Few experiences in life can measure up to the emotional hurricane of developing a crush on a special someone in our lives, and there can be little doubt that musicians have tried to encapsulate this experience for hundreds of years.
But the following songs have succeeded in expressing those emotions where so many attempts have failed. These are the best songs about crushes.
Indeed, the musical pieces listed here truly convey what a crush feels like; at their best, moreover, these songs also show us why the initial stages of a relationship can really sweep us off our feet.
For music fans, listening to these songs can be a revelatory and even life-changing experience. Truly, that is music at its most transformative and meaningful!
1. ABBA, “Waterloo”
There can be little doubt that crushes overwhelm us with a flurry of new emotions in a way that few other experiences in life can.
The Swedish pop group ABBA were certainly skilled at describing this feeling in musical form: For example, the band’s breakout smash song “Waterloo” put them on the pop music map after it was performed to much acclaim at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
With clever lyrics and a gorgeous series of melodies to accompany it, the song likens the leveling effect of a crush to Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Most of us have felt the same way at some point in our lives!
2. The Bee Gees, “More Than a Woman”
Helming the smash hit “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, the Bee Gees were to reach the apex of their songwriting careers in 1977 with songs like “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”
But the group’s most heartfelt evocation of developing a new crush on someone remains the subdued ballad “More Than a Woman.” Rarely have the early stages of love been expressed so well or sounded so sweet.
3. Madonna, “Lucky Star”
Madonna has been a pop culture fixture for almost four decades now, but “Lucky Star” really placed the singer at the front of the global music stage when the song was released in 1983.
With poetic grace and a gift for metaphor, Madonna here likens the feeling of developing a crush on someone to the glow of a star. The tune also features memorable pop hooks and brilliant production from the deeply under-appreciated recording engineer Reggie Lucas.
4. Van Halen, “Love Walks In”
Having parted ways with band frontman David Lee Roth in 1985, Van Halen were keen to develop a new pop sound with Roth’s replacement Sammy Hagar in 1986.
The resulting collaboration would build on the band’s otherworldly musical skills and knack for writing pop hooks. “Love Walks In” is one of the group’s finest paeans to the feelings of falling in love with someone; with the skill and musicianship you would expect from Van Halen, the band perfectly encapsulates the moment when someone new walks into your life.
5. Van Morrison, “Sweet Thing”
A truly gorgeous song about falling for someone special, “Sweet Thing” is undoubtedly the highlight of Van Morrison’s career-transforming 1968 folk-jazz masterwork “Astral Weeks.”
The song’s evocations of the early stages of love are almost unparalleled in the pop music world; at his best, “Van the Man” undoubtedly has a unique gift for lending a sense of serene pastoral beauty to the most tender of love songs.
But he arguably never topped the songwriting masterclass that is “Sweet Thing” again. For music fans and lovers alike, listening to this song is a must.
6. Kate Bush, “Hounds of Love”
When we feel the rush of emotions that usually accompanies the development of a new crush, the results can be both confusing and deeply moving. From the outset of her 1985 hit song “Hounds of Love,” it is clear that Kate Bush feels overwhelmed by the feelings she is experiencing towards the object of her affections.
But the songwriter also feels the need to keep moving forward in life and to embrace her new relationship with gusto. Accompanied by lush orchestrations and astoundingly clever arrangements, pop music descriptions of crushes don’t get much better than “Hounds of Love.”
7. Nick Drake, “Place to Be”
As a songwriter, Nick Drake always wore his heart on his sleeve; fifty years on, his music still sounds almost overwhelming in its sincerity. And as one of Nick Drake’s finest songs, “Place to Be” expresses the feeling of developing a crush in a palpable way.
Accompanied only by his own spare acoustic guitar playing, the gifted songwriter sings that “Now I’m weaker than the palest blue/Oh, so weak in this need for you.” In the throes of a crush, we can often feel pained at the thought that we may be rejected by the object of our affections.
As a songwriter, Nick Drake both understood this fact and was able to put this confusing series of emotions into a musical context.
8. The Cure, “Friday I’m in Love”
Undoubtedly, few songs capture the rush that we feel when we’ve first developed a crush quite like The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.” The Cure have always been adept at creating dark soundscapes and eerie atmospheres, but “Friday I’m in Love” practically glows with optimism and the sense of a brighter tomorrow.
By any standard, the song is a wonderful testament to the joys that accompany the development of a new love interest. It is little wonder that the band remains one of the most influential and respected acts in pop music history.
9. Lady Gaga, “Paparazzi”
Likening the brilliant feeling of falling in love to the flashing of lights from paparazzi cameras, Lady Gaga’s biggest tune from 2008 captures the excitement of a crush like no other song from that era.
In addition to containing some of the singer’s best arrangements, the song displays Lady Gaga’s ability to write compelling and humorous lyrics. As songs about crushes go, “Paparazzi” is a real standout on all levels and is a songwriting tour de force to boot.
10. Berlin, “Take My Breath Away
One of the biggest hits from the immensely popular “Top Gun” soundtrack, “Take My Breath Away” remains a touching song about the emotional lift present in the early stages of a new crush.
Featuring the sterling electronic production of legendary Italian musician Giorgio Moroder, “Take My Breath Away” remains a masterclass in pop songwriting; nearly 35 years on, the song is still a fixture on radio stations across the globe.