14 Modern Love Songs

FEBRUARY 13, 2013

Modern love has been transforming faster than we can change our Facebook relationship statuses. What happened to old fashioned fairy tales? Instead of being rescued by Prince Charming, women are propelling off buildings to compete for love on The Bachelor, where the limo (or helicopter) stands in for the white horse. HBO’s hit show, Girls, highlights today’s awkward casual “dating” (if it can be called that when dinner’s not even involved) scene. It’s not just TV shows that are changing – several recent articles have delved into the changing face of modern romance. A Million First Dates explores the effects of how online dating is changing people’s attitudes on commitment and monogamy, while Boys on the Side describes the hookup culture that empowered women seem to be perpetuating.

And what about classic love ballads? I mean, who can forget songs like My Girl, When A Man Loves a Woman, or Dirty Dancing’s (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life? Modern love songs have changed quite a bit and may not be what you’d slow dance to; but perhaps we’re more likely to find love at an indie concert than over a candlelight dinner these days anyway. As long as love prevails, the fairy tales and music will continue – they just might look different than you expected. The key is to keep an open mind, open heart, and positive attitude. I encourage you to do the same with the eclectic list below – discover a new artist, track or genre. Don’t think it’s your thing? Be patient. Sometimes it takes a few listens to fall in love.

Still want the classic love ballads & a fairy tale this Valentine’s Day? Here’s a classic love songs playlist, but beware – the songs may remind you of Delilah or your parent’s “song.”  Oh, and I’ve got a new fairy tale for you too – thanks Disney for modernizing it a bit with love on the subway! <3


1. Tegan And Sara – Closer

  • Sounds… like an 80’s pop song
  • Like it? Check out: Goodbye, Goodbye, I’m Not Your Hero
  • Hails from: the Quin twins are from Calgary, Canada!
  • Tour Destinations: NYC (2/19-2/20 & 7/22), Canada (2/23-3/4), Midwest (3/6-3/11), Houston (3/15), Coachella (3/12 & 3/19), etc. and opening for Fun. July-Sept.
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Here comes the rush before we touch, come a little closer.” – Closer

2. Alabama Shakes – I Found You

  • Sounds… indie with Southern rock & soul influences
  • Like it? Check out: Hold On, Hang Loose
  • Hails from: ‘Bama
  • Tour Destinations: Portland (3/2), Seattle (3/3), Oakland (3/5), Denver (3/9), Dallas (3/12), Austin (3/13), New Orleans (3/15), & more!
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “And it took a long time to find you, but I finally found you.” – I Found You

3. Emili Sandé – My Kind of Love

  • Sounds… like Adele, prompting Adele Emili Sandé to go by her middle name
  • Like it? Check out: Next to Me, Heaven
  • Hails from: born in Scotland to a Zambian father and English mother
  • Tour Destinations: Europe / UK (Mar-Apr)
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Don’t ever question if my heart beats only for you. It beats only for you.” – My Kind of Love

4. Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love

  • Sounds… like synthopop – think Passion Pit, but a higher pitched lead singer
  • Like it? Check out: Dance With Me, When I Dream & the Beta Love Visualizer
  • Hails from: Syracuse, NY
  • Tour Destinations: Texas (2/19-2/21), ATL (2/24), Chicago (3/1), & many more!
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “In this city of robot hearts, ours were meant to be.” – Beta Love

5. Gin Wigmore – Don’t Stop

  • Sounds… Sassy! Her raspy voice reminds me of Duffy.
  • Like it? Check out: Black Sheep, Man Like That
  • Hails from: New Zealand
  • Tour Destinations: Europe / UK (Feb-Mar)
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Twinkle toes, I think I found a soul, to make me happily ever after.” – Don’t Stop

6. Citizen Cope – Something To Believe In

  • Sounds… acoustic and melodic
  • Like it? Check out: One Lovely Day
  • Hails from: Clarence Greenwood was born in Memphis, raised in DC, & lives in Brooklyn now.
  • Tour Destinations: Florida (3/7-3/9), Boston (3/14), DC (3/15), Texas (3/21-3/22), & more!
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “They say that loving yourself is loving someone else.” – Something to Believe In

7. The Last Royals – Friday Night

  • Sounds… poppy!
  • Like it? Check out: Only the Brave
  • Hails from: Brooklyn
  • Tour Destinations: LA (3/3), Seattle (3/5), SF (3/8), SXSW in Austin (3/14-3/16), Denver (3/18) & more!
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Oh, my baby says she wants to fall in love.” – Friday Night

8. Rebecca Ferguson – Nothing’s Real But Love

  • Sounds… like another British power vocalist
  • Like it? Check out: Glitter & Gold
  • Hails from: Liverpool, England
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “All that glitter and all that gold, won’t buy you happy.” – Glitter & Gold

9. Justin Hopkins – Love on the Radio

  • Sounds… like James Blunt on his first album (piano), James Morrison on the second (acoustic guitar)
  • Like it? Check out: Courderoys
  • Hails from: The Voice (runner-up, Season 2)
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Back when life was easy enough; all we want is someone to love. Way back when all it took to work it out, was knowing everything was gonna be ok.” – Love on the Radio

10. RayLand Baxter – The Mtn Song

  • Sounds… folky
  • Like it? Check out: Driveway Melody, Olivia, The Woman for Me
  • Hails from: Nashville, TN
  • Tour Destinations: Feb stops (VA, NJ, NY) with Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, then West (CO, ID, Seattle, etc.) in March with Donavon Frankenreiter, then Midwest (April) with Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. I highly recommend all 3 of his tourmates!
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “But if I could give you everything, I would; all the mountains and the oceans and the seas; but all I have is love to give.” – The Mtn Song

11. Graffiti6 – Annie You Save Me

  • Sounds… like their album cover looks – fun, colorful, and upbeat!
  • Like it? Check out: Stare Into the Sun, Free
  • Hails from: London
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Just when I’m finding it hard to breathe, you lift the weight inside of me.” – Annie You Save Me

12. Bruno Mars – Treasure

  • Sounds… like a modern day Michael Jackson?
  • Like it? Check out: Locked Out of Heaven, Gorilla
  • Hails from: Peter Gene Hernández was born & raised in Hawaii. His unique look is a mix of Puerto Rican, Jewish, Filipino, & Spanish heritages.
  • Tour Destinations: Houston (3/7), Dubai (4/12)
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “You’re wonderful, flawless, ooh you’re a sexy lady.” – Treasure

13. The Temper Trap – Need Your Love

  • Sounds… like U2! You may remember their singles, Sweet Disposition & Fader off their last album
  • Like it? Check out: Trembling Hands, This Isn’t Happiness
  • Hails from: Australia
  • Tour Destinations: Future Music Festival – Australia (3/2-3/11), Lollapalooza – Sao Paulo, Brazil & Santiago, Chile (3/39 & 4/6), Groovin’ the Moo – Australia (4/27-5/11)
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “A moment, a love. A dream, a laugh. A kiss, a cry. Our rights, our wrongs. Won’t stop ‘til it’s over.” – Sweet Disposition

14. Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You

  • Sounds… like the Grammy award winner for Best Urban Contemporary album. Paste Mag, Pitchfork readers & Guardian all named it the best album of 2012!
  • Like it? Check out: Sweet Life, Super Rich Kids
  • Hails from: New Orleans
  • Tour Destinations: New Orleans Jazz Fest, which has an amazing lineup!
  • Lovin’ this Lyric: “Or do you not think so far ahead? ‘Cause I been thinking ‘bout forever.” – Thinkin Bout You

Listen below or subscribe to the playlist on Spotify.  Have a wonderful, positively-upbeat Valentine’s Day!



  • DAL 5 years ago

    Great list! Happy Valentine’s Day!