The 25 Greatest Love Songs of the 2000s

Home is wherever we're with you.

Read this first! Bloggers, DJs, and critics helped us assemble this comprehensive list of great love songs. Before you tell us what we missed, a few notes. One, we excluded breakup songs and come-back-to-me songs and please-sleep-with-me songs. These are love songs — songs you could play to your current squeeze immediately after saying, "Steve/Miriam, this song explains my feelings for you, which may be nuanced but are ultimately positive," and not expect to sleep on the couch. Two, we limited it to one song per artist, with a couple of exceptions, like The Beatles, because they're The Beatles. Lastly, come back next week for the best love songs of the '00s, and click here for the best love songs of the '60sthe best love songs of the '70sthe best love songs of the '80s, and the best love songs of the '90s. Okay, now you can tell us what we missed. Have fun! — The Nerve Editors

25. Coldplay, "Yellow" (2000)

Before you write your "Coldplay is on this list, argument is invalid!!1!" comment, just wait. I agree that Coldplay is safe, innocuous, and largely forgettable. But "Yellow," their first American single, is something different. The song is majestic and ethereal; the chords are shimmering, expanding, always on the brink of overwhelming you. Yet what really grabs me is the romance of the whole thing. It looks you in the face and says, "Yes. This is it. This is love, right here. I know it and it is spectacular." — Colette McIntyre


24. Avett Brothers, "January Wedding" (2009)

For all the hype that surrounded the Avett Brothers on their first ascent into the mainstream, they weren't really doing anything revolutionary: just gracing the bluegrass and folk sounds of their native North Carolina with plaintive, beautifully rendered melodies. "January Wedding" is as pure a love song as you could ever wish for: "True love is not the kind of thing you should turn down / Don't ever turn it down." — Alex Heigl

Listen: Avett Brothers, "January Wedding"


23. Corinne Bailey Rae, "Like a Star" (2006)

Corinne Bailey Rae knows her way around a love song. She may fight with her paramour, like, all the time, but she still finds it an honor to love someone whom she feels is "just like a star across my sky, just like an angel off the page." — Kristin Hunt

Listen: Corinne Bailey Rae, "Like a Star"


22. Justin Timberlake, "My Love" (2006)

Layering Justin Timberlake's Bee-Gee-grade falsetto with Timbaland's futuristic synthesizer chords, "My Love" certainly has a lot going on. Yet in its most essential form, it's a ballad — and a pretty charming one too. JT's love is humble and refreshingly cute, dreaming only of hand-holding and beach-walking. He may have brought sexy back, but he didn't forget to bring sweetness along for the ride.  C.M.

Listen: Justin Timberlake, "My Love"


21. AIR, "Playground Love" (2000)

Teens in lust are a common pop-song topic, but this haunting theme from The Virgin Suicides turns hormonal hot-bloodedness into cool, clear devotion. "Anytime, anywhere, you're my playground love," purrs Thomas Marz, years ahead of his wider fame with Phoenix. Blanketed by smooth, subtle horns, he sounds like he's swirling a brandy years later, reliving a moment of infatuation he's now certain was the truest love he'll ever know. — Jeff Klingman

Listen: AIR, "Playground Love"


20. White Stripes, "In the Cold Cold Night" (2003)

Although "In The Cold, Cold Night" doesn't sound like your typical love song, it does sound exactly like the type of love song Meg White would sing: simple, sexually charged, and kind of eerie. Perhaps it's her reputation for being a hermit that makes this straightforward declaration of love so uncanny. But strangely enough, her impassive delivery actually makes the song feel more passionate. — Maura Hehir

Listen: White Stripes, "In the Cold Cold Night"


19. Regina Spektor, "Us" (2004)

There are different interpretations of this song, but one feels particularly salient: it's about love. The lyric "they made a statue of us," coupled with the flooding of the piano and Spektor's proud, earnest vocals, speaks to a beautiful wish for permanence in love. And as for the melody, like Spektor says, "it's contagious." — M.H.

Listen: Regina Spektor, "Us"


18. Old 97's, "Question" (2001)

In simple terms, with perfectly chosen details ("She woke from a dream/ Her head was on fire/ Why was he so nervous?"), Rhett Miller sketches a man proposing to a woman. Then, the kicker, which must, must, tug on even the crankiest heart: "Maybe tonight, I've got a question for you." — Peter Smith

Listen: Old 97's, "Question"


17. Drake, "Best I Ever Had" (2009)

While most MCs come out the gate talking about their money, their gunshot wounds, or their sexual prowess, Drake's debut single distinguished the Canadian rapper from all the rest. He wasn't afraid to talk about his feelings or his lady. Sure, "Best I Ever Had" gets a little raunchy, but when Drake reaches the lines "Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin' with no makeup on/ That's when you're the prettiest, I hope that you don't take it wrong," you can bet that every girl listening squeals with delight.  C.M.

Listen: Drake, "Best I Ever Had"


Commentarium (128 Comments)

Nov 30 11 - 1:16am
Hipster Hustle

*cries happy tears* You put edward sharpe and the magnetic zeroes as the cover image. I love you Nerve!

Nov 30 11 - 1:28am

"Best I Ever Had"? Really?

Okay, you went out on a limb of sorts (i.e., not a ballad or even midtempo typical lovesong) with "Crazy in Love" and it paid off - it's an excellent song. "Best I Ever Had," though. I mean, Drake has made good music but this certainly doesn't belong on any "best of" lists - especially love songs of a decade.

Nov 30 11 - 5:17am

Dude that was totally me and someone's song one summer - winner

Feb 11 12 - 2:33pm

Best I Ever Had got dedicated to so many girlfriends from 2009 to 2010 guaranteed

Feb 14 12 - 10:23pm

It may have been dedicated but certainly some others should be in replaced, i can tell you that for sure.

Nov 30 11 - 1:45am

I think TV on the Radio deserved to be on this list. Maybe in place of Crazy in Love or My Love by J Lake. Crazy just doesn't have that grand, proclamation of love feel, and My Love has always sounded like a "fuck me" song. I think that Maps definitely deserves number one though.

Nov 30 11 - 3:04am

Agree with TV on the Radio. I would vote for Lover's Day, although to me, strictly speaking, it is a beautiful and amazing song about sex (perhaps the best ever) which may not qualify as a 'love song'.

Nov 30 11 - 3:52am

I'd vote for Things You Can Do. Even the way the music sounds reminds me of being in love.

Nov 30 11 - 4:12am

I would vote for Wolf Like Me. That's romance.

Nov 30 11 - 4:28am

I'd vote for either You or Will Do. Those songs make my heart melt. If a lover of mine ever played those for me... Oh man.

Nov 30 11 - 11:13am

"baby doll I recognize
you're a hideous thing inside"
oh yeah, that's romance.

Nov 30 11 - 1:50am

Home is wherecever i am with you

Nov 30 11 - 12:35pm

That is a bar/karaoke song.. also ruined by the NFL last season..

Nov 30 11 - 1:53am

Finally a music list that reflects the soulessness of it's generation: I love you Nerve!

Nov 30 11 - 3:38pm
Mean Mr. Mustard

My thoughts exactly.

Dec 01 11 - 1:47pm

On the other lists I knew all of the songs. On this one I didn't.

Nov 30 11 - 2:10am

#7 off of the "25 Greatest Love Songs of the 1960s" -- At Last
#7 off of the "25 Greatest Love Songs of the 2000s" -- Crazy in Love

I'm sure I will just be one of a hundred people bemoaning the state of music today, but seriously. Crazy in Love was a mediocre pop tune. I can't imagine any system that ranks it in the same league as At Last.

Jun 05 12 - 4:48am

Yes, Crazy in love was a pop tune and does not belong to love songs

Nov 30 11 - 2:44am

Why the bashing on Crazy In Love? your hipster hearts are hurting? it's an awesome song!

Nov 30 11 - 11:39pm

Probably because a love song has to have more than just the word 'love' in the title to qualify as a love song. As a minimum it should have a tempo slow enough for you to dance with your significant other in a romantic fashion. I pity anyone that has never slow-danced with that someone special, because once you have, you'd understand how sad this list really is.

Dec 01 11 - 4:50am

A whole bunch of these songs aren't slow-tempo though. I think "Crazy" does a great job of conveying how important one person becomes, and how everyone else fades into the background when You're in love.

Dec 01 11 - 8:08pm

I don't think a song has to be slow to be an intense expression of love (see many of the 60s list faster picks), but I agree that "Crazy in Love" should not be on this list. It's a fun, danceable song, but it's just that -- a dance song, and honestly a fairly forgettable one at that. Definitely doesn't conjure up lovey dovey feelings, just makes my wanna shake my booty.

Dec 10 11 - 9:25pm

I'm sorry, what? A love song isn't a love song unless it has a slow tempo? Wtf are you talking about? What does tempo have to do with the meaning of the song?

Nov 30 11 - 2:53am

Bonus fact: In the 'MAPS' music video, Karen O is actually crying, because the titular Angus was supposed to come to the film set to see her but didn't show.

Nov 30 11 - 2:54am

Including "Best I Ever Had" shows that whoever wrote this knows little about R&B/Hip-Hop.

Nov 30 11 - 5:48pm


Nov 30 11 - 3:13am

i love ben folds but the luckiest is my least favorite song of his. period.

also no death cab? : (

Nov 30 11 - 9:00am

Totally man, one of the worst Ben songs and death cab was my heart and soul of the 2000's!

Drake is still a guilty pleasure though......

Nov 30 11 - 3:21am

I know nothing about music, but I learned the same thing from every one of these lists: You can't please everybody (or, on Nerve, seemingly anybody).

Nov 30 11 - 3:29am
James Franco

I disapprove.

Nov 30 11 - 11:14am
Alex Heigl

That's it, Franco! No more coverage of your next ill-advised vanity project!

Nov 30 11 - 8:17pm


Nov 30 11 - 3:41am

You completely lost me by including No Doubt on this list. That song is a big steaming turd. You got me back with the top four. I might rearrange them, but they all deserve to be there.

Nov 30 11 - 9:04am

Second this.

Nov 30 11 - 1:29pm

Only thing wrong is the rap interlude.

Nov 30 11 - 9:02pm

No Doubt is on this list. Your arguement is invalid.

Dec 01 11 - 7:47pm

Your point makes no sense.

Nov 30 11 - 4:20am
Key songs missing


"Falling for the first time," Barenaked Ladies

"Home," Sheryl Crow

"I will follow you into the dark," Death Cab for Cutie.

Still, not a bad list.

Nov 30 11 - 5:22am

Agree with I'll Follow You. I forgot about that one!

Nov 30 11 - 9:09pm
Roy Lee Harwell

I hate deathcab with a passion I reserve for Jehovah's Witnesses after a Wednesday to Friday bender.

But "I Will Follow..." is a song of such brilliant lyrical economy that to deny it a place on this list is kinda retarded.

I wish I'd written it.

Dec 01 11 - 3:04pm

I think that there are so many songs by so many indie artists that could've gone on this list that they just forgot about a lot of them. It IS retarded that I'll Follow You Into the Dark isn't on here. REPRINT!

Dec 01 11 - 8:14pm

+1 for "Falling for the first time".

Nov 30 11 - 4:25am

Yay for putting The Luckiest by Ben Folds! I think it's one of his best songs to date! Amazing.

Nov 30 11 - 12:38pm

played by every person under 39 at the wedding..which I'm neither for or against...just sayin'

Nov 30 11 - 4:29am

And I would have mad "Home" number one. Jus saying

Nov 30 11 - 7:46am

Swap out Chasing Cars (which might as well be a Nickelback song for its lyrical quality) for Death Cab's Transatlanticism and you've got yourself a winner.

Nov 30 11 - 11:48am

Oh shit, I agree entirely. That whole album still breaks my heart.

Nov 30 11 - 9:11am

I would like to have seen some Damien Rice.

Dec 02 11 - 5:17am

a thousand times yes.

Dec 02 11 - 11:42am

I like this idea.

Dec 03 11 - 4:36pm

Blower's Daughter!

Dec 04 11 - 11:34pm


Nov 30 11 - 10:24am

Is that a picture of Ben Folds Five beside his SOLO album? You couldn't find a picture of Ben from around that album's release?

Also, Maps is a good choice. Hate the rest of the catalogue from that band, but that song rules

Nov 30 11 - 10:46am

...and I thought the '90's sucked....

Dec 03 11 - 1:07am

This is the worst compilation of "Best Of" songs I have ever seen/heard in my life! And I was a DJ for years!!!

Nov 30 11 - 10:51am

What about I'll Believe in Anything by Wolf Parade?

Dec 01 11 - 4:08pm

agreed times infinity.

Dec 01 11 - 7:23pm

what a fuckin' song.

Nov 30 11 - 11:37am

So many good picks, particularly the Avett Bros., Regina Spektor and The Swell Season. My favorite list thus far!

Nov 30 11 - 11:53am

Prototype by Andre 3000 needed to be on this list!

Nov 30 11 - 12:04pm


Nov 30 11 - 11:56am

A few "huh?" choices on there ("Underneath it All"? Really? And I don't even hate No Doubt.) but this is a pretty excellent list. Old 97s' "Question" and Avett Brothers' "January Wedding" are two of my absolute favorites. Looking forward to listening to this entire list today... and probably every day for a while.

Nov 30 11 - 12:23pm

I have one problem with this list... Ray Lamontagne's 'Hold you in my arms' isn't on it.

Dec 01 11 - 4:21pm
I disagree

Really? He's a modern-day Jose Feliciano

Nov 30 11 - 12:27pm
Rutherford B. Hayes

This is a solid list. The 90's list I disagreed with, but this one I am largely behind. Go forth, Internet! You have pleased me!

Nov 30 11 - 12:37pm
Could be wrong but

"Summertime Clothes" is the perfect description of a certain stage of love, isn't it?

Nov 30 11 - 12:40pm

I do have to list of this entire series dispite a few questionable ones.

Nov 30 11 - 12:43pm

Summer Skin by Death Cab and Try Again by Keane should both be on this, otherwise a solid list.

Nov 30 11 - 12:47pm

Amazing call with January Wedding. I love that song. I love singing that song, listening to it, playing it. Girls dream of songs like that being written for them.

Nov 30 11 - 1:02pm

Where is ANY John Legend song?

Nov 30 11 - 1:06pm

Ooh good call.

Nov 30 11 - 1:07pm

"The Luckiest" is my sister's and her husband's wedding song.

Nov 30 11 - 1:23pm

And am I the only one who thinks Regina Spektor sounds like a more annoying Tori Amos? I mean c'mon!

Nov 30 11 - 1:52pm

I don't usually, but I just listened to that song for the first time and thought she sounded like someone gave Ray Romano a heavy dose of estrogen.

Nov 30 11 - 2:56pm

I don't think she sounds 'annoying' at all. I find her music to be refreshing considering most artists nowadays rely on auto-tune.

Nov 30 11 - 1:42pm

I do like the list but I'll follow you into the dark is a love song that still makes me cry because its sooo perfect! Great call with Maps being number one.....other love song that makes me cry everytime i hear it. :)

Nov 30 11 - 3:13pm

I can agree with most of this, except for Ben Folds. That guy is awful. Just awful.

Nov 30 11 - 3:19pm

So typical reading the customary "Coldplay sucks. . . buuuuut" prelude, of course Yellow belongs on this list. Or Green Eyes. Or The Scientist.

Nov 30 11 - 3:41pm

Weird Fishes by Radiohead.

Nov 30 11 - 6:25pm
Alex Heigl

We wanted to put a Radiohead song on here so badly, but all their songs are just so unhappy: "Weird Fishes" has "Yeah, everybody leaves if they get the chance / and this is my chance." Even "All I Need" is just plain dark. Believe me, we tried.

Nov 30 11 - 6:38pm

Haha. . .beyond the cliche idiocy of trying to put a Radiohead song on for the sake of Radiohead, you're showing a shallow view of Radiohead's discography. Jigsaw Falling into Place has more heart than half of this list. High and Dry is the obvious choice. But, um. . .Exit Music for a Film? "Believe me, we tried." Damn. Everything about this post is why music journalism is a joke.

Nov 30 11 - 9:06pm
Roy Lee Harwell

Uh, "House of Cards" of off in Rainbows anyone?

If that's not white people freak music, then, well, I suppose I just don't know white people.

Nov 30 11 - 11:33pm

House of Cards. Nailed it. "I don't wanna be your friend/I just wanna be your lover"...Christ's sake, it's written out for you.

Dec 07 11 - 3:07am

Rob wins. Music journalism is in a terrible state these days and that post is an excellent example.

Dec 07 11 - 11:55am

God, Radiohead fans are about as whiny as Thom Yorke. Bitch bitch bitch.

Dec 10 11 - 9:31pm

House of Cards is a "trying to get with you" song, not a song about two people who are together.

Dec 16 11 - 1:40am
Roy Lee Harwell

What's the fucking difference?

Jan 31 12 - 4:02pm

True Love Waits would have been good for a Radiohead song.

Nov 30 11 - 4:54pm

oh snow patrol...those lyrics (in facts loads of their lyrics) just get to me. They take a normal thought and make it so beautiful

Nov 30 11 - 8:32pm

Sharon Van Etten - For You. Go ahead and edit your list, you'll thank me later.

Nov 30 11 - 8:34pm

Also could have added about a dozen Stars songs, but I recommend My Favourite Book. Geek love song Bliss.

Nov 30 11 - 8:37pm
Needs More

Ne-yo. 'So Sick' is a song that definitely deserves a spot.

Dec 01 11 - 8:18pm

Love "Miss Independent" too. He is clearly worshiping his lady, singing about all the reasons "that's why I love her" which have to do with every aspect of his lover.

Dec 02 11 - 1:28pm

Love Ne-Yo. "So Sick" is a breakup song, so it doesn't qualify for this list, but "Miss Independent" has such an awesome message.

Nov 30 11 - 9:06pm

what about snow patrol's "just say yes" and "ordinary people" by John Legend? This feels like this list had way too much hipster influence in it.

Dec 01 11 - 1:44am
The Philosopher

Yeah! Maps at #1!

Dec 01 11 - 3:21pm
Jacaranda Chick

No John Legend, "Ordinary People" was a beautiful take on the vagaries of love. Well how about Amy Winehouse then, "Tears Dry On Their Own" or "You Sent Me Flying"?

Dec 01 11 - 4:15pm
Too Wholesome

I just listened to all these songs and for some reason my skin became whiter and my teeth became brighter.

Dec 01 11 - 5:46pm

For once I actually agree with the number 1 song. Though, "First Day of My Life" could have been number 1 in my opinion, I miss the girl who turned me on to Bright Eyes...

Dec 01 11 - 7:41pm

How come there are absolutely no Plain White T's songs on this list? What about Colbie Callait? Jason Mraz? I think you left of many that are WAY better than most of the songs on this list.

Dec 01 11 - 8:20pm

I don't have any major quibbles with this list. I would strike the No Doubt and Drake selections, and replace them respectively with Colbie Callait (yes, probably "Bubbly") and "Love Song" by 311.

Dec 02 11 - 1:26pm

Yes! I had Colbie's "The Little Things" on repeat when I started falling for my current boyfriend. "The little things you do to me are / Taking me over, I wanna show you / Everything inside of me / Like a nervous heart that is crazy beating..."

Dec 02 11 - 2:12pm

Plain White T's and Jason Mraz are just plain awful. That "Hey There Delilah" made me want to stab people

Dec 01 11 - 8:05pm

Nickelback "Figured You OUt" is on my top 10 list due to its' honesty, both looking out and looking in. Yes? Discuss....

Dec 02 11 - 2:51am


Dec 02 11 - 1:22pm


Dec 03 11 - 4:37pm

Nickelback should not be on the top list of anything. Except for worst hair on a lead singer.

Dec 01 11 - 11:09pm

I'm just so happy they had Regina Spektor.

Dec 02 11 - 12:14am

I know everyone's blasting Drake on this list....but I have to admit, the music video is pure hilarious, genius.

Dec 02 11 - 1:37am

Talib Kweli 'Never Been in Love Before' nuff said

Dec 02 11 - 11:12am

Where's Elbow? Nothing expresses that helpless, breathless, head-over-heels, loss of self better than some of the songs on The Seldom Seen Kid.

Dec 10 11 - 9:34pm

Seconded. Starlings is beautiful.

Dec 02 11 - 11:28am

I'd have to say that "Know By Heart" by American Analog Set perfectly encapsulates love-as-rapt-attention, which is how I experience it, and it does it all in about eight lines.

Dec 02 11 - 11:34pm

Other than the Drake, Jay-Z and Beyonce nods, which seem to be there just to include R&B and hip-hop (no Musiq Soulchild?), this is a really solid list. I'm feeling blissfully nostalgic right now...

Dec 04 11 - 9:32pm

"Oh, It Is Love" by Hellogoodbye is still my favourite. Oh, and "Beautiful" by Danny Michel. Swoon!

Dec 05 11 - 3:10am

Hey There Delilah, I'll Follow You Into the Dark, and Anyone Else But You. These were pretty darn popular and simple love songs that shouldn't have been overlooked.

Dec 05 11 - 10:24pm

Oh man I love Justin Timberlakes song "My Love" especially the breakdown - I play the tune over and over. dano

Dec 06 11 - 8:08am

so sad i only know a few of them others i don't like why are like a rose-a1, this i promise you-n-sync and lay my love on you and many other great songs not there!!

Dec 07 11 - 3:17am

I don't get this list. No Doubt? Are you you serious? That song is pure mediocrity - lyrically and musically. Also, if you've got boring songs like the Avett Brothers on this list just to show your folk/bluegrass/country cred, where was Allison Krauss' superb "When You Say Nothing At All" on the '80s list? I would agree with all of the people wondering where the Death Cab For Cutie is or Animal Collective. Sufjan Stevens' "Rake" is a poor choice. So is "The Luckiest." Justin Timberlake's "My Love" is hollow bullshit guys say to get you in bed and The White Stripes song feels like a forced choice. I maintain that "Designs on You" is a far better love song by the Old 97s, as is "Falling Slowly" by the Swell Season. Also, I think you made a typo in your Iron & Wine entry. I'm pretty sure you meant to type "Bon Iver 'Blood Bank'" instead.

Dec 07 11 - 1:09pm

Fade into You by Mazzy Star needed to be near the top.

Dec 07 11 - 4:41pm

It's near the top of the '90s list, because it came out in the '90s.

Feb 13 12 - 11:29pm

wow there are No country songs here..

Feb 23 12 - 12:58am

I'll take any chance I can get to crow about Agent Ribbons. I consider these to be love songs cause I'm totally in love with them:

"Birds and Bees":

"I Was Born to Sing Sad Songs":

"Buried With You":

"Bird in the Mirror":

"That's Not Edgar's Heart":

Mar 08 12 - 12:10pm

This list is worthless without Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits).

Mar 13 12 - 3:22am
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Mar 23 12 - 8:56pm

yo my music peps what is the song sung about 'gilfriends' around 2000 to 2005 ... well idk soooo HELP!!!!!

Jun 12 12 - 6:51pm
Captain Planet

how about "Yes" by Musiq Soulchild, which is a song from the 2000s, specifically 2011, and it is a beautiful love song, just hear the lyrics.

Aug 27 12 - 7:07pm

were the hell is i miss you by blink 182 or all the small things?