Updated date:

Best Unrequited Love Songs of All Time

Author:

Ray has been an online music writer for over two years. Having sung in multiple competitions as a youth, he has a passion for the art.

Unrequited Love Songs List

Unrequited Love Songs List

1. "You Belong With Me"

Artist: Taylor Swift

Genre: Country Pop, Pop

Year Released: 2008

Facts About "You Belong With Me"

  • "You Belong With Me" won the Favorite Song of the Year at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards.
  • The song received nominations for the Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards.
  • The song became a hit in multiple countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
  • Swift got the music's inspiration from an overheard phone conversation of her male friend and his girlfriend.
  • "You Belong With Me" is one of the best-selling singles globally, garnering 7x Platinum and charting on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The song won in multiple award-giving bodies like MTV Video Music Awards, SESAC Nashville Music Awards, BMI Pop Awards, and Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

2. "Bad Religion"

Artist: Frank Ocean

Genre: Pop, Contemporary Soul, Contemporary R&B

Year Released: 2012

Facts About “Bad Religion”

  • “Bad Religion” is a powerful and emotional ballad about unrequited love.
  • The song talks about Ocean’s experience on a one-sided relationship, loving someone who couldn’t love him back.
  • Waynne Nugent, Kevin Risto, Charlie Gambetta, Monte Neuble, and Frank Ocean are the writers of this love song.
  • Some of the notable covers of this song are those Bruno Major and Ramlons.

3. "Jar of Hearts"

Artist: Christina Perri

Genre: Pop, Folk

Year Released: 2010

Facts About “Jar of Hearts”

  • “Jar of Hearts” charted on multiple charts, reaching #17 on U.S. Singles Chart and #21 on Canadian Music Chart.
  • The song sold 47,500 copies worldwide in its first week.
  • The single peaked at #4 on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2011, making it the 11th best-selling single in the United Kingdom.
  • The song is about a personal experience of Christina Perri on wanting to rekindle a broken relationship.

4. "If"

Artist: Janet Jackson

Genre: R&B, New Jack Swing, Trip Hop, Industrial Rock, Hip Hop

Year Released: 1993

Facts About "If"

  • "If" won the Most Played Song Award at the BMI Pop Awards.
  • In 1990, the song ranked among Slant Magazine's Best Singles, an American online publication that features different multimedia platforms and artists.
  • "If" is a love song about a girl who goes to a club and daydreams about a particular guy.
  • The song narrates how obsessed the girl is with the man, but gets no chance to return the love.

5. "Everything You Want"

Artist: Vertical Horizon

Genre: Pop, Indie/Alternative

Year Released: 1999

Facts About “Everything You Want”

  • “Everything You Want” is an alternative indie song from Vertical Horizon.
  • To date, “Everything You Want” is the group’s most successful single ever.
  • The single peaked at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 2000, Billboard Adult Top 40, and received the Most Played Single Award at the Billboard Music Awards 2000.
  • “Everything You Want” is an unrequited love song about Scannell’s love experience about a girl. Scannell, the group’s lead vocalist, explained that the girl she’s in love with couldn’t accept the love he’s been wanting to give.

6. "Lover You Should've Come Over"

Artist: Jeff Buckley

Genre: Pop-Rock

Year Released: 1994

Facts About “Lover You Should’ve Come Over”

  • “Lover You Should’ve Come Over” is the seventh single from Buckley’s album Grace.
  • Buckley explained that he had drawn this track’s inspiration from his own love story with Rebecca Moore, an American musician, actress, and animal rights activist.
  • Some of the memorable covers of this song are Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, and Matt Corby.

7. "Waiting in Vain"

Artist: Bob Marley

Genre: Film Scores

Year Released: 1977

Facts About “Waiting in Vain”

  • “Waiting in Vain” is a song written and recorded by Bob Marley for his album Exodus.
  • The single hit the #20 spot on the U.K. Singles Chart.
  • Some of the hit cover songs of this song are that of Annie Lennox, John. B., Lee Ritenour, and the Jamaican singer Leroy Smart.

8. "I Can't Make You Love Me"

Artist: Bonnie Raitt

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Pop

Year Released: 1991

Facts About “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

  • “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is a song recorded by Bonnie Raitt and written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin for Raitt’s 11th album Luck of the Draw.
  • The single is one of the most successful singles of Raitt peaking at the highest 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and top 10 on the Adult Contemporary Category.
  • The song depicts a one-sided relationship that is about to end since there is no return of love.
  • The song peaked at #4 on the Canada RPM Adult Contemporary in 1991.

9. "Grenade"

Artist: Bruno Mars

Genre: R&B, Pop

Year Released: 2010

Facts About “Grenade”

  • “Grenade” is a heartbreaking pop R&B ballad written by The Smeezingtons and recorded by Bruno Mars for his debut studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans.
  • “Grenade” peaked at #1 in 15 different countries.
  • The single stayed at the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Hot 100.
  • Bruno Mars revealed that the song is about his unrequited love to a girl and was therapeutic to him.

10. "Just a Friend to You"

Artist: Meghan Trainor

Genre: Pop

Year Released: 2016

Facts About “Just a Friend to You”

  • “Just a Friend to You” is a song of unrequited love recorded by Meghan Trainor.
  • Meghan Trainor wrote this song with her friend Chris Gelbuda using a ukulele at 3 a.m.
  • The song is a special one because Trainor can express her feelings towards a friend whom she can’t love because of many issues and circumstances.

11. "Not in That Way"

Artist: Sam Smith

Genre: Pop

Year Released: 2014

Facts About “Not in That Way”

  • “Not in That Way” is a sad love song from Sam Smith’s album In the Lonely Hour.
  • Sam Smith wrote this emotional song with Fraser T Smith.
  • “Not in That Way” is a sad song about a Smith’s unrequited love for one person. The singer confesses his love to someone but responded with something “I love you too but not in a romantic way.”
  • Smith dedicated this song to the person who doesn’t love him back. Although it was painful, he finds it amazing and relieving.

12. "Better Now"

Artist: Post Malone

Genre: Rap, Hip-Hop

Year Released: 2018

Facts About “Better Now”

  • “Better Now” is the fifth single by Post Malone from his album Beerbongs & Bentleys.
  • Post Malone wrote this song with Billy Walsh, Louis Bell, and Frank Dukes
  • The song peaked at #10 on different charts from countries like Australia, Austria, Canada, Bolivia, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand and so much more.
  • The single received multiple certifications from different countries garnering the 5x Platinum, Platinum, and Gold Certifications.
  • “Better Now” talks about a post-breakup situation of a couple, wherein both are somehow regretting the breakup but still feel the growth they are after to can be achieved without the other.

13. "Gorgeous"

Artist: Taylor Swift

Genre: Electropop, Pop

Year Released: 2018

Facts About “Gorgeous”

  • “Gorgeous” is an electropop single recorded by Taylor Swift for her album Reputation.
  • The single peaked at #1 in Belgium, and #10 in Hungary, Canada, Malaysia, and Australia.
  • “Gorgeous” reached #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart and #15 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
  • The radio-friendly pop song describes a crush which can technically be considered unrequited.
  • The song represents the search of a maddening love interest.

14. "Call Out My Name"

Artist: The Weeknd

Genre: R&B

Year Released: 2018

Facts About “Call Out My Name”

  • “Call Out My Name” is an R&B song recorded by The Weeknd, a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer.
  • The single peaked at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and #3 on the U.K. R&B Chart.
  • Many critics say that the single refers to The Weeknd’s ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.
  • The song features a lot of hints/clues regarding The Weeknd’s unrequited relationship with Selena Gomez.

15. "Without Me"

Artist: Halsey

Genre: R&B, Pop, Electro

Year Released: 2018

Facts About “Without Me”

  • “Without Me” is a lead single recorded by Halsey for her third studio album Manic.
  • Halsey wrote this song with Brittany Amaradio, Amy Allen, and Louis Bell.
  • The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The single also reached #1 in Greece, and #3 in Australia, Canada, Slovakia, Portugal, Malaysia, Hungary, UK, New Zealand, Ireland, and Singapore.
  • Halsey performed this song multiple times on television shows such as The Voice, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and on award ceremonies like MTV Europe Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, and Billboard Music Awards.
  • Fans and critics speculate this song to be about Halsey’s ex-boyfriend, G-Eazy.
  • Halsey explained that “Without Me” depicts all her past relationships and serves as a reminder that you should not allow others to take advantage of you.
  • The song also teaches always to be vital to get past the pain of unrequited love.

16. "Memphis"

Artist: Justin Bieber featuring Big Sean

Genre: Pop, Teen Pop

Year Released: 2013

Facts About “Memphis”

  • “Memphis” is a track about unrequited love featuring Big Sean.
  • Diplo, an American DJ and songwriter, produced the single.
  • The song delivers powerful lines regarding how difficult it is not to receive the love back.

17. "Liability"

Artist: Lorde

Genre: Pop

Year Released: 2017

Facts About “Liability”

  • “Liability” is a pop song recorded by Lorde, a New Zealand singer-songwriter who popularized the song “Royals.”
  • “Liability” is about the feeling of being too much for someone because of unrequited love.
  • The single is a pop piano ballad accompanied by keyboards and guitar strums.
  • Lorde revealed that the inspiration for this song was Rihanna’s song “Higher” which she listened to while in a cab.

18. "Tears"

Artist: Clean Bandit ft. Louisa Johnson

Genre: Electronic and Dance

Year Released: 2018

Facts About “Tears”

  • “Tears” is a love song from Clean Bandit’s second studio album What Is Love? That features Louisa Johnson, an X-Factor UK champion.
  • The single is a breakup balled written by Jack Patterson and Sam Romans.
  • The single peaked at the top position on different charts from around the world.

19. "I'm a Mess"

Artist: Bebe Rexha

Genre: Pop

Year Released: 2018

Facts About “I’m a Mess”

  • “I’m a Mess” is a pop love song from Bebe Rexha’s debut studio album Expectations.
  • “I’m a Mess” is about accepting and celebrating your flaws and imperfections, and not lodging on them.
  • Bebe Rexha performed this song in multiple events such as the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Festival, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and on the Teen Choice Awards.

20. "Heartless"

Artist: Kanye West

Genre: Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Electropop, Hip-Hop/Rap

Year Released: 2008

Facts About “Heartless”

  • “Heartless” is a hip-hop love song released by Kanye West as part of his fourth studio album 808s & Heartbreak.
  • The song depicts a story of an ex-couple from a recent breakup of a relationship.
  • The single peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and U.S. Hot 100 Airplay Chart.
  • The single won the Award-Winning Rap Songs Award and Award-Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Award at the 2010 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards.

21. "Teardrops on My Guitar"

Artist: Taylor Swift

Genre: Country, Pop

Year Released: 2006

Facts About “Teardrops on My Guitar”

  • Teardrops on My Guitar” is a peaceful country-pop song of Taylor Swift released by Big Machine Records.
  • Taylor Swift wrote this single with Liz Rose, an American country music songwriter.
  • As one of Swift’s most successful single commercially, the song peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and entered the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Charts.
  • Swift revealed that this song is about her experience with unrequited love with her guy crush, Drew Hardwick.

22. "You Sent Me Flying"

Artist: Amy Winehouse

Genre: Jazz, Soul

Year Released: 2003

Facts About “You Sent Me Flying”

  • “You Sent Me Flying” is a song of young love recorded by Winehouse when she was 19-years-old.
  • Winehouse wrote this song with Felix Howard, a songwriter and record producer.
  • The track reached the 60th spot on the U.K. Singles Chart.
  • The song depicts a guy who keeps on running through Amy’s head, expressing her emotions simply and awkwardly.

23. "Shiver"

Artist: Coldplay

Genre: Alternative Rock, Post-Britpop

Year Released: 2000

Facts About “Shiver”

  • “Shiver” is a band song produced for Coldplay’s album Parachutes.
  • Chris Martin, a record producer and the lead singer of the band admitted that he wrote this song for a specific girl.
  • The song refers to Chris Martin’s unrequited love as the girl he dedicated this song to.
  • The track reached #35 on the U.K. Singles Chart and received a lot of positive critics.

24. "One and Only"

Artist: Adele

Genre: Soul

Year Released: 2011

Facts About “One and Only”

  • “One and Only” is the ninth track on Adele’s album 21.
  • The song is about a guy whom she has known and loved for years. She added that she’d probably going to marry that guy in the end.
  • The song portrays unrequited love in a way that the guy she was in love with had a girlfriend.
  • Adele described this song as the first happy song she had ever written.

25. "Need Ur Luv"

Artist: Charli XCX

Genre: Pop

Year Released: 2014

Facts About “Need Ur Luv”

  • “Need Ur Luv” is the final track of Charli XCX’s album Sucker.
  • “Need Ur Luv” is a song about wanting to be in a relationship, regardless of all the pain and sacrifices that arise with it.
  • In 2014, Charli XCX performed this single on The Late Night with David Letterman.

26. "Crush"

Artist: Mandy Moore

Genre: Pop

Year Released: 2001

Facts About “Crush”

  • “Crush” is a sweet Mandy Moore song from her self-titled album Mandy Moore.
  • The single peaked at #19 on the U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Chart.
  • The single is an unrequited love song about having a crush on someone who doesn’t know you.
  • The song is something a lot of teenagers can relate to.

27. "Just a Friend"

Artist: Biz Markie

Genre: Comedy Hip-Hop, Pop-Rap

Year Released: 1989

Facts About “Just a Friend”

  • “Just a Friend” is a hip-hop love song produced and recorded by Biz Markie.
  • “Just a Friend” is Markie’s most successful single peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The lyrics of the song depict unrequited love showing Markie’s romantic frustration on a girl who is romantically involved with another guy.
  • VH1, an American television network classified Biz Markie as a one-hit-wonder with his single “Just a Friend.”

28. "Bleeding Love"

Artist: Leona Lewis

Genre: R&B, Pop

Year Released: 2007

Facts About “Bleeding Love”

  • “Bleeding Love” is the lead single on Leona Lewis’ debut studio album, Spirit, in 2007.
  • The song was the 17th most successful song in the United States from 2000 to 2009.
  • The song sold over 1,000,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
  • The song emotionally portrays unrequited love. The song refers to someone in a relationship which is tremendously blinded by love.

29. "I Won't Give Up"

Artist: Jason Mraz

Genre: Folk Blues, Folk-Pop

Year Released: 2012

Facts About “I Won’t Give Up”

  • “I Won’t Give Up” is an acoustic folk-pop song recorded by Jason Mraz for his fourth studio album, Love Is a Four-Letter Word.
  • Jason Mraz wrote this song with Michael Natter.
  • The song shows that giving up is not an option for unrequited love. It represents the thinking of not giving up on loving someone, loving oneself, and most importantly one’s dreams.
  • “I Won’t Give Up” achieved massive success in the global music charting in different countries such as Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and Austria.

30. "Creep"

Artist: Radiohead

Genre: Alternative Rock, Grunge, Post-Grunge, Grunge

Year Released: 1992

Facts About “Creep”

  • “Creep” is a worldwide hit song recorded by the English alternative rock band Radiohead.
  • Creep is about a guy who tries to impress a girl whom he likes. Unfortunately, in the end, he’s lack of self-confidence, and low self-esteem gets into him.
  • The moral lesson of the track could be for you to disallow unrequited love in your life, get over with your lack of self-confidence and start loving yourself first.

More Unrequited Love Songs

Song TitleArtistYear Released

“To Know Him, Is to Love Him”

Amy Winehouse

2006

“Catch the Wind”

Donovan

1965

“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”

The Police

1981

“Take This Longing”

Leonard Cohen

1974

“I Hate Myself for Loving You”

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

1988

“All Her Favorite Fruit”

Camper Van Beethoven

1989

“Charleville 9200 pt 2”

Snoh Aalegra

2019

“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”

Jack Johnson

2005

“Just My Imagination”

The Temptations

1971

“Diamonds and Rust”

Joan Baez

1975

“Laugh, I Nearly Died”

The Rolling Stones

2005

“C’etait Toi”

Billy Joel

1980

“Jessie’s Girl”

Rick Springfield

1981

“One for My Baby”

Frank Sinatra

1943

“Layla”

Eric Clapton

1971

“Dancing on My Own”

Robyn

2010

“To Be with You”

Mr. Big

1991

“Love Stinks”

The J. Geils Band

1980

“All to Myself”

Marianas Trench

2018

“Layla”

Derek and The Dominoes

1970

“Call Me Maybe”

Carly Rae Jepsen

2012

“Damn Good Friends”

Elle Varner

2012

“Love and Affection”

Nelson

1998

“Put You in a Song”

Keith Urban

2010

“Can’t Fight This Feeling”

REO Speedwagon

1984

“Closer Than You Might Believe”

Alanis Morrisette

1995

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”

Meat Loaf

1977

“Why Don’t You Love Me”

Beyonce

2008

“Why Can’t This Be Love”

Van Halen

1986

“You’re Beautiful”

James Blunt

2004

“Hello”

Lionel Richie

1983

“Stacy’s Mom”

Fountains of Wayne

2003

“Surrender”

Billy Talent

2006

“Excuse Me Mr.”

No Doubt

1995

“Wicked Game”

Chris Isaak

1989

“Foolish Games”

Jewel

1995

“Lovefool”

The Cardigans

1996

“Losing My Religion”

R.E.M.

1991

“Habits”

Tove Lo

2014

“Leave Your Lover”

Sam Smith

2014

“Over My Head”

Fleetwood Mac

1975

“Almost Lover”

A Fine Frenzy

2007

“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”

Sophie Hawkins

1992

“The Heart Wants What it Wants”

Selena Gomez

2014

“A Thousand Years”

Christina Perri

2011

“Black”

Pearl Jam

1991

“I’m Not That Girl”

Idina Menzel

2003

“Without Me”

Halsey

2018

“Damn Good Friends”

Elle Varner

2012

“Leading Me On”

Harem Scarem

2005

“Teenage Dirtbag”

Wheatus

2000

“Beyond Repair”

Harem Scaren

2008

“Always on Your Side”

Sheryl Crow and Sting

2005

“Here Comes My Baby”

Cat Stevens

1967

“He Stopped Loving Her Today”

George Jones

1980

“I Don’t Wanna Let You Go”

Weezer

2009

“Cherish”

The Association

1966

“Love Untold”

Paul Westerberg

1996

“Nicest Thing”

Kate Nash

2007

“Black Cloud”

Morrissey

2009

“On My Own”

Samantha Barks

2012

“I Do”

Jude

1998

“Something I Can Never Have”

Nine Inch Nails

1989

“Kissing You”

Des’ree

1997

“Sorry”

Maria Mena

2004

“Anything Could Happen”

Elli Goulding

2013

“Stephen”

Kesha

2010

“Could’ve Been”

H.E.R. ft. Bryson Tiller

2019

“Feel a Way”

H.E.R.

2019

“Chasing Pavements”

Adele

2008

“So Into You”

Tamia

1998

“Catalina”

Rosalia

2017

“Notion”

Tash Sultana

2016

“Jaded”

Drake

2018

“Sorry”

Maria Mena

2004

“Ain’t No Way”

Aretha Franklin

1968

“Adore”

Cashmere Cat ft. Ariana Grande

2017

“The Motion”

Drake

2013

“Nothin’ On You”

B.O.B. ft. Bruno Mars

2010

“Stay”

Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko

2012

Explore Other Lists of Songs

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Ray

Related Articles