The Most Popular Love Songs in 2021, Ranked

Whether you’re a smitten kitten in a happy relationship or just living vicariously through Taylor Swift’s romances, we can all admit to seeking out that euphoric feeling of love via music. From the old-fashioned songs of generations past to the modern-day love songs that dominate the top 40 and social media, there’s something unique about the way a good love song makes you feel.

At Shane Co., we have a soft spot for love and the music that goes along with it. So, we began to wonder: What are the most popular love songs for when you’re falling for someone? We turned to Spotify and Google Trends to find out.

Methodology

We found the most popular love songs by using Spotify’s Playlist Miner. The Playlist Miner aggregates the top tracks from the most popular public playlists on Spotify that match certain search criteria. Our search term for this campaign was “love songs.” We entered the term “love songs” and Spotify found the tracks that have appeared most frequently on love song playlists. We then replicated this process for the search term “classic love songs” to find the oldies/classic love songs that appeared most frequently on love song playlists.

After finding the top 50 modern love songs and the top 50 classic love songs using the methods above, we found the Spotify popularity score and the number of Spotify streams for each song. Spotify’s popularity score is based on the total number of plays a track has and how recent those plays are. Artist popularity and album popularity are also factored into the score.

From there, we analyzed Google Trends search data of Spotify’s top 50 modern and classic love songs over the past 12 months to uncover the most popular modern and classic love songs in each state. Lastly, we scraped the lyrics of the top 100 love songs to find the most commonly used words in these popular tunes.

Read on to see if your favorite love track made the list!

The 20 Most Popular Modern Love Songs

A chart listing the top 20 modern love songs according to Spotify streams

To no surprise, Ed Sheeran, the red-headed icon himself, dominated the charts with his romantic hits. With over 2.8 billion streams, “Shape of You” ranked at the top of the list. A total of four Ed Sheeran songs not only made our list but placed in the top seven modern love songs: “Shape of You” (#1), “Thinking Out Loud” (#4), “Perfect” (#6), and “Photograph” (#7). Of those four, “Perfect” had the highest Spotify popularity score of 81. 

Of course, non-Sheeran songs also scored high on our list. The Chainsmokers and Halsey secured the spot for the second-most-popular modern love song, “Closer,” at over 2 billion streams on Spotify. “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi followed closely behind, earning 1.9 million Spotify streams. 

To our delight, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s show-stopping duet, “Shallow,” made the top 10. John Legend and Bruno Mars were other household names landing in the top 20.  

The 20 Most Popular Classic Love Songs

A chart listing the top 20 classic love songs according to Spotify streams

No love song analysis would be complete without including the classics. Whitney Houston is the only artist to place in the top 20 most streamed classic love songs more than once. The eternal staple party song, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” took first place in the rankings at 655 million streams. Whitney Houston’s famous power ballad, “I Will Always Love You,” also made the list, ranking eighth with nearly 400 million streams. 

The Temptations song “My Girl” captured the hearts of women across generations, with over 500 million Spotify streams to date. I mean, who doesn’t love pretending a song is written for them? This classic secured the number two spot in the ranking at nearly 505 million streams. The king of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley, followed closely behind with classic love song number three, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Rounding out the top five classic love songs are Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” and “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac. 

The Top-Searched Modern-Day Love Song in Every State

A U.S. map illustrating the most popular modern love song in each state

Next, we decided to look at which top songs lovebirds in each state are Googling the most. Using Google Trends, we identified the top-searched modern love song in each U.S. state over the past year. 

Again, Ed Sheeran makes a strong showing. His sweet song “Thinking Out Loud” is most searched in three states, and a go-to first-dance song for freshly wed couples. Love tunes by Harry Styles, BTS, Justin Bieber, and Florence + the Machine are also sprinkled across the map. 

The Top-Searched Classic Love Song in Every State

A U.S. map illustrating the most popular classic love song in each state

Using Google Trends, we also identified the top-searched classic or “oldies” love songs in each U.S. state. George Michael’s “Careless Whisper,” Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” and Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer” were all the top-searched song in three states. The rock ‘n’ roll band with horns, Chicago, also made their mark on this map. Their hit song “If You Leave Me Now” is the top-searched song in Massachusetts and West Virginia, while “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” is the top-searched song in Iowa. 

The Most Common Words Found in Top-Ranked Love Songs

A word cloud graphic showing the most common words found in love song lyrics

Lastly, we took a look into what exactly goes into a love song. More specifically, we uncovered the most commonly used words in the Top 100 Love Songs on Spotify. To no surprise, the word “love” dominated this lyric scrape. Terms of endearment also sprinkled our findings, like “baby,” “beautiful,” and “darling.” We also found high numbers of words that describe desire, like “now,” “want,” “forever,” “need,” and “always.”
That wraps up our ultimate love song analysis. We hope these findings inspire you to create your own “feel-good” love song playlists. Perhaps you have Whitney Houston on repeat and are ready to start ring shopping? Shop our collection of beautiful engagement rings, or show yourself some love with our personalized jewelry!

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