If you have no plans this Valentine’s Day and prefer to spend an embarrassing amount of time romanticizing any person who gives you even an ounce of attention, this list is for you.
- “ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine
With this song blowing up on TikTok recently, it might have been an expected pick, but that doesn’t change the pure yearning energy Lizzy McAlpine loaded into “ceilings.” This song has a theatrical feel to it, and with lyrics like “You’re kinda cute but it’s raining harder / My shoes are now full of water / Lovely to be rained on with you,” the singer-songwriter pulls us into a cute scene that any hopeless romantic would love to daydream about. But, McAlpine hits listeners with a plot twist at the end of the song, as she sings, “But it’s not real /And you don’t exist /And I can’t recall the last time I was kissed.” This is what I like to call an “imaginationship,” and listeners can find themselves enjoying and relating to the switch-up in lyrics
- “are you?” by Zeph
Zeph has a discography filled with songs that are perfect for the soundtrack of a sad college girl life, but “are you?” is one that sticks out as a perfect soundtrack for a lonely Valentine’s Day. Zeph’s soft voice soothes her listeners while also leaving a melancholic tone. Her chorus is made up of short lines and a catchy melody that are sure to get stuck in your head. As she sings, “Reading old texts / Making a mess / Inside my own contentment / Wishing you’d still / Let your adorations spill / In the things you send,” she perfectly captures that feeling of wondering if someone has lost their love for you. The singer also portrays the somewhat embarrassing experience of waiting for a text you’ll never get with lyrics like “Have you not messaged me / ‘Cause you’re busy / Or because you forgot.” Overall, Zeph deserves a spot on every sad yearning playlist, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not.
- “Disaster” by Conan Gray
As another song that has gained significant popularity recently, “Disaster” by Conan Gray perfectly encapsulates the chaotic side of having a crush — wanting to jump in head first into a relationship and being afraid of all the consequences it might bring. This song captures the rush of adrenaline from having a crush on someone and has an addicting feel. With lyrics like “Lose my mind / Is it purely platonic to call me, like, every night?” Conan Gray captures the frustration of confusing “purely platonic” relationships despite the desire to have it be more than that. If you find yourself alone in your empty room this Valentine’s Day, there’s no better song to blast and scream at the top of your lungs than this one.
- “Pancakes for Dinner” by Lizzy McAlpine
Adding another Lizzy McAlpine song to this list, “Pancakes for Dinner” perfectly captures the feeling of pining after someone who’s just out of reach. McAlpine has an incredible ability to capture hopeless romantic moments with her imaginative lyrics. This song is just as theatrical as the rest of her discography, as she details how she wishes she could confess her feelings before experiencing a hypothetical plane crash: “But if I were to crash in this plane tonight / I’d want you to know this.” This song creates a strong emotional connection with listeners, but it also appeals to the hopeless romantics, as in the chorus, McAlpine sings that she wants to eat pancakes for dinner with someone and enjoy domestic life with them.
- “Car Lights” by James Marriott
“Car Lights” by James Marriott is one of two songs on this list that include queer romance themes, and Marriott includes some gut wrenching concepts and lyrics. He tells the story of an old high school crush, and his experience with trying to understand sexuality while also having to hide from the entire world. Lyrics like “You’re sure we’re out of their sight?” and “I hate what you’re doing, I hate that it feels so right” depict the confusion of understanding queer romantic experiences. Marriott also expresses the yearning that comes along with these feelings and the desire to want to experience love just like anyone else, and sings, “You can hold my hand in a crowded place / But just hold me close and hope that they don’t see my face.”
- “Lovesong (The Way)” by Charlie Burg (feat. The Bluets)
One of the older songs on this list, “Lovesong” by Charlie Burg and The Bluets is a go-to for whenever you have a new crush and everything they do seems to be perfect. Similarly to “are you?” earlier in this list, it simultaneously depicts the feeling of waiting for a reply to a text along with a sign of reciprocated affection. The lyrics, “Why is your voice so sonically pleasing to me? / I can’t figure it out,” reveal an ideal depiction of the giddy feeling of adoring every part of someone’s personality. This song also has an addicting melody that compels you to keep it on repeat and daydream about your favorite lecture hall crush.
- “Sappho” by Frankie Cosmos
The other queer song on this list, “Sappho” by Frankie Cosmos, is a bit more laid back but is still an explicit depiction of queer love and yearning. Frankie Cosmos does a great job of portraying the innocence of falling in love with a girl and not knowing if she would reciprocate — making one afraid of ruining the relationship. She uses lyrics such as, “Is that Sappho you’re reading?” to make a reference to the Ancient Greek poet Sappho who would write sapphic poetry and is a symbol of sapphic love. Additionally, lyrics like “And I’m sorry if / I have been a real bad friend / Your face too close to mine / To hear you talk” capture the feeling of pure admiration for another girl. Overall, this song feels like a perfect song to yearn to this Valentine’s Day.
- “We’ll Never Have Sex” by Leith Ross
“We’ll Never Have Sex” by Leith Ross is another song on this list that has garnered significant attention due to TikTok, however, it is composed of a beautiful and gentle melody as well as moving lyrics that are quite relatable in our current day. The lyrics “Depollute me, pretty baby / Suck the rot right out of my blood stream” that start off the song are such a raw example of longing for a love that is pure with no false intentions — something that unfortunately often escapes us in the college dating scene. Additionally, lyrics like “Oh, you kissed me just to kiss me / Not to take me home” evoke similar feelings of wanting a love that has no ulterior motives and being loved for factors other than your body. If you can relate to feelings of frustration when trying to find the love of your life on campus, this song may be the perfect fit.
- “fall in love with a girl ” by Cavetown (feat. beabadoobee)
An incredible collaboration between beloved indie artists Cavetown and beabadoobee, “fall in love with a girl” is for anyone who loves everything about girls. The rather soft and gentle melody and voices within this song pair well with the lyrics and themes about how wonderful it is to be in love with a girl. The chorus includes lyrics like “But if you fall in love with a girl / She’ll make you feel like the world is on your shoulder / When you’re holding her hand,” which emphasizes the lovely tenderness of girls. The song also includes the singers’ bad experiences with boys, including lyrics like “You can’t force him to love you” and “With all the bullshit he gives you.” If you want to mourn the atrocity of a past relationship and daydream about a better future, look no further than this song.
- “all my ghosts” by Lizzy McAlpine
Although she appears on this list three times, there is no other way to conclude a Valentine’s Day music list than with a final Lizzy McAlpine song. The track “all my ghosts” is a wonderful depiction of wanting to fall in love with someone but feeling past relationships weighing you down. Of course, there are portrayals of cute romantic moments, such as, “We made sangria and failed / I spilled mac and cheese on my pants / And thought about kissing you underneath kitchen lights,” which are definitely fun to daydream about. However, with lyrics like “All my ghosts are with me / I know you feel them too,” she doesn’t let us forget about the tough parts of love as well. Overall, this entire album of hers is filled with songs to yearn and cry to, both on Valentine’s Day and really every day of the year.