Love is one of the most powerful emotions one can experience, especially if they have someone to share it with. Music is one of the best ways people express how they feel better than they can describe. However, some have found themselves at crossroads when sharing or expressing their love, hence the term forbidden love.
There are several songs about forbidden love lyrics dedicated to people who have experienced forbidden love where their relationships are restricted or limited, despite being mutual.
One of the most famous stories of forbidden love is that of Romeo and Juliet, written by Shakespeare. The story talks about the challenges, secrets shared, and the emotional strain lovers who cant be together experience. Below are some of the best songs about forbidden love.
Best Songs About Forbidden Love
“Treat You Better” – Shawn Mendes
Treat you Better by Shawn Mendes is one of the most popular pop songs to top charts around the world in 2016. The song is considered a forbidden love song as it talks about the narrator’s love for someone’s girlfriend. In the lyrics, the narrator promises the girl a better life if she leaves her man for him. Treat You Better is a good fit since it describes many secret relationships today where a person is in love with someone else’s partner.
“Rewrite The Stars” – Zac Efron ft. Zendaya
Zac Efron and Zendaya grace the stage with one of the best songs about Forbidden love. Their song, Rewrite The Stars, describes the love that can never be between a poor black acrobat and a wealthy white playwright. The two share an intense love, but their social divides don’t allow them to be together since the playwright is from a rich background.
Their love faces numerous challenges, including the girl receiving insults from the boy’s family due to her lowly status. Tired of the insults, she chooses to run away, but her lover follows suit and tries to convince her to rewrite their destiny and change their future.
“Confessions” – Usher
Usher is one of the most famous R n’ B musicians with a soulful voice. In his secret love song, Confession, the musician talks about a man’s confession to his girlfriend of his secret relationship. Usher takes listeners through the secret love affair the narrator had with his mistress, including how he impregnated her. After his confession, the man laments and shows regret for cheating on his woman and ruining their relationship. The song describes the forbidden relationship he had with his mistress that cost him his relationship.
“Breaking Up Somebody’s Home Tonight” – Ann Peebles
Breaking Up Somebody’s Home Tonight talks about the narrator’s feelings for another person’s partner. Normally when the weather is cold and gloomy, people find warmth and comfort in each other’s arms. However, in this case, the narrator is feeling lonely on a rainy night and is tempted to intrude in the relationship.
“Married But Not to Each Other” – Barbara Mandrell
Married But Not to Each Other is a popular hit song released in 1977 by Barbara Mandrell. The title of the song speaks volumes about forbidden love since a love between people who are married but not to each is not socially acceptable. The song features lyrics such as you are tied to her, and I’m tied to him, and we don’t want to hurt either one of them.
“If Loving you is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right” – Luther Ingram
Luther Ingram was a popular sensation that graced the stages in the 70s and 80s with beautiful R n’ B songs. The musicians released an R n’ B version of If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right that made it to the charts in 1972.
The song is centered on an unfaithful man who asks,” Am I wrong to fall so deeply in love with you, knowing I got a wife and two children depending on me too?” This line is self-explanatory as the man pursues a love he knows he can’t have, lest it costs him his family.
“Love Story” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift takes listeners through the story of popular star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet with a modern-day version of the story. Love Story, released in 2008, is a country music song that speaks of the forbidden love by Shakespeare where Juliet’s dad tells Romeo to stay away from his daughter. However, this sling has a twist from the original story as it has a happy ending for the two lovers who are able to overcome their challenges to grow their love.
“Me and Mrs. Jones” – Billy Paul
Me and Mrs. Jones is a popular 70s song by Billy Paul that talks about the forbidden love between the narrator and Mrs. Jones. Just as the title states, the song is about ‘me’ and Mrs. Jones, with the ‘me’ not referring to Mr. Jones. In the song, the narrator states that they need to be careful not to raise their hopes since each of them has their obligations. In simple terms, the narrator has feelings for a married woman, which is considered forbidden love.
“You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift sings about the forbidden love the narrator has for her best friend but is unable to pursue it since he has a girlfriend. However, she caves into her desires and tells her friend that she is the right girl for him. This a classic example of forbidden love as the narrator seeks to destroys another person’s relationship for her own desires. The title ‘You belong With Me’ speaks volume as listeners can see her entitlement.
“This Kiss” – Carly Rae Jepsen
This Kiss by Carly Rae Jepsen describes the forbidden love Carly shares with her lover when she cheats on her partners. In the song, listeners learn how Carly is ready to see him for the second time, only to capture his attention. However, Carly’s common sense kicks in when she states that they are taking their secret affair too far even though she can’t resist his kiss.
“Fools” – Lauren Aquilina
Aquilina writes about a friendship that develops into something more in this bittersweet love song. Finding herself falling for a close friend, she feels that their relationship could never be, because it might threaten the friendship that they both hold dear.
“I want you more than I’ve wanted anyone – isn’t that dangerous?” she sings. Although not expressly forbidden by anyone around them, Aquilina and her friend are holding themselves back from pursuing their relationship because of the hurt it might cause both of them.
“The Magician” – Jose Vanders
In this gentle piano ballad, Vanders sings about a difficult choice that she has to make between two lovers. She is with a man who will provide her with safety and security, but she doesn’t feel as passionately about him as she does about the man who “let her slip away”. She knows that she needs to focus on the relationship she has in front of her, but she can’t help from pining after the man she can never have and the love they once shared.
“Stacy’s Mom” – Fountains Of Wayne
In ‘Stacy’s Mom’, the protagonist finds himself falling for someone he definitely shouldn’t be: his girlfriend’s mother. He makes excuses to go to her house after school and do odd jobs, just to catch a glimpse of the older woman. “Stacy can’t you see you’re just not the girl for me,” sings Chris Collingwood. “I know it might be wrong but I’m in love with Stacy’s mom.”
The song was actually inspired by an even stranger situation. The band’s bassist, Adam Schlesinger, revealed that he partly wrote the song about friend who was attracted to Schlesinger’s grandmother.
“Friends” – Ed Sheeran
Sheeran realises that he and his friend are, in fact, not friends at all. Although he feels that they might have something special if they gave their relationship a shot, he eventually decides that the situation is too complicated to risk it. Torn, he ends the song by sadly telling the object of his affections that: “My friends will never love me like you.”
“i love you” – Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish can’t stand to hear someone tell her that they love her in this mournful track. She begs her partner to take it back, knowing that it’s far too risky an emotion for the both of them to feel and express. The fear that the words inspire in her keeps her up all night and her partner cries at the hopelessness of the situation.
It’s unclear whether this love is forbidden by outside forces or just by Eilish herself, because the feeling scares her. Either way, Eilish makes it clear that she can’t say the words, and that the two of them might have to part ways.
“She” – dodie
Dodie wrestles with her sexuality when she falls in love with a girl for the first time in this sweet coming-of-age ballad. “Am I allowed to look at her like that?” she questions. “Could it be wrong, when she’s just so nice to look at?” Knowing that her friend is straight, Dodie keeps her feelings to herself, resolving to never say a word for fear of the consequences. However, it quickly becomes clear that keeping this secret is harder than she anticipated.
Dodie first uploaded ‘She’ to her YouTube channel in 2014, when she was 19. It wasn’t until five years later that the song got a proper release, however, when it appeared on Dodie’s 2019 EP, Human.
“ghostin” – Ariana Grande
Grande does love the man she’s with – but that doesn’t erase the love she feels for her previous partner. In ‘ghostin’, she laments what she’s putting her partner through as she struggles to cut ties with her ex when he reaches out to her for help. “I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again over him,” she sings sadly.
She promises to her partner that they can move forward and get past this, but it’s clear that she still has one foot in the past, as she admits that she wishes her ex was there instead.
“Happy Song” – Alex The Astronaut
Alex struggles to move on in this upbeat track about the strange period after a relationship. As she goes out with her friends, she tries to just enjoy being at the bar and dancing to the music playing, but she keeps getting dragged back into conversations with her ex. As her friends call to her, she realises that although she still loves her ex, she has to try to get rid of those feelings because their relationship isn’t viable.
“Romeo And Juliet” – Dire Straits
This beautiful love song from Dire Straits takes inspiration from the original forbidden lovers, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Although the pair love each other, just like their namesakes they can’t find a way to be together. Although the timing was wrong and their relationship couldn’t carry on, Romeo knows for certain that he’ll always love his Juliet.
The Romeo and Juliet in question were actually Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler and Holly Vincent, leader of the band Holly and The Italians. After their breakup, Knopfler wrote the track and incorporated some real quotes given by both himself and Vincent.
“Peter Bogdanovich” – CMAT
This unconventional track about forbidden love from Irish singer-songwriter CMAT was inspired by the real life story of director and writer Peter Bogdanovich and his affair with Cybill Shepherd. CMAT writes from Shepherd’s perspective as she convinces Peter to end his marriage with his wife, Polly Platt. “I like you Peter,” she sings, as Shepherd. “I wish you were a wife leaver.”
“Back To You” – Selena Gomez
Gomez can’t let go of a past lover that she can’t have in this upbeat track. “I wanna hold you when I’m not supposed to, when I’m lying close to someone else,” she sings. Even knowing how badly their relationship ended and all the reasons she shouldn’t be with this person, she still knows that given the chance, she’d run straight back to him.
As stated before, love is beautiful and should be shared with a significant other. It’s also worth noting that forbidden love exists, and people are bound to find themselves in such situations. Songs about forbidden love can either motivate you to pursue the love or discourage you; the choice is yours.
Caitlin Devlin is a music, entertainment and lifestyle writer based in London. When she’s not creating playlists for Repeat Replay, she’s reviewing gigs and interviewing artists for Ticketmaster UK and thinking about what her Spotify Wrapped will look like this year.