Valentine’s Day has just recently passed, which means the same patch of love songs that you hear every year — Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” John Legend’s’ “All of Me,” and of course Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love” come to mind. While those romantic staples are wonderful, it’s also nice to have some songs that aren’t just about heterosexual relationships.
This Valentine’s Day, Billboard Pride put together a playlist of new love songs written by queer artists. From upbeat bubblegum pop songs from Superfruit to beautifully pared-down ballads from Parson James, it’s time to celebrate queer love with fresh, new music that crosses genres, styles and boundaries.
1. Vincent – Marrow
The brand new pop vocalist said that this song is like telling someone “I love you despite your faults, despite everything else, and I feel you even when we’re not in the same room.” It’s a vocal powerhouse that deftly glides from smooth R&B to an almost gospel-like chorus. This song is guaranteed to give you that loving feeling.
2. Perfume Genius, “Alan”
This quiet, raw ballad from Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius is an ode to the singer’s longtime boyfriend, Alan Wyffels. In not so many words, but in oh so many emotions, Hadreas conveys the sort of subtle, deep love that anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship understands.
3. Sakima, “Snow Angels”
While Sakima is known for his deeply erotic, overtly sexual lyrics, his song “Snow Angels” tackles intimate passion with a lighter touch. Sure, signature lyrics like “Clouds in the sky of our names/ Dreaming of fucking till they fade away” are still present, but this slower, more romantic track sounds like love to us.
4. Kehlani, “Honey”
The soulful artist’s hit song is a slow, sultry acoustic number sung to her lover. The song’s lyrics, detailing a cautious giving in to one’s own strong feelings of infatuation, are the cherry on top of this tender ode to loving someone new.
5. Superfruit, “Worth It (Perfect)”
The dynamic pop duo of Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi sing about a love so good that they’re willing to go through just about anything to preserve it. With heavy synth complementing the shimmering vocals of the two Pentatonix members, this song is the perfect love letter to that special someone this Valentine’s Day.
6. Cub Sport, “Look After Me”
In this alt pop slow jam, lead singer Tim Nelson croons about his lover who puts up with him even when he’s in his worst state. Want to thank your partner for being there for you even when you’re a mess? Go ahead and send them this song.
7. Parson James, “Only You”
While Parson James will tell you that this song is about a difficult breakup, listening to the lyrics makes you feel something much different. This emotional ballad explores complex feelings in a relationship where one partner simply needs the other to feel whole again. Plus, James’ music video for this song was a lovely tribute to love featuring a transgender model, so it certainly deserves your attention.
8. Mary Lambert, “Love is Love”
The songstress featured her own mother, Mary Kay Lambert, on this understated love ballad about finding a deep, healing love in the face of adversity.
9. Kelela, “Blue Light”
On an album surrounded by songs about moving on from breakups, this steamy, sexy alternative R&B jam tells of a woman letting her guard down to allow herself to love her partner fully. Kelela’s vocals alone on this track will make you feel love again.
10. Troye Sivan, “My My My!”
Troye Sivan has been making the rounds, performing “My My My!” everywhere from Saturday Night Live to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. This synth-pop bop is a true expression of new love and romantic freedom, guaranteed to make you swoon.
11. PVRIS, “Anyone Else”
Singer Lynn Gunn pours her heart into the lyrics of this upbeat ode to a lover. The light guitar and heavy drums filling up the background make this a perfect song to dance around to with your significant other.
12. morgxn, “xx”
An ethereal, funky song about the euphoric rush of romantic passion, this entry from pink-haired singer morgxn is an excellent assertion of being comfortable with your own sexuality.
13. Wrabel, “It’s You”
Wrabel’s melodic anthem of love explores how “you” make everything in life more colorful and beautiful. With a proven track-record making songs of support for the LGBTQ community, this song is a perfect fit on any queer Valentine’s Day playlist.
14. Beth Ditto, “Love In Real Life”
While many of the other songs on this list deal in hyperbole, singer-songwriter Beth Ditto’s “Love in Real Life” takes on a more realistic tone — love is hard and frustrating, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. This glittering song is about loving love, even when it isn’t perfect.