Since the capitalist love festival of Valentine’s Day is today, it seems appropriate to put together a top ten list of punk rock love songs. Love and uncomplicated relationships is not a common theme in punk (and, to be fair, many of the songs that I’ve chosen are from pop punk bands, which are traditionally less serious in their choice of subject matter) but there were still quite a few tracks to sort through before settling on this final ten. I decided early on that I wouldn’t choose any ballads and that all the love songs on this list would be up-tempo songs that you can move around to. If you don’t have anyone to share this Valentine’s Day with, just remember that most of these songs can be sung to pizza too.
10. I Think I Love You by Less Than Jake
I know that Less Than Jake’s version of this song is just one of many covers, but LTJ’s sped-up version is the first one I ever heard and it stuck with me. It captures all of the nervous energy and anxiety that accompanies a new relationship and the fear that you may get hurt, but it’s also sweet and innocent in its apprehension.
Line that makes you go aww: “Do you think you love me? Yeah, I think I love you”.
9. Hot Air Balloon by The Lippies
The Lippies made it into my list of the top ten albums of 2016 and this is probably my favourite song from them. It’s catchy and great to singalong to, but it belongs on this list because it celebrates the safe space created by a loving relationship, which allows you to relax, be yourself, and escape the frustrations of the world ‘out there’. In this miniature world, you can forget everything and just be.
Line that makes you go aww: “No need to hide when it's only me and you”.
8. Best Friend by 7 Seconds
This is such a fun and heartfelt track that speaks to the importance of grounding long-term relationships in being both good friends and lovers. It’ll make you happy, it’ll make you wanna jive, and it’ll make you want to do something nice for your significant other, just because.
Line that makes you go aww: “Inspired by a love that never ends, I’m so that glad she is my best friend”.
7. Million Bucks by All
There were a number of Descendants songs that I considered for this list (including ‘Marriage’, ‘Silly Girl’ and ‘Nothing With You’) but it’s All’s ‘Million Bucks’ that ultimately made it. There are many things to like about this song: its straight-forward message of devotion, the rejection of a materialistic ideal for a personal and emotional ideal, and its glorious bass line. Play this on your boombox outside his/her window and you will be fishing, going to the movies, and camping together in no time.
Line that makes you go aww: “Everybody says they want a million bucks, but I’d rather just have a million days with you”.
6. Joy Comes With The Morning by Red City Radio
While ‘Electricity’ is also a great love song from RCR, I think this song (and this album) is ultimately better. I know this song is quite ballad-y in some ways, but it’s worth bending the rules for. By the time Garrett sings ‘You were my Ginger Rogers and I was your Fred Astaire’, you are completely invested in his yearning daydream.
Line that makes you go aww: “And I dream of you, you took the floor right underneath me and I never knew how to say that I want you in the worst way”.
5. What You Want/What You Got by The Unlovables
I was so happy to discover this fun and vivacious love-themed track from The Unlovables. The narrator of ‘What You Want/What You Got’ isn’t afraid to put herself out there and make the first move. Have a crush you want to ask out? Let this song be the confidence boost you need.
Line that makes you go aww: “Can’t you see how perfectly we were meant to be you and me?”
4. Spanish Reds by Banner Pilot
‘Spanish Reds’ doesn’t immediately strike you as a love song, until you take a moment to listen to the lyrics. This song is interesting in its choice to focus on the ways in which a loving relationship works in the drudgery of everyday life, which makes it feel more authentic and relatable. It’s also one of the stand-out tracks on the album ‘Heart Beats Pacific’, which is possibly the best (and definitely my favourite) album from Banner Pilot.
Line that makes you go aww: “I watch you fall asleep on a dead end street and the world is right somehow”.
3. 25 To Life by Masked Intruder
I don’t think a list of love songs would be complete without Masked Intruder. Green, Red, Yellow and Blue are very romantic, misunderstood criminals who just want the same things we all want: a steady life of crime and a steady girlfriend. Their 2016 e.p. was entitled ‘Love And Other Crimes’ but they have many great love-themed songs like ‘Heart-shaped Guitar’, ‘Crime Spree’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Tonight’. But, I think that ’25 To Life’ is their best love song, with their best pun.
Line that makes you go aww: “Tell me baby, will you be mine for 25 to life?”
2. Todayo by Teenage Bottlerocket
Numbers 1 and 2 on this list are the songs that immediately sprung to mind when I was faced with compiling a top ten punk rock love songs. They are they songs that make me swoon and think about my own happy and loving relationship. Not only is ‘Todayo’ a great song to sing along to, it serves as a reminder not to get bogged down by petty problems. The concept of ‘living in the moment’ has, perhaps, become a bit cliché – but I think it’s worth remembering.
Line that makes you go aww: “Let me know you and I are gonna live like we might die tomorrow”.
1. International You Day by No Use For A Name
Tony Sly was a great songwriter, and this track is excellent whether you go for the full-band version on ‘Hard Rock Bottom’ or the acoustic version Tony did on the split with Joey Cape. There are also some great covers (Joey Cape’s among them, and I quite like the one by Thomas Oliver). ‘International You Day’ is simple, pure, and cuts right to the heart. If you’re making a mix tape for someone this Valentine’s, this classic should really be on it.
Line that makes you go aww: “You see, one million words can’t describe how it feels to know your love”.
A Very Pretty Song For A Very Special Young Lady Part 2 by The Ergs!
The Rock Show by Blink 182
I Want You To Want Me by Letters To Cleo
I Have A Date by The Vandals
Lovers Of Loving Love by The Aquabats
This top ten was written by Robyn Pierce.