Oh, my love. We’ve spent centuries writing poetry about it, waging wars in its name, and singing countless (and I mean really countless) songs about it. Are we tired yet? Absolutely not. With something that has been around for as long as love, there are a million experiences and expressions that can come out of it. Yes, all the sweet feelings of joy and happiness, but also betrayal, grief, bitterness, indifference and, yes, innumerable more emotions. Luckily, we’ve always had excellent bards, scribes, and lyricists to guide us. And now we may not have Shakespeare waiting to help us understand the complexity of our emotions, but we have Charli XCX – and for us, that’s quite enough.
From lovey-dovey to heartbreaking anthems, our artists today still help us through love and all its burdens. So sit back and listen. Here are the best love songs of 2022.
With “melt”, Kehlani offers us a love story in its greatest form: honeyed, poetic and passionate in abundance. With a music video featuring her true love, 070 shake, Kehlani expresses the euphoric feeling of starting a relationship where everything is perfect and all you want is to be one with your lover. “I don’t know where your hair ends and mine begins. If I didn’t have all these tattoos, I would think it’s your skin,” she sings.
Boys Noize & ABRA, “Affection”
Having a crush is fine and all, but you know what isn’t? Having them carelessly chain you. On this dance floor, Abra and Boyz Noize are fed up with games. Beyond the fact that this collaboration between the famous DJ and the alternative R&B superstar makes a perfect match in heaven, the song is a great addition to any playlist dedicated to the perils of love. What I’m saying is there’s a major ‘crying in the club’ energy here.
Umi, “I wish I could”
Taken from his latest album, Forest in the city, R&B singer-songwriter Umi paints a perfect portrait of what it’s like to have a deep, spellbinding crush on “Wish That I Could.” “I wish I could be your lover/I never met a girl like this/I could treat you like no other/I want to be yours so badly” she longs for the dreamy, ethereal backing. Swoon.
Idman, “The Good Life”
On this wavy single, Somali-American artist Idman channels all the most relevant emotions after a bad breakup: grief, regret, bitterness and envy. It’s mostly simmered in the jealousy felt to be the last to move on. “I don’t wanna hear about your/good, good, good, good life,” she sings, “I don’t wanna see you over there/over there winning while I’m sitting right here.” Idman cuts out all the bullshit and, oddly enough, makes the resentment truly magnificent.
Charli XCX, “Yuk”
Okay, technically it’s a bit of an anti-love song. But it definitely belongs on this list. How can we talk about all the multi-faceted love experiences without mentioning the situations where someone is too much in love and you just want to say “Yuck”.
Check out this lyric: “That boy so pasty / Send me flowers, I’m just tryna get lucky / Yuck,” Charli sings on this dance-pop track. If it triggers a visceral feeling of being able to relate, pause, sit down, and turn on that tune.
Banks, “Anything 4 U”
Inside Banks’ latest album serpentine, lays “Anything 4 U” – a real gem of a love song. The funk-infused soulful dance floor expresses the feeling of being so in love with someone that you would do anything to have them and keep them. Reliable!
Harry Styles, “Cinema”
Have you ever looked at your lover and thought “Damn, you’re so cool.Harry Styles, and he wrote a whole groovy song about it. “I just think you’re cool/I love your cinema/You think I’m cool too?/Or am I too in love with you?” this song – which is probably a nod to Styles’ girlfriend, Olivia Wilde, who is probably very cool and also does movies – he realizes an aspect of love to which we can all relate.want their lover to think they are cool??
DJ SPINALL, Fireboy DML, “Séré”
This one is for summer adventures. We see you, we hear you and we are here to help you understand. Have you ever been on vacation, spotted a total hottie and thought to yourself “I’m looking at you / You got vibes on you”? Just like Fireboy DML and DJ Spinall. Sun, holidays and summer love are a pretty intoxicating mix. Combine all these emotions with this tropical-sounding Afrobeat song and ride the wave.
Ammal Hassan is a writer and the Snapchat editor of Esquire.
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