Say what you will about Valentine’s Day – but there’s no better occasion to replay the songs that embody the most important four-letter word of all: LOVE.
Let’s face it – love songs overall just don’t get the appreciation they deserve. However, Valentine’s Day is our annual moment to appreciate the classic ballads that get us all in our feelings. For me, Luther Vandross’s “Always And Forever” turns me into a total sap every single time. It will likely be the first dance song at my wedding…that is whenever my future husBAE comes along (any day now, Jesus.)
If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for playlist recommendations from the homies. So to mix things up a little, I’ve surveyed my colleagues here at ESSENCE about their favorite love songs. Here’s what we’ll have on repeat this February 14th:
H.E.R. - "Best Part" ft. Daniel Caesar
"The acoustic guitar, Daniel's sweet and smoky voice and the repeated lyric 'if you love me, say something,' hits me right in my spirit." - Cori Murray, Entertainment Director
India.Arie - "Beautiful Surprise"
"I could never pick just one, because music is the soundtrack of our lives. But, India.Arie's 'Beautiful Surprise,' to me, is the perfect love song. It pays tribute to how love can be such a sudden, wonderful, unexpected and life-altering force in our lives. The song also honors the fact that the love that is for you is truly ordained. I quoted the song for my wedding vows: 'You are everything I ask for in my prayers / So I know my angels brought you to my life / Your energy is healing to my soul / You are a beautiful surprise / You are an inspiration to my life / You are the reason why I smile / You are a beautiful surprise." - Charli Penn, Love & Wellness Director
Frank Ocean - Thinkin Bout You
"This song completely sums up what it feels like to fall in love, fall out of love, and grapple with those lingering feelings." - Sydney Scott, Culture & Entertainment Editor
Anthony Hamilton - "The Point Of It All"
"The words to this song make my heart melt every time I hear it! I do what I do and act how I act because 'the point of it all is I LOVE YOU!'" - Jordan Benston, Editorial Project Manager
Bob Marley - "Wait In Vain"
"This is so hard! I guess because I was listening to Bob Marley last week in honor of his birthday (he would have turned 75) 'Wait in Vain' came to mind. 'I don't want to wait in vain for your love" and 'in life I know there's lots of grief, but your love is my relief.' You have to understand Jamaican culture to know why the idea that this tough guy showing this kind of vulnerability is such a big deal: 'it's been three years since I'm knocking on your door, and I still can knock some more.' What?!" - Grace White, Copy Chief
Stevie Wonder - "As"
"I'm a sucker for great lyrics, and these song lyrics are just such a beautiful interpretation of how truly timeless, endless love transcends the physical." - Rachaell Davis, Senior Editor of Live Events
Miguel - "Adorn"
"There's something about this record that speaks to the fullness of love. Miguel asks for his love to adorn the woman, meaning make her more beautiful or attractive. He's speaking as if he knows she's beautiful in her own right and he's lucky to stand by her side." - Miranda Johnson, Social Media Producer
Xavier Omär - "Blind Man"
"Xavier Omär's voice strokes my soul and the lyrics 'beauty in your soul, girl a blind man could love you / A blind man could love you just for who you are / Got 20-20 vision and I still don’t see ya flaws / I said you make me feel good, and you ain’t even touch me' just shows how love is more than physical appearance or anything sexual." - Ashley Fouyolle, Senior Designer, Marketing
Stevie Wonder - "If It's Magic"
"Listening to 'If It's Magic' by Stevie Wonder never fails to make me stop and appreciate the love I receive, and give, in my life. The lyrics are timeless and the guitar chords are perfect. I even used it as the processional at my wedding." - Bridgette B. Royall, Research Editor
Chrisette Michele - "Love Is You"
"When Chrisette's debut album came out, I had it on repeat in my car. This song always touched me because it literally describes the type of enduring love we're all craving." - Joi-Marie McKenzie, Senior Entertainment Editor
Stevie Wonder - "Love's In Need Of Love Today"
"This song is everything at once: happy, sad, reflective, and introspective." - Yesha Callahan, News Director
Luther Vandross - Endless Love ft. Mariah Carey (Official Video)
"Luther Vandross is greatest love song composer of all time. This song, in particular, reminds me of what it feels like when someone loves you back." - Jennifer Ford, Associate Beauty Editor