For those who would like a romantic playlist to set the mood for Valentine's Day, but not one that's so sweet it gives you a toothache, there are a ton of songs that will tell your significant other how you feel in a real low-key way. That's not to say these tracks won't make hearts go all aflutter, but perhaps for the political time we're in, they're a little more grounded in reality. You've probably got a lot on your mind, but this lovey-dovey — but not cheesy — playlist will let you tell the person you care about just how much you appreciate them while being sincere, yet down-to-earth.
This Valentine's Day let your sweetheart know how you really feel with a playlist that doesn't pull any punches. Love is complicated and the songs about it should be, too. These are the tracks that let your day one know you want to stick with them through thick and thin, but not in the usual cheesy way. There are no '80s power ballads here, though there are some emotional bangers that put their own unique spin on Cupid's day.
Some of these songs are direct dedications to the one that floats your boat, while others are a little more tongue-in-cheek when it comes to showing affection. All of them will get set the mood for a Valentine's Day that represents reality, not fantasy.
1. John Legend, "Love Me Now"
Sure, you could play wedding staple "All of Me," but this 2016 single encourages you to appreciate the time you have with the ones you love and not get too far ahead of yourself.
2. Jay Z feat. Beyoncé, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde"
Dedicate this one to the Bey to your Jay; your forever partner in crime who will help you take this world by storm now until forever.
3. Empire Of The Sun, "Walking On A Dream"
"I can feel it," they sing. "When two people become one." This Aussie duo sings about the thrill of new love and the feeling of finding that person who really truly gets you. It's certainly a nice feeling.
4. Feist, "I Feel It All"
This 2007 song basically encapsulates what it feels like to be in love. Damn right, you want to feel all the warm and fuzzy feelings that go with it.
5. Andy Grammer, "Fresh Eyes"
Grammer makes monogamy sound exhilarating on this pop song written for his wife of over four years. Embrace growth in your relationship and never take the one you love for granted.
6. Jens Lekman, "The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love"
This Swedish Burt Bacharach creates love songs for those realists who find themselves tempering their affections in bigger issues. He's just putting love and heartbreak into perspective for anyone who knows that climate change is real, but understands once you find someone who gets that, you never want to let them go.
7. Børns, "Electric Love"
Love can be as addictive as candy. This pop song mimics what it feels like when you're bouncing off the walls from a sugar high.
8. The xx, "I Dare You"
The xx deal with infatuation on this duet. "I've been a romantic for so long," Romy Madley Croft sings. "All I've ever had is love songs." And now, you've got another one.
9. Tegan & Sara, "Closer"
You know there's something unique about this new love of yours, which is why you don't want to treat them like they're "typical." Now that you've found them you don't want to let them go, like ever.
10. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, "Home"
Home is where the heart is and Edward Sharpe and his band make you want to put a down payment on this kind of love. "Man, oh man, you're my best friend, I scream it to the nothingness," he sings. "There ain't nothing that I need."
11. Father John Misty, "Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)"
Father John Misty's play on a love song is a little sweet, a touch perverse, and very honest — perhaps, a bit too honest for some. On the mariachi-infused track, Father John sings of satanic Christmases and making out in a vintage wedding dress that someone was murdered in, as if it's the new #relationshipgoals.
12. Mary J. Blige, "Real Love"
Way back in 1992, MJB equates love with a search for freedom. She just wants to find someone who will appreciate her strength and she'll keep searching until she does. It's still an empowering message in 2017.
13. Best Coast, "When I'm With You"
Bethany Cosentino, better known as Best Coast, manages to define true love in the simplest of terms. "When I'm with you, I have fun," she sings over and over. If that's not love, then I don't know what it is.
14. Alabama Shakes, "I Found You"
"It took a long time," Brittany Howard sings. "But you know I found you." It echoes the elation one feels when they've found their forever love. A sweet sentiment that you'll want to share with your valentine.
15. Beyoncé, "All Night"
If you're looking to get real this Valentine's Day think about adding this Lemonade ballad to your playlist, which has Beyoncé singing about the struggle to keep love alive after heartache. So often love songs are just about how splendid love is, but this song deals with starting over. "We together," she sings. "I remember." It's a memory you never want to forget.
16. Janelle Monáe Feat. Miguel, "PrimeTime"
This romantic slow jam should get you in the mood to throw a love parade at whatever time you feel is appropriate.
This Valentine's Day, let your sweetheart know how just how special they are to you by getting real, instead of really cheesy.