16 Best Indie-ish Love Songs

It’s February and that means love is in the air. Whether you’re spending Valentines Day with a loved one, or single AF, love songs provide that cheesy sentimental touch that are sometimes just good for the soul.

16. “Archie, Marry Me” by Alvvays

Alvvays is a jangly indie pop quartet based out of Toronto. There is no album that will give you a more fuzzy feeling than their 2014 self titled release Alvvays. A highlight on the record is “Archie, Marry Me” in which singer Molly Rankin breaks gender norms in her sincere proposal to her paramour Archie.

15. “I Wanna Be Yours” by The Arctic Monkeys

There is no proclamation more clear than stating “I wanna be yours” a straight to the point sentiment that leaves no room for doubt. The lyrics comes from a poem of the same name by John Cooper Clarke. Alex Turner and company really nailed this song as the closing track on their flawless album A.M. This one will give you the feels.

14. “Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings” by Sunset Rubdown

Love is weird, even chaotic sometimes. A lot of the time it doesn’t make any damn sense. And that’s what is portrayed in “Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings”.  Topping out at 8 minutes, this song delicately illustrates what it’s like to feel as if you and your significant other are the only two people in the world.

13. “Popular Mechanics For Lovers” by Beulah

Listening to this song will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. The narrator is bitter because the love of his life is running in the arms of a man who will never love her as much as he does. The glistening pianos effortlessly glide as the synchronized harmonies will have you singing along to the morbidly sweet words of “Just because he loves you too/ He will never ever take a bullet for you.” Swoons.

12. “Baby’s Arms” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile is known for his ambient yet sometimes folky music, he also is known for his ability to yank your heart out.

“Baby’s Arms,” a track off of Vile’s acclaimed record Smoke Ring For My Halo, features everything which makes him great. The celestial fingerpicking, his signature drugged drawl, and reverb-y drenched plucking show his brand of melancholia that is communicated both plainly and unassumingly enough to be missed. Lyrically, it’s about finding comfort with your one, and being content in just that moment.

11. “Islands” by The XX

“Islands” is about discovering that the one you love has been in front of you the entire time and the search is over. Known for their atmospheric music, their signature moody and soulful sound compliments this duet perfectly.

10. “Blue Jeans” by Lana Del Rey

Although not your most conventional love song, “Blue Jeans” is well deserving of a spot on this list. This song features all of Lana’s signature stylistic elements we have grown to love: retro swagger, top notch production, and an overall sad girl aesthetic. Gay or straight, I think it’s everyones dream to have Lana Del Rey plead to them “I will love you until the end of time.”

9. “Happy” by Best Coast

Sometimes love is simple and “Happy” is just that. Despite the differences and fights, you can reflect and admit “you make me happy,” because you’re young and in love and it’s just that easy.

8. “Eyes” by Rogue Wave

There is nothing sweeter than “Eyes” by Rogue Wave. Its formula makes for the perfect love song. The acoustic guitar serenades us as Zach Rogue proclaims that the only thing he is missing is in her eyes. BRB, my ovaries are exploding.

7. “Say Yes” by Elliott Smith

I apologize in advance if this song rings similar to the latter. There’s something about the way an acoustic guitar pairs with sentimental lyrics.

It was tough to catch the late Elliott Smith on a good day, but it’s captured on “Say Yes”, the closing track on Either/Or. As the vocals are gently layered, we see happiness and optimism from the infamously sad singer.  In “Say Yes” we can picture Smith smiling and watching the morning sunlight fall on the hair of the girl lying next to him.

6. “I Won’t Share You” by The Smiths

Known mainly for their tales of heartbreak, angst, and remorse, The Smiths do have a few love songs in their repertoire. More famously they are known for “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Hand in Glove” but their more obscure “I Won’t Share You” resonates with me the most. The best part about Morrissey’s lyrics is his use of ambiguity that gives the listener freedom to interpret his music as they please.

For me, “I Won’t Share You” is about finding your one, and admitting it to yourself and acknowledging that you want them all to yourself.

5. “I Found a Reason” by The Velvet Underground

Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground once said of their final  1970 album Loaded, “It showed that we could have, all along, made truly commercial sounding records. We usually opted not to…but people would wonder, ‘Could they do it if they had to?’ The answer was, ‘Yes, we could.’ And we did.” Loaded rarely got more accessible than on this song

Reminiscent of any classic 1950’s slow song with a Velvet’s twist as Lou Reed devotes “When you ain’t got nothing,” they sing in letter-perfect four part harmony, “You ain’t got nuthin’ at all” … It’s a moving and tuneful moment from a band not often regarded as being terribly melodic (though they were more often than they were thought to be)

4. “Heroes” by David Bowie

Composed by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977, “Heroes” is the history of the secret love affair between Tony Visconti (co-producer of the album) and backing vocalist Antonia Maaß in Berlin.

How lovers can be heroes just for one day, whether they stay together or not. No matter what happens, if their love is true, it will be alive forever, even if they are separated by the Berlin Wall and bullets are flying over their heads.

3. “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads

David Byrne just gets it. Anyone who has ever felt genuine love have been here before, and that’s why “This Must Be The Place” resonates with anyone who has ever listened to it. This songs vulnerability paired with the breeziness of the keyboard brings a sense of sweet and unadulterated comfort. It’s about happiness and the blissful confusion that love creates.

David Byrne once said “I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before. Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn’t corny, that didn’t sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.” And yes, so are we.

2. “Brand New Colony” by The Postal Service

The Postal Service is the combination of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and DNTEL’s Jimmy Tamborello, although they have only released one album 14 years ago, The Postal Service will always be one of my favorite bands.

Gibbards lyrics are written with a sense of self reflection and delicacy that truly makes him a master of his craft. He approaches this love song in a nonconventional form of metaphors, he wants to become all of these metaphysical objects (a bottle of wine, a record player, a fleece jacket) because of the important purpose they serve to her. 

He talks about all of these complicated things, but in the end he reveals what he really wants: to kiss her on the mouth, run away from the cynics of their town, and start a brand new colony.

1. “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys

“God Only Knows” is one of those shimmeringly perfect love songs. This song makes you feel sad, in love, grateful, and hopeless all at the same time.

Appearing on The Beach Boys’ 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds, the song opens in a haze of french horns and harpsichord. It marries baroque and West Coast pop, combines multi-tracked layered vocals, a cellist, flautist, and an accordionist. Brian wilson once described the song as “a vision … It’s like being blind, but in being blind, you can see more. You close your eyes; you’re able to see a place or something that’s happening.”

Considering the fact that it’s a song about devotion, it’s opening line “I may not always love you,” is the cloud of uncertainty that makes “God Only Knows” truly extraordinary. Because it isn’t just a love song, it recognizes the fact that falling in love is terrifying and that you have to go into it blindly, but in that blindness you can see who you are because of someone else.

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