It probably helps that this video is freaking adorable, but “XO” might be one of Beyoncé’s best love songs. It’s not complicated, and it’s delivered with such joy and affection, you can just feel the love in her voice. And the way the song swells during the chorus is enough to make your heart feel like it’s about to burst, in the best way possible. “Baby, love me lights out” is the new “I love you.”
Honorable mention: “Drunk In Love”
Swoon-worthy lyric: “In the darkest night hour / I’ll search through the crowd / Your face is all that I see / I’ll give you everything / Baby love me lights out”
“Bound 2” almost sounds like it belongs on a different album. After more than 30 minutes of aggressive, pounding, icy production on Yeezus, it feels like the heavens open up when that first Ponderosa Twins Plus One sample kicks in. “Bound 2” is a throwback to classic ‘Ye production, soulful and warm, and the fact that it allows us to see him vulnerable and in love makes it all the better. The lyrics aren’t traditionally poetic, but that kind makes it more affecting, from talking about a love that’s like that teenage “don’t-tell-your-mom shit” to wondering out loud that, “Maybe we could still make it to the church steps.”
Swoon-worthy lyric: “And hey, ayo, we made it: Thanksgiving / So, hey, maybe we can make it to Christmas”
Rhye’s Mike Milosh has one of the most beautiful, sensuous voices out right now, and this song is silky, tender, and seductive in all the right ways. Best listened to on a long drive at night or with some candles lit at home. Trust me.
Honorable mention: “The Fall,” which was released as a single last year.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “I’m a fool for that shake in your thighs / I’m a fool for that sound in your sighs / I’m a fool for your belly / I’m a fool for your love”
Charles Bradley, “Let Love Stand A Chance”
I’m really not sure how anyone could turn down Charles Bradley’s pleas to “give love a chance.” The soul singer belts a monster of a ballad, filled with emotion, regret, and longing.
Gut-wrenching lyric: “I’ve been thinking what to say / If you walked through that door / All the walls we build around us / Let them fall to the floor”
Janelle Monaé, featuring Miguel, “PrimeTime”
Janelle Monaé and Miguel together? There’s nothing quite like it. There’s also nothing quite like feeling that some greater force is rooting for your love.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “‘Cause baby it’s a primetime for our love / Ain’t nobody peekin’ but the stars above / It’s a primetime for our love / And heaven is bettin’ on us”
Tegan and Sara hit the nail on the head when it comes to the anticipation of getting with your crush. The bouncy beat and chorus make for the perfect song to skip down the street to — or for the shyer among us, to blast inside your house and sing along with at the top of your lungs.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “I want you close, I want you / I won’t treat you like you’re typical”
Drake, featuring Majid Jordan, “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
This song is just all kinds of right, from the soulful, disco-tinged sound to Drake professing his love and desire to care for his special someone. It’s also a reminder that home is — yes — where the heart is.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “I can’t get over you / You left your mark on me / I want your hot love and emotion endlessly”
Mariah Carey, featuring Miguel, “#Beautiful”
Who doesn’t want to feel this carefree and light? Mimi and Miguel sound so smitten in this breezy, throwback R&B jam, and when she sings, “I don’t care / take me anywhere,” it perfectly captures those first feelings of really falling for someone.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “‘Cause it’s beautiful, oh you make me feel invincible / And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing to me”
“Sea Salt” is a song that so many people can relate to — it’s about that love you keep coming back to, even when you know it might not be right.
Gut-wrenching lyric: “And you still, I still can’t find my feelings / So I turn to you, look the other way / So I won’t see you kill this face / Couldn’t help falling in again”
A classic, feel-good R&B song, sung by the awesome K. Michelle, all about being so excited about the person who gives you butterflies, and everything feeling “very special,” indeed.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “You know this ain’t an ordinary love / We got so much history in the stories about us / So come on over baby”
Sevyn Streeter, “It Won’t Stop”
If you think that Sevyn Streeter sounds a little bit like Aaliyah, you’re not wrong; she name-checks the late singer on “It Won’t Stop,” and is clearly inspired by her subtle, sweet tones. The song is about undying love and devotion, and being able to trust yourself and someone else enough to let yourself go.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “Every little thing you do got me feeling some type of way / When you give me that thunder you make my summer rain”
Kacey Musgraves, “My House”
“My House” is a simple, sweet song about the things that really matter in life: the company you keep. Fancy houses and vacations are fine and good, but as long as you’re with the person you love, you’re home.
Swoon-worthy lyric: “Any KOA is A-OK as long as I’m with you / So come on hitch your wagon / to the living room I’m draggin’ / If I can’t bring you to my house / I’ll bring my house to you”
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” is what you’d want your ex to realize: You’re the best damn thing s/he ever had and s/he made the biggest mistake in letting you go. The song is a beautiful capsule of all those feelings of regret and pain, and maybe a lesson to some people out there to cherish their boy/girlfriends. Buy them flowers. Take them to the party. Appreciate them.