100 Best Alternative Rock Love Songs

Updated on January 22, 2020
Ansel Pereira profile image

I have been an online writer for over four years. I am passionate about books, philosophy, music, and the music industry.

These love songs are perfect for a romantic get-together.
These love songs are perfect for a romantic get-together. | Source

The independent music scene of the ‘70s helped propel alternative music to new heights. While the word "alternative" refers to a brand of music that distances itself from mainstream culture, over the years, the genre has developed a popular subculture. While the ‘70s laid the groundwork for alternative music, it was the ‘80s that garnered attention for new wave acts associated with the genre. A number of new wave bands in the ‘80s paved the way for the alternative revolution of the ‘90s.

The list below showcases an epic number of alternative love songs. If you are a true fan of alternative music, you will definitely have something to say. Feel free to share your views and opinions in the comments section.

Top 10 Best Alternative Rock Love Songs

  1. “Fix You”—Coldplay
  2. “Maps”—Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  3. “You and Me Song”—The Wannadies
  4. “First Day of My Life”—Bright Eyes
  5. “You’ve Got the Love”—Florence and the Machine
  6. “Ho Hey”—The Lumineers
  7. “Don’t Delete the Kisses”—Wolf Alice
  8. “You and Me”—Lifehouse
  9. “Say Yes”—Elliot Smith
  10. “Your Guardian Angel”—The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

What Is Alternative Rock?

Alternative rock is used as an umbrella term to describe acts that emerged from the underground music scene throughout the '80s, '90s, and '00s. The alternative rock sound is rather diverse. Over the years, alternative music has blended a number of genres together in order to make unique and distinct arrangements, pushing rock music to new heights.

Alternative love songs often find beauty in the gloomy.
Alternative love songs often find beauty in the gloomy. | Source

Best Alternative Rock Love Songs #11—20

11. “Lovesong”—The Cure

12. “Fell in Love With a Girl”—The White Stripes

13. “Alive With the Glory of Love”—Say Anything

14. “The Scientist”—Coldplay

15. “Nothing Compares 2 U”—Sinead O’ Connor

16. “Wonderwall”—Oasis

17. “I Could Not Ask for More”—Edwin McCain

18. “Lovefool”—The Cardigans

19. “Wherever You Will Go”—The Calling

20. “I Will Possess Your Heart”—Death Cab For Cutie

What Makes Alternative Rock Love Songs Special?

The emotional intensity and melancholic feelings expressed in alternative rock ballads have struck the right notes with listeners from non-rock genres. Alternative love songs often feature simple instrumentation with brutally honest lyrics. Several alternative subgenres have adopted confessional lyrical themes that narrate stories about different aspects of relationships.

It’s not surprising that a number of people are picking alternative love songs to play at their weddings. These songs often have profound lyrics that tell beautiful and emotional tales of love. The thought-provoking questions posed in these lyrics (backed with melancholic instrumentation) truly engage listeners. The raw honesty that's present in these lyrics are what make them so incredible.

Alternative love songs are often played at coffee shops and thrift stores.
Alternative love songs are often played at coffee shops and thrift stores. | Source

Best Alternative Rock Love Songs #21—40

21. “Falling Slowly”—Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

22. “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)”—Vertical Horizon

23. “The Luckiest”—Ben Folds

24. “Such Great Heights”—The Postal Service

25. “Baby Blue”—Little Birdy

26. “I Would Do Anything for You”—Foster the People

27. “Chasing Cars—Snow Patrol

28. “Kiss Me”—Sixpence None the Richer

29. “Stubborn Love”—The Lumineers

30. “Skinny Love”—Bon Iver

31. “For Lovers”—Wolfman featuring Pete Doherty

32. “No One’s Gonna Love You”—Bad of Horses

33. “Only Love”—Ben Howard

34. “Home”—Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

35. “Seasons (Waiting on You)”—Future Islands

36. “Far Away”—Nickelback

37. “Toothpaste Kisses”—The Maccabees

38. “For You”—Sharon Van Etten

39. “Love Steal Us From Loneliness”—Idlewild

40. “Sea of Love”—Cat Power

Alternative Rock in the ‘80s

Alternative music really took off in the '80s. While only a few bands were signed by major record labels, a large number of bands released their albums at concerts or through independent record labels. A few alternative love songs became some of the biggest hits of the decade. While acts in the U.S. focused on experimental synth-oriented sounds with a rock structure, a number of British alternative bands adopted a pop-oriented sound that had a great deal of chart success in both in the U.S. and U.K. This new wave of rock bands dominated the alternative scene with their trademark synth riffs and danceable rock grooves. In the late ‘80s, a new brigade of alternative bands laid the groundwork for the grunge subgenre.

Alternative love songs are enjoyed by many people from many different cultures.
Alternative love songs are enjoyed by many people from many different cultures. | Source

Best Alternative Rock Love Songs #41—60

41. “I Found You”—Alabama Shakes

42. “Ten Storey Love Song”—The Stone Roses

43. “Ask”—The Smiths

44. “I Promise”—Radiohead

45. “All About Your Heart”—Mindy Gledhill

46. “This Modern Love”—Bloc Party

47. “Slide Away”—Oasis

48. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”—The Smiths

49. “Two Weeks”—Grizzly Bear

50. “Sweet Disposition”—The Temper Trap

51. “The Bones of You”—Elbow

52. “Something Changed”—Pulp

53. “You’re the One”—The Black Keys

54. “Somewhere Only We Know”—Keane

55. “Wild Love”—James Bay

56. “Awake”—Secondhand Serenade

57. “Yellow”—Coldplay

58. “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)”—Talking Heads

59. “Love Will Tear Us Apart”—Joy Division

60. “Luna”—The Smashing Pumpkins

Alternative Rock in the ‘90s

Alternative rock dominated the airwaves throughout the '90s. Grunge, which emerged from the alternative scene, became the breakout genre of the decade. The immense popularity of grunge helped a new breed of alternative rock bands achieve mainstream success. Suddenly, major record labels started signing recording contracts with upcoming bands. Furthermore, a number of alternative bands started getting airplay on radio stations and music television channels. The alternative subculture exploded during the '90s and would only continue to grow.

Alternative rock music has a longstanding culture of DIY.
Alternative rock music has a longstanding culture of DIY. | Source

Best Alternative Rock Love Songs #61—80

61. “To the End”—Blur

62. “Fall in Love”—Phantogram

63. “Grow Old With Me”—Tom Odell

64. “Anyone Else but You”—The Moldy Preachers

65. “Cosmic Love”—Florence and the Machine

66. “Sonnet”—The Verve

67. “Archie, Marry Me”—Always

68. “Loving Is Easy”—Rex Orange County featuring Benny Sings

69. “The Way I Am”—Ingrid Michaelson

70. “A Song for the Lovers”—Richard Ashcroft

71. “Linger”—The Cranberries

72. “Silent Sigh”—Badly Drawn Boy

73. “New Light”—John Mayer

74. “The Less I Know the Better”—Tame Impala

75. “English Rose”—The Jam

76. “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”—Sugar

77. “Somebody Else”—The 1975

78. “The Night We Met”—Lord Huron

79. “When You Sleep”—My Bloody Valentine

80. “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken”—Camera Obscura

Alternative Rock Post 2000

Post 2000, acts with a power-pop sound fused indie and post-punk influences into their music, achieving mainstream success in the music industry. Since 2010, many alternative bands have experimented with elements of hard rock, punk, electronic, indie, and hip-hop, creating new subgenres. Although the musical soundscapes have changed dramatically since 2010, alternative has stayed true to its core.

Alternative rock music has inspired fashion trends around the world.
Alternative rock music has inspired fashion trends around the world. | Source

Best Alternative Rock Love Songs #81—100

81. “Angels”—The xx

82. “Bluish”—Animal Collective

83. “Into My Arms”—Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

84. “Vapour Trail”—Ride

85. “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over”—Jeff Buckley

86. “Bloom”—The Paper Kites

87. “Love Love Love”—Of Monsters and Men

88. “Wish You Were Mine”—Masked Intruder

89. “5 Years Time”—Noah and the Whale

90. “Shades of Cool”—Lana Del Ray

91. “The Blowers Daughter”—Damien Rice

92. “Pink Bullets”—The Shins

93. “Crown of Love”—Arcade Fire

94. “Justapozed With U”—Super Furry Animals

95. “Candles”—Daughter

96. “Hood”—Perfume Genius

97. “All My Little Words”—The Magnetic Fields

98. “Landslide”—Oh Wonder

99. “Just Like Heaven”—The Cure

100. “Here Comes Your Man”—Pixies

Alternative rock music has been greatly influenced by genres like grunge and hard rock.
Alternative rock music has been greatly influenced by genres like grunge and hard rock. | Source

Other Notable Alternative Rock Love Songs

  • “Helocene—Bon Iver
  • “Clavicle”—Alkaline Trio
  • “Make It wit Chu”—Queens of the Stone Age
  • “Don’t Go Away”—Oasis
  • “January Wedding”—The Avett Brothers
  • “You Do Something to Me”—Paul Weller
  • “One Life Stand”—Hot Chip
  • “Home by Now”—Bombay Bicycle Club
  • “About Today”—The National
  • “You’re Gorgeous”—Babybird
  • “Special K”—Placebo
  • “Call It What You Want”—Foster the People
  • “I Melt With You”—Modern English
  • “Our Way to Fall”—Yo La Tengo
  • “I Wanna Be Adored”—The Stone Roses
  • “Queen Without a Crown”—Dan Millson
  • “Just Like Honey”—The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • “If You Ever Want to Be in Love”—James Bay
  • “The Wild Ones”—Suede
  • “Change Your Mind”—The Killers
  • “The Only Place”—Best Coast
  • “Drive”—Oh Wonder
  • “Tighten Up”—The Black Keys
  • “Cradles”—Sub Urban
  • “Katherine Kiss Me”—Franz Ferdinand

Punk rock has greatly influenced alternative rock music.
Punk rock has greatly influenced alternative rock music. | Source
  • “Hand in Glove”—The Smiths
  • “One Day Like This”—Elbow
  • “The Night”—Honne
  • “When We’re Dancing”—Twin Shadow
  • “All I Need”—Air
  • “Bridge of Bones”—Crystal Fighters
  • “Islands”—The xx
  • “Rooting for You”—London Grammar
  • “Something About Us”—Daft Punk
  • “Hand in Glove”—The Smiths
  • “Love Should”—Moby
  • “Empire”—Of Monsters and Men
  • “Young and Beautiful”—Lana Del Ray
  • “The Magic Position”—Patrick Wolf
  • “Northern Sky”—Nick Drake
  • “Pilgrims”—Johnny Lloyd
  • “Everything Goes My Way”—Metronomy
  • “Brighter Than Sunshine”—Aqualung
  • “I’ll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoe)”—Brian Eno
  • “Made-Up Lovesong #43”—Guillemots
  • “Love You Better”—Emma McGrath
  • “K.”—Cigarettes after Sex
  • “There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You”—Sylvan Esso
  • “Soul Meets Body”—Death Cab For Cutie
  • “Good Fortune”—PJ Harvey

  • “Breezeblocks”—alt-J
  • “Heartbeats”—The Knife
  • “Mess Is Mine”—Vance Joy
  • “Beach”—San Cisco
  • “Ion Square”—Bloc Party
  • “Lions in Cages”—Wolf Gang
  • “All the Pretty Girls”—Kaleo
  • “Seven Words”—Weyes Blood
  • “Young Love”—Mystery Jets featuring Laura Marling
  • “The Girl”—City and Colour
  • “Simple Song”—The Shins
  • “Tonguetied”—Grouplove
  • “Slow Show”—The National
  • “1983”—Neon Trees
  • “The Japanese House”—Lilo
  • “Alaska”—Maggie Rogers
  • “A Shot in the Arm”—Wilco
  • “You and I”—Ingrid Michaelson
  • “Ultralife”—Oh Wonder
  • “Cupid”—The Big Moon
  • “12:51”—The Strokes
  • “Teardrop”—Massive Attack
  • “Your Body Is a Weapon”—The Wombats
  • “My Heart Is An Apple”—Arcade Fire
  • “Songbird”—Oasis

  • “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”—Iron & Wine
  • “True Love Way”—Kings of Leon
  • “The Way You’d Love Her”—Mac DeMarco
  • “Warm Foothills—alt-J
  • “Dog Days Are Over”—Florence and the Machine
  • “Tugboat”—Galaxie 500
  • “Crossfire”—Brandon Flowers
  • “Lover of the Light”—Mumford & Sons
  • “When You Love Somebody”—Fruit Bats
  • “Cornerstone”—Arctic Monkeys
  • “This Everyday Life”—Speedstar
  • “Mountain to Move”—Nick Mulvey
  • “Pizza, New York Catcher”—Belle and Sebastian
  • “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear”—Blondie
  • “Ends of the Earth”—Lord Huron
  • “Won’t Let You Go”—Dope Lemon
  • “Take Care”—The Magic Gang featuring Jessie Ware
  • “Little Bit”—Lykke Li
  • “Whistle for the Choir”—The Fratellis
  • “I Can’t Help Myself”—Orange Juice
  • “Us”—Anna of the North
  • “Postcards From Italy”—Beirut
  • “True Love Will Find You in the End”—Daniel Johnson
  • “You Said Something”—PJ Harvey
  • “She Moves in Her Own Way”—The Kooks

Which Is the Best Alternative Rock Love Song?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Ansel Pereira

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