Ah, love. We’ve spent centuries writing poetry about it, waging wars in it’s name, and singing countless (and I mean truly countless) songs all about it. Do we get tired though? Absolutely not. With something that has been around as long as love, there are a million experiences and expressions that can come out of it. Yes, all the saccharine feelings of joy and happiness, but also betrayal, heartbreak, bitterness, indifference, and, yes, countless more emotions. Thankfully, we’ve always had great bards, scribes, and lyricists to get us through. And now, we may not have Shakespeare on stand-by to help us understand the complexities of our emotions, but we have Charli XCX—and for us, that’s absolutely good enough.
From the lovey-dovey to the heartbreak anthems, our artists today are still helping us through love and all its burdens. So sit back and take a listen. Here are best love songs of 2022.
With “melt” Kehlani is giving us a love story in it’s greatest form: soppy, poetic, and abundantly passionate. With a music video featuring her real life love, 070 shake, Kehlani expresses the euphoric feeling at a beginning of a relationship where everything is perfect an all you want to is to become one with your lover. “I can’t tell where your hair ends and mine beginsIf I ain’t have all these tattoos, I would think that it’s your skin,” she sings.
Boys Noize & ABRA, “Affection”
Having a crush is great and all, but you know what isn’t? Having them carelessly string you along. On this dance track, Abra and Boyz Noize are sick of the games. Beyond the fact that this collab between the famed DJ and alternative R&B superstar make a perfect match in heaven, the song is excellent addition to any playlist dedicated to the perils of love. What I’m saying is, there is major “crying in the club” energy here.
Umi, “Wish That I Could”
Off of her newest album, Forest in the City, R&B singer-songwriter Umi paints perfect portrait of what it’s like to have a deep, spellbinding crush on “Wish That I Could.” “Wish that I could be your lover/I never met a girl like that/I could treat you like no other/Wanna be yours so bad” she pines over the dreamy, ethereal backing. Swoon.
Idman, “Good Life”
On this wavy single, Somali-American artist Idman channels all of the most relatable emotions after a bad breakup: heartbreak, regret, bitterness, and envy. It’s especially stewed in the jealousy felt from being the last one to move on. “I don’t wanna hear about your/Good, good, good, good life,” she sings, “I don’t wanna see you out there/Out there winning while I’m sitting right here.” Idman is cutting all the bullshit and, curiously, making resentment down right beautiful.
Charli XCX, “Yuck”
Okay, technically this is somewhat of an anti-love song. But it certainly belongs on this list. How can we possibly talk of all of the multifaceted experiences of love without mentioning the situations where someone’s being too lovey-dovey and you just want to say “Yuck.”
Check this lyric: “That boy’s so mushy/Sending me flowers, I’m just tryna get lucky/Yuck,” Charli sings on this dance-pop track. If that triggers a visceral feeling of being able to relate in you, take a pause, sit down, and turn on this tune.
Banks, “Anything 4 U”
Deep in the heart of Banks’s newest album Serpentina, lays “Anything 4 U”—a true gem of a love song. The funk-infused, soulful dance track expresses the feelings of being so into someone that you’d do anything to have them and keep them. Relatable!
Harry Styles, “Cinema”
Have you ever looked at your lover and though “Damn, you’re just so cool.” Harry Styles, and he wrote a whole groove-filled song about it. “I just think you’re cool/I dig your cinema/Do you think I’m cool, too?/Or am I too into you?” In this song—which is likely a nod to Styles’s girlfriend, Olivia Wilde, who is probably very cool and also happens to make movies—he gets real about an aspect of love we can all relate to. After all, who the hell doesn’t want their lover to think they’re cool??
DJ SPINALL, Fireboy DML, “Sere”
This one is for the summer flings. We see you, we hear you, and we’re here to help you relate. Have you ever been on a holiday, spotted a total hottie and thought to yourself “I get my eyes on you/You got vibes on you”? So have Fireboy DML and DJ Spinall. Sunshine, vacation, and summer love is a pretty intoxicating mix. Pair all of those emotions with this tropical sounding Afrobeat song and ride the wave.
Ammal Hassan is a writer and Esquire’s Snapchat Editor.
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