Unconventional Love

Whether you are in love or not, sometimes there are only so many times you can listen to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. With Valentine’s day on our horizon, it is expected for everyone to be in the spirit of love. But how is love defined in art? There are many love songs that state their case from the first word, but many leave their listener with speculation. Many love songs are not about romantic love. Some use strange metephors or unconventional delivery messages. These are those songs. 

1. Cleopatra – The Lumineers 

One of my all time favorite songs, Cleopatra, tells of a timeless “right person, wrong time” love affair. The tale is told from the perspective of the opposite sex of the singer. It does not leave its listener feeling warm and fuzzy, instead questioning if they’ve missed out on the love of their life. 

2. First Began – PJ Morton

Crooned in a traditional sense, Morton’s song is an ode to a love so deep that it transcends time. He sings about finding his love in another life so that he can love them all over again.

3. If the World Was Ending – JP Saxe and Julia Michaels

This modern masterpiece tells of a love that has seemingly died, yet when a catastrophic event happens, both parties long for the other, realizing there’s no other that they would rather be with in their final moments. 

4. Radar Detector – Darwin Deez

The definition of unconventional, this song by band Darwin Deez likens a lover to a police radar detector. Like the device, their significant other keeps them out of trouble. 

5. The Rambler – Black Stone Cherry

As opposed to a romantic love, this song takes on the love for a child from the perspective of a father. This song is a gem that very few have heard. 

6. Gimme All Your Love – Alabama Shakes 

Contrary to traditional love songs, Frontrunner Brittany Howard makes her love known in a less wanton, more blatant request … via shout. 

7. What Sarah Said – Death Cab for Cutie

This tragic, thoughtful ballad, love is expressed in the form of regret and grief as a loved one passes away. After all, Sarah says, “Love is watching someone die.”

8. Grant Green- Mr Jukes and Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley is a man apart from time and this collaboration with Mr Jukes is timeless. Bradley’s declaration is the focal point of this song, a simple “I need you!” ringing out among a sample from the artist the song is titled after. 

9. She Doesn’t Get It – The Format

This early project from Nate Ruess is seldom known, even by fans of alternative pop music. This song, with its harsh misogyny sounds like anything but a love song. If you listen to the end you’ll see that the lead singer is putting on a facade to avoid admitting to himself that he has caught feelings for someone he now cannot have. 

10. Papaya – Saba and  daedaePIVOT

Rapper Saba is the poster child for pining in this song about wanting to be with someone who is already in a relationship. 

11. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Hear me out: this is a love song. While it is full of confusion and anger, Lindsey Buckingham is pleading for Stevie Nicks to come back to him as he tries to let her go. 

12. Need Your Love – Tennis

Play this when one’s significant other needs a wake-up call. The lyrics tease devotion, but reveal the singer is quite put off by the subject of the song.

13. Partners in Crime – FINNEAS

In this track, love is defined by a bad experience. It is defined by what others think and one’s own wishful thinking. It is about friend-zoning and the relationship that almost was, but wasn’t.

14. Get to You Again – Mac Ayres

This is a song about getting back to someone one has been missing. Though released in 2018, it is prime for such current times as the pandemic.