Love songs are as old as music itself.
Since we first picked up instruments and started creating melodies, we’ve been making songs about that crazy, amazing roller coaster ride we call love.
While every genre has its fair share of quintessential love tracks, there’s no denying that indie artists write some of the best love songs around. In this post, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite songs to add to a mixtape (or playlist) for that special someone.
We’ve highlighted our faves from this genre, but if you want to take this playlist with you on the go, open it on Spotify here, or just click play below:
Rocky Took a Lover by Bell X-1
Rocky Took a Lover is a song from Irish indie-rock group Bell X-1’s 2005 album Flock, which captures the story of a homeless man who lived near lead singer Paul Noonan. Rocky was a monster when he was drunk, but a nice man when sober — and one day, Paul looked out his window and saw that Rocky had taken a lover, which inspired him to write the song as a fictional conversation between the two.
The song features a Radiohead-like mixture of keyboards and acoustic guitars, where Rocky and his lover talk about the stars and how they eventually burn out. A metaphor for life and love, Rocky understands the finite nature of nature itself and why that makes love so important.
I Choose You by Adam Melchor
Adam Melchor is an American songwriter from New Jersey, and his song I Choose You is one of those classic indie-acoustic ballads about love. With this beautiful song, Melchor weaves catchy melodies and personal lyrics into a heartwarming encapsulation about just how it feels to find the right person.
In a world with billions of people, hearing someone say you’re the only one for me is an incredibly powerful statement — and with lyrics like:
“I choose you
Out of billions of people
We got it down to two
I choose you
Darlin, it’s all addin’ up
The math ain’t hard to do
Cuz I choose you”
It’s obvious that Adem Melchor knows just how amazing love’s algebra is.
Thunder Clatter by Wild Club
Wild Club is a Nashville-based indie rock band led by songwriter-composer Keegan DeWitt and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock. Released in 2013, Thunder Clatter is a beachy dance track clearly influenced by new-wave acts like New Order and Cut Copy.
The lyrics are deceptively simple, but their earnestness (combined with the tropical rhythms and jangly guitars) will have you drenched in endorphins, thinking about the love of your life.
Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event
Sometime Around Midnight is the second track from The Airborne Toxic Event’s self-titled debut album, which was released in 2008. The song was named by iTunes as their #1 Alternative Rock Song of 2008 — a particularly impressive feat given the fact that it actually doesn’t have a chorus.
Based on a true story, Sometime Around Midnight describes the night lead singer Mikel Jollett met up with a former girlfriend while out at a bar, only to discover during their meeting that he was still in love with her. What’s more, the entire band was there to witness it, which adds an extra layer of authenticity to their performance.
Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well by A Silent Film
Like the name suggests, Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well is all about a couple called Danny and Dakota, who meet at — you’ll never guess — a wishing well. After going about their lives (and with Dakota being cheated on by her husband), they eventually return to the wishing well and profess their love for each other.
With a fast-paced melody and booming synthesizers, this indie-rock love song from A Silent Film’s 2012 album truly captures the urgency of trying to get back to your one true love, no matter what it takes.
Take Care by Beach House
Take Care comes from indie-rock/dream-pop band Beach House’s critically acclaimed album, Teen Dream. Consisting of only the vocalist and keyboardist Victoria Legrand, and guitarist, keyboardist, and backup vocalist Alex Scally, the intimacy of the band comes across in their music — and this couldn’t be more true in this love song.
As the last song on Teen Dream, Take Care provides a beautiful end to an intense and emotional album that captures the heartache and beauty of young love. In case you needed proof, just look at the final lyrics of the song:
I’ll take care of you, take care of you
Traveling at the Speed of Light by Joywave
Hailing from New York, New York, Joywave is one of those classic indie rock bands from the 2010 era. A product of its times, Traveling at Speed of Light was initially released in March 2011 as a single from Joywave’s 777777 mixtape, before being re-released as the ninth track on their album How Do You Feel Now?
The Pink Floyd-esque song is the longest song on the album and the longest song on this list, but it’s worth the listen. Joywave uses Earth as a metaphor for love and loneliness — saying that even through its rotation and the changing of the seasons, he cannot get over the girl he loves.
You (Or Somebody Like You) by Gordie Sampson
Gordie Sampson is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer from Nova Scotia. However, recently he’s seen significant success as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, writing songs for the likes of Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Rascal Flatts.
You (Or Somebody Like You) is a classic acoustic love ballad originally written by Sampson, then covered by Keith Urban. While Urban’s version of the song is more popular, Sampson’s version is incredibly authentic and intimate. In the song, Gordie captures how powerful love is and how a love lost is a lot like a life lost — making the allusion to wrapping up love in a chalk outline like you might find at a crime scene.
Losing by Lincoln Lim
Lincoln Lim is a Singaporean musician who has been performing in the local music scene for the past nine years. With a folk-rock style reminiscent of Damien Rice, Rachel Yamagata, and Justin Vernon, it’s no surprise that Lim’s voice is perfectly suited for an indie love song — and with Losing, he’s created a hauntingly beautiful track that captures the enduring nature of love.
Losing is all about trying to forget someone, but ending up still feeling their presence around you. Featuring subtle floating church bells and intricate string arrangements, Lim’s love song is a representation of love and how it stays with you, even after it’s gone.