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40. Seal, "Kiss From A Rose" (1994)
Sweeping. Epic. Overblown, perhaps; or maybe you're just intimidated by its grandeur. This is what Led Zeppelin would have recorded if they survived into the '90s and abruptly switched to making R&B. "Kiss From A Rose" still gives me chills, no matter how many times I've drunkenly yelled that "Bay-bay!" — A.H.
Listen: Seal, "Kiss From A Rose"
39. Elton John, "Your Song" (1970)
Many love songs are so over-the-top that the words lose meaning. "Your Song" is a ballad for the ordinary man or woman who can't promise the world to the one they love. Instead of saying what he will do, Elton expresses — with an honest yearning in his voice — what he would do if he could. Instead of buying big houses or painting a masterpiece, all he can do is try his best to make a simple love song. It turns out to be a pretty good one. — Confusion, of Pigeons and Planes
Listen: Elton John, "Your Song"
38. Bright Eyes, "First Day Of My Life" (2005)
Conor Oberst has an instantly recognizable voice. It quivers like Eddie Vedder's, but without that deep, throaty confidence; for some, it's too fragile, too "emo," and too weak. But paired with the simple melody and honest lyrics of "First Day Of My Life," that voice works perfectly. — Confusion, of Pigeons and Planes
Listen: Bright Eyes, "First Day Of My Life"
37. Rufus & Chaka Khan, "Ain't Nobody" (1983)
"Ain't Nobody" is contagious; the song's repeating synthesizer loop gets trapped in your head for days and you can't help but groove. Chaka's voice is an insurmountable force, soaring above the bassline. The song is impassioned and just a little dirty; that feeling of danger makes it unforgettable. — C.M.
Listen: Rufus & Chaka Khan, "Ain't Nobody"
36. Michael Jackson, "The Way You Make Me Feel" (1987)
Michael Jackson's voice lent his every performance just a hint of desperation. But the joy he brings to "The Way You Make Me Feel" is almost pure. Even when he's spouting gibberish like "Acha-hoo" and "Chika chika chika," it sounds like he's speaking in tongues out of sheer glee. — A.H.
Listen: Michael Jackson, "The Way You Make Me Feel"
35. Earth, Wind & Fire, "September" (1978)
Funk music can be so busy and buoyant that tender emotion sometimes gets subsumed by groove. (After all, I generally don't think of my booty as my center of love.) But "September" nails both: it's sweetly nostalgic, adorably wholesome, and irresistibly funky. — A.H.
Listen: Earth, Wind & Fire, "September"
34. Tina Turner, "River Deep, Mountain High" (1966)
If there were a moral to this song, it'd be "love conquers all." Given what we know about Ike and Tina's marriage, maybe love doesn't actually conquer all, but "River Deep, Mountain High" almost makes you believe it. — Delia Pless
Listen: Tina Turner, "River Deep, Mountain High"
33. U2, "With or Without You" (1988)
In this ambiguous classic, Bono has got it bad. Even twenty plus years later, "With or Without You" remains of U2's most impassioned, emotionally resonant songs to date — that howl he lets out has to stir you, even if you think U2 is a little much. — K.H.
Listen: U2, "With or Without You"
32. Elvis Presley, "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" (1961)
"Take my hand / Take my whole life, too" — what two-line entreaty packs more of the selflessness and devotion of true love than that? But there's trepidation here as well: the very human fear of being consumed by something so wonderful and inevitable. And Elvis's performance is gold. — A.H.
Listen: Elvis Presley, "Can't Help Falling in Love With You"
31. Percy Sledge, "When A Man Loves A Woman" (1966)
Lyrically, "When a Man Loves a Woman" covers the full range of sentiments about love and the human condition, in just under three minutes. Love hurts. Only love can break your heart. It's a thin line between love and hate. Love stinks. Love is like a heatwave. Love is like oxygen. My world is empty without you. Love to love you baby. When you look in the dictionary under "L" for love song, Sledge's timeless classic ballad could be the only definition. — Bruce Warren, of WXPN
Listen: Percy Sledge, "When A Man Loves A Woman"