Love is in the air with the arrival of Valentine's Day on Thursday. The day will be filled with candy, cards and gifts for loved ones. In honor of the amorous occasion, here's a list of 10 standout pop tracks on the subject... made with love.
No. 10 – Hilary Duff's “With Love” (2007)
Former Disney starlet Hilary Duff was very straightforward on “With Love,” the second single lifted 2007's “Dignity” album. While love jams are usually big ballads, the singer instead spread her honest message across the track's urgent, electro-pop production. Knowing that communication is key in relationships, Duff sings, “Tell me I'm wrong / That I'm coming on way too strong / Don't think I'll be crushed / Just do it with love.” In the name of love, she's willing to work things out, even if it's on the dance floor.
As the final single from her “Oops!... I Did it Again” album, pop star Britney Spears released the love ballad, “Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know.” Over the track's hypnotic pop production, she softly coos about having a picture perfect romance that is still missing something. With impassioned pleas, Spears lets her lover know that she just wants him to drop the “L” word. “Oh, if you love me so / Don't let me the last to know,” she sings in one of her best vocal performances. Britney proves that one little word can really go a long way.
No. 8 – RBD's “Bésame Sin Miedo” (2007)
On the third single from their “Celestial” album, Mexican pop group RBD demanded a big smooch on the lips. With “Bésame Sin Miedo,” the six band members made their version of “Bésame Mucho” for a new generation. The English translation of RBD's “Bésame” is “Kiss Me Without Fear,” which they strongly commit to with stern conviction. Over the science fiction-like sound and percolating beats, member Anahi sings, “Bésame sin miedo como si fuera el ultimo (Kiss me without fear like it were the last).” Leave it to Spanish to get love across in the most beautiful way.
No. 7 – Aaliyah's “Rock the Boat” (2002)
Before her untimely passing in late 2001, singer Aaliyah released her self-titled album, which later spawned single “Rock the Boat.” The R&B slow jam is a certified baby making music with Aaliyah detailing bedroom time in a nautically naughty sense. “I want you to rock the boat / Work the middle / Change positions,” she sings with enchanting vocals on top of the track's breezy electronic production. When that love ship is ready to set sail, Aaliyah is always ready to man the controls with this sensual standout.
No. 6 – Justin Timberlake's “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows (Interlude)” (2007)
Before pop singer Justin Timberlake was big on donning the suit and ties at galas, he was the guy frequenting the club scene for ladies. That persona was best exemplified on pop opus “LoveStoned” from 2006's “FutureSex/LoveSounds” album. His smooth croon is layered over the track's funky dance beats as he boasts about taking the woman of his eye home. Behind that spunk, though, Timberlake sheds the front when the song's mesmerizing guitars kick in. “She's got me hooked / It just ain't fair, but I'm love stoned,” he sings with complete vulnerability. It truly is a crazy little thing called love.
Lady Gaga's songs can have many interpretations that she dictates out during interviews, but for the sake of this feature, the glitzy “Paparazzi” will be approached as a love track. Released as the fourth single from Gaga's “The Fame” album, the glowing synthpop song details her infatuation for a lover, which she likens to a photographer hunting down a celebrity. The desperation in her vocals beautifully convey how crazy she is for the subject of her affection. “I'm your biggest fan / I'll follow you until you love me,” she sings. Aside from the stalkerish undertones, Gaga is charming on her quest for love.
Beyonce introduced her solo career with the loud horns in “Crazy in Love,” lifted from 2003's “Dangerously in Love” album. Love is a declaration for all to hear on the R&B banger with Mrs. Carter ferociously singing, “You got me sprung and I don't care who sees / Baby, you got me.” Bey's hubby, Jay-Z, complements her well with his slick rap comparing the singer to “a star like Ringo.” It's also nice to know that this crazy love affair led to something in the long run: a married music power couple with a baby home. A love story with a happy ending is always the best.
No. 3 – Lana Del Rey's “Video Games” (2011)
Indie pop singer Lana Del Rey became a viral breakout in 2011 with “Video Games,” from her “Born to Die” album. On the haunting ballad, she details the glamor and gloom shared with her lover. The track got Del Rey noticed for a reason with its opening bell ushering in dreamy harps, a solemn piano and soaring strings that back her distinctively vintage voice. “It's you, it's you, it's all for you / Everything I do,” she sings in a heartfelt performance over the song's sweeping production. Lana really pulls off the lovestruck look.
No. 2 – The Beatles' “Something” (1969)
Opening with that distinct guitar riff, English rock group The Beatles' “Something” is simplicity as its best. Band member George Harrison sat down to write the little love ditty that could during the band's “Abbey Road” album sessions, after which it was released as a single. Its lyrics are not too complex, but still convey so much affection that one has their lover. “Something in the way she knows and I all I have to do is think of her,” Harrison sings on the ballad. His guitar emotes just as much emotion during the jam solo. There's something about the Beatles hitting the right chords with their love songs.
No. 1 – Mariah Carey's “Vision of Love” (1990)
With her debut single, “Vision of Love,” pop singer Mariah Carey also delivered one of the best love songs in recent decades. Over a slow-paced R&B sound, she soulfully powers through the ballad with her depiction of an ideal lover. Carey lets the lucky guy of her eye know how much she is very happy with him, not with a simple “I love you,” but with off-the-chart vocal melisma. “I had a vision of love and it was all that turned out to be,” she sings with appreciative passion. Only Mariah can make someone experience love on such a high note.
Did you agree with this list or have other love song favorites? Sound off in the comments below.
Listen to the top 10 songs on Spotify (minus The Beatles' "Something") here
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