From wistful ballads about almost-relationships to uplifting tunes about a newfound spark, some love songs have the ability to transform not only your mood but your whole mindset. And while there are romantic songs for fans of any and every genre, there’s just something about indie songs about love that strike an especially powerful chord. Maybe it’s the simpler production style that really complements such relatable subject matter. Or, maybe it’s the emotionally honest lyrics — a welcome change from cookie-cutter commercial hits. Regardless, let’s just say there’s a reason why indie love songs are so popular for weddings.
As an indie singer-songwriter myself, I think it’s important to note that "indie" can be a somewhat confusing term, particularly as the definition has become increasingly muddled in recent years. Traditionally, it encompassed any music produced by an independent artist — in other words, who isn’t signed to a record label. However, that term has evolved to describe music spanning many genres — including folk, pop, and rock — with a decidedly softer, somewhat less commercial sound. (Think Bon Iver’s "Skinny Love" as opposed to Lady Gaga’s "Stupid Love.") The benefit is that many of these songs are by lesser-known artists — which means you can be the first of your squad to discover them.
Whether you’re falling for someone new or waxing nostalgic about a previous romance, these are the indie songs you’ll want to have on repeat — trust me, your heart will thank you.
"Bartender" — Emily James
Real talk: is there anything better than discovering a new crush? Singer-songwriter Emily James captures the hesitancy, excitement, and longing beautifully in this single, which she just released in January of 2020.
"Best Part" — Daniel Caesar & H.E.R
From the moment I first heard this ballad in the prom scene on 13 Reasons Why, I knew I wanted to hear it a million times over. It’s one of those timeless tracks that makes you want to grab someone and start spontaneously slow dancing.
"Real" — Mary McAvoy
In a world full of "fake smiles and filters" this bop offers a refreshingly honest take on yearning to go a little deeper than surface-level when it comes to love.
"Movie" — Tom Misch
With jazz, soul, and hip-hop influences all at play, this dreamy tune is a whole *vibe.* Also, fun fact: the music video features adorable footage of Tom Misch’s grandparents from the 1940s.
"Burning" — Maggie Rogers
Ever since she was launched to indie fame, Maggie Rogers has been captivating listeners with her evocative storytelling — and this joyful jam is no exception. Give it a listen when you’re falling for someone so hard you want to shout it from the rooftops.
"Stay Awake" — Dean Lewis
If you’re in the mood to wallow in your feels, look no further than this tune about holding on to a love that’s slipping out of your fingers right before you.
"Better" — Jacob Thompson
Just because a relationship ends mutually and on good terms doesn’t make it easy to move forward. And when singer-songwriter Jacob Thompson earnestly asks, "What if I never find somebody better?" in the heart-wrenching bridge, somehow it hits different.
"West Coast Love" — Emotional Oranges
I can guarantee that this easy-breezy tune will immediately transport you back to your first summer love.
"Slow Fade" — Ruth B
Listening to this one feels like enjoying an ultra-complex glass of red that gets better with every sip — and if you’ve ever wondered how and when a spark fizzled out, this one should resonate with you.
"Things You Can’t Change" — Rhys Lewis
Rhys Lewis sums up what it feels like to fully appreciate all of your partner’s flaws — and what could be more romantic than that?
DY gives a heart-wrenching subject an upbeat twist in this catchy little number, which begs the question: "Can we go back to the times when were younger?"
"Ready" — Sam Fischer
You can totally feel the emotion oozing through the lyrics in this one — and as it turns out, it’s all about self-love.
"’Ready’ is a message to myself to say… no one’s going to love me the way I can love me, if I let myself," Sam Fischer told Daily Mail Australia.
"Come Back for More" — Late to the Party
Ever found yourself in an irresistible on-again off-again relationship? You’ll feel this driving indie pop tune hard.
"Only You" — Parson James
Between the soulful piano parts, the breathtaking harmonies, and Parson James’ silky voice, this pop-gospel song is sure to have you swooning.
"I wrote this song almost immediately after a breakup with my partner of nearly 3 years," James revealed in a press release. "I was singing to the part of myself that I lost while in that relationship … this song to me now is about finding your way back to the part of you that you lost. Finding a way to love yourself as much as you want to be loved."
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