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
Daylight I'm someone else / When I'm by my midnight self / Shadows are lookin' like you / Keep, keep on thinking it's you ... Strangers keep lookin' like you / Keep, keep on thinking of you.
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
You're the coffee that I need in the morning / You're my sunshine in the rain when it's pouring ... You're my water when I'm stuck in the desert / You're the Tylenol I take when my head hurts.
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
Some of us got secrets that we keep / I'll show you mine if you show me yours / Won't you open up just a little more? / Tell me I'm not the only one feelin' vulnerable...
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
I hope / That the fire we both made / Still burns a little in you ... Still swimming in old lover's dream / Still playing on new movie screens.
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
I'm gonna keep this love if you let me / And if you're giving up, would you tell me?
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
They say the bigger the love, the harder the fall / Well, I'm crashing through the floor.
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
Let's give it time, you say / Maybe we'll find our way / But for now I just need some space / To separate the truth from how I feel for you.
Just because a relationship ends mutually and on good terms doesn't make it any easier to move forward. And when singer-songwriter Jacob Thompson earnestly asks, "What if I never find somebody better?" in the bridge, somehow it just hits different.
"West Coast Love" — Emotional Oranges
Jukebox on the black top ... After school, hooking up in your drop top ... Shooting fireworks in the sky / Oh, how the time goes by / Boy how you never left my mind / That's that West Coast love.
I can guarantee that this easy-breezy tune will immediately transport you back to your first summer love.
"Slow Fade" — Ruth B
Staring up at the ceiling / Do you feel what I'm feeling? / We were built like concrete / I used to know your heartbeat...
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
I want you for the worse and for the better / It's all you do but you don't realize / Yeah, I love you for you, babe / For all the things you can't change.
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?
We've got one more drive 'till I can't call you mine / So with your hand in mine / I'll drive a little slower...
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 we were younger?"
"Ready" — Sam Fischer
I hope that you're happy / I know that you can be / 'Cause no one's gonna love you like I'll love you if you let me.
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
Wide awake in bed / You still echo in my head / You're callin' me... We go back and forth / Like we don't have a choice.
Ever found yourself in an irresistible on-again off-again relationship? You'll feel this driving indie pop tune hard.
"Only You" — Parson James
When I'm feeling your love it's like a wind that blows / I can't give up and I can't let go / I won't give up, I won't lose / When I'm broken down and I'm bruised / I'm gonna get myself back home to you.
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."