiness in staying solo, these are songs that can get you through Valentine's Day, no matter how you feel.
Want to find all of these picks in one place? Follow the link to my Spotify playlist here.