As rough as this past year has been, continuing global pandemic and all, some good new love songs have come out of it. But TBH, none of them even remotely compare to the tracks the ‘90s gave us. From sappy pop hits to sexy R&B beats, the ‘90s produced a love song for pretty much everyone. And the best part? Most of the songs still slap. Oh, and the music videos from this era are truly something else and will take your mind off of our current reality…if only for a brief three minutes and 20 seconds.
If you haven't noticed, the '90s are v much having a ~moment~ rn, with everything from '90s fashion trends to '90s beauty looks hittin' the streets again. (Are we mad about it? Absolutely not.) But nothing will take you right TF back to the time before the new millennium quite like an old school love song—except, perhaps, for a classic '90s rom-com. Here, we've ranked the 52 most banging ‘90s love songs for your listening pleasure. Get ready to feel like you’re starring in a Freddy Prinze Jr. movie.
52. “Lovefool,” by The Cardigans
Yes, we’re starting off with (or, rather, ending on) a song about wanting someone to love us because life isn’t a picture-perfect rom-com all the time! Sorry! Plus, the music vid involves a man lost at sea and a note in a bottle. You just don’t get kitschy gold like that anymore, folks.
51. "It Must Have Been Love," by Roxette
Ugh. If this one doesn't wrench your heart right TF open, then we don't know what will.
50. "November Rain," by Guns N' Roses
Pro tip: This song is best enjoyed while sipping a glass of Cab by the light of a flickering candle.
49. "Always," by Bon Jovi
"I'll be there 'til the stars don't shine, 'til the heavens burst and the words don't rhyme, and I know when I die, you'll be on my mind." The drama!!
48. "It's Your Love," by Tim McGraw
Even if you're not a country person, it's impossible to resist the sweetness of this song, agreed?
47. "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here," by Deborah Cox
Sometimes, love finds you when ya least expect it, and no one sums up that feelin' quite like Canadian songstress Deborah Cox.
46. "Nothing Compares 2 U," by Sinéad O'Connor
Nothing compares to your first love, y'all. *Sigh.*
45. "No Ordinary Love," by Sade
Not only is this song a total mood—the music video is a legit masterpiece. Sade Adu running through city streets in a two-piece wedding dress? ICONIQUE.
44. "I Live My Life for You," by FireHouse
The song title kinda says it all, no?
43. "I Swear," by All-4-One
Even if you don't *think* you know this one, we can assure you that you most definitely do.
42. "At Your Best (You Are Love)," by Aaliyah
It's been over 20 years since Aaliyah tragically passed away, but this gorgeous love ballad continues to live on.
41. "You Were Meant for Me," by Jewel
Introducing: the best drunk karaoke ballad of all time.
40. "Love Like This," by Faith Evans
There's no denying it: This song slapped when it first came out in 1998, and it still slaps just as hard today.
39. “Can’t Stop Loving You,” by Van Halen
No one wants to hear someone say, "Yeah, I might stop loving you one day." Enter this song, which is the exact opposite of that. It’s basically a wedding vow, saying that love will persist through thick and thin.
38. “More Than Words,” by Extreme
Essentially, this song brings us back to the good ol’ actions speak louder than words concept. The track pretty much encapsulates every love language except for words of affirmation, obvi, with an emphasis on quality time and physical touch.
37. “Only Wanna Be With You,” by Hootie and the Blowfish
I mean, who wouldn’t want to be told they’re the only one the person they love wants to be with? That’s the main thing you need in a relationship, right? Doesn't seem like too much to ask.
36. “I’ll Make Love To You,” by Boyz ll Men
Clearly, this is a song you want to have on your sex playlist, but, BUT, it's also super romantic because anyone who calls sex "making love" only does that if they're in love. Presumably, that is. Or they think it's what their partner wants to hear. Who knows?
35. “There She Goes,” by The La’s
Honestly, this song doesn’t have many lyrics to unpack–it’s straight to the point and basically the ‘90s version of saying your crush lives in your mind rent free. The lyrics literally say “There she goes again, racing through my brain” practically on repeat. And it brings back mems of The Parent Trap, so points for that.
34. “Wonderwall,” by Oasis
Do I even need to explain this one? OK, fine, I will for the people in the back. And I'll do it with maybe the most relatable lyric in the song: “There are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don't know how.”
33. “I’ll Be,” by Edwin McCain
If you don’t immediately think of that one scene in A Cinderella Story when Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray are dancing when you hear this song, we can’t be friends.
32. “If You Had My Love,” by Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo perfectly exemplifies how to lay down the law in this epic bop. She’s not taking any bullshit–no lies, no cheating, and especially no fake love. There’s no time to waste, and unnecessary pain can be avoided once you weed out the weak links with basic and decent requests.
31. “Friday I’m in Love,” by The Cure
Tell me the first few beats of this song don’t pump you up and make you want to scream-sing the entirety of the lyrics once they start. It perfectly captures a love for both Fridays and being in love on a Friday–an intoxicating combo.
30. “2 Become 1,” by Spice Girls
It’s a sappy Spice Girls song about ~making love~ to a dude you’re super into for the first time. Need I say more? Okay, fine. I’ll say one more thing: Do yourself a favor and imagine a young Posh Spice singing this before going to pound town with David for the first time—and that’s something I can subscribe to!
29. “Angel of Mine,” by Monica
I’m 110 percent convinced that we have this song to thank for the “Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?” pick-up line, but we won’t hold that against it because this song undeniably still slaps. It covers every aspect of the fairytale love story, from knowing they were right for you from the start to them having your back through thick and thin. Cute, right?
28. “I Do (Cherish You),” by 98 Degrees
If you were a fan of the MTV masterpiece that was Newlyweds, I would highly recommend listening to this song and imagining an alternate universe in which Nick and Jess really made it for the long haul and he serenaded her with this every day.
27. “Un-Break My Heart,” by Toni Braxton
Okay, this song is technically about heartbreak, but there’s something so romantic about the fact that the only person who can un-break Toni’s heart is the one who broke it in the first place. Don’t you wish your ex was bumping this about you right now? Actually, forget wishing they would do this—let’s just pretend they for sure are.
26. “I Wanna Grow Old With You,” by Adam Sandler
If you’ve seen The Wedding Singer, you know why this song is a total tear-jerker. If you haven’t, let me put it to you like this: Imagine the dude you love writing a song about wanting to spend the rest of his life growing old with you. (And the song was actually v cute and really good.)
25. “This I Promise You,” by N*SYNC
As if this list would be complete without a friggin’ N*Sync anthem. Girl, you thought. This song is basically like if someone took the most romantic wedding vows you’ve ever heard and set them to a perfectly cheesy ‘90s melody.
24. “Head Over Feet,” by Alanis Morissette
Yes, it first came out over two decades ago. But with lyrics like “You treat me like I’m a princess, I'm not used to liking that,” I think anyone with a low-key f*ckboy addiction will agree it’s still v relatable.
23. “Kiss from a Rose,” by Seal
NGL, I have no idea what “I’ve been kissed by a rose on the grey” even means, but it’s the kind of song that makes me wonder if I just don’t get it because I just don’t get love.
22. “As Long As You Love Me,” by Backstreet Boys
You know when it’s 2 a.m. and the bar’s about to close, and you’re wondering why the hell that hot guy who made eyes at you when you first walked in still hasn’t talked to you? This song is basically like a way more romantic version of that. You don’t care who he is, as long as he loves you (or maybe, in this case, just goes home with you tonight).
21. “I Love You (Always Forever),” by Donna Lewis
I love this song because it can relate to more than one love of your life. In other words, you can relate it to the love you feel about your BF and the love you feel for your BFF. Because, let’s face it, she’s the one you’re really going to be loving forever.
20. “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” by Savage Garden
Dare you to listen to this song and not feel like you’re suddenly starring in the happy ending of your very own ‘90s rom-com and Freddie Prinze Jr. is going to sensually take your glasses off any minute now. DARE YOU!
19. “Crash Into Me,” by Dave Matthews Band
This is more than just a romantic song. This is a quintessential sex song and probably the most bang-able song on this list. Play it and make some love, sweet love, ‘90s style. Might I suggest you dress as Pam Anderson and your suitor dress as Tommy Lee?
18. “I Can Love You Like That,” by All-4-One
I dedicate this song to you when the lame AF boys on Hinge aren’t impressing you with their Office pick-up lines. Let this song remind you of the sort of love you deserve.
17. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” by Elton John
This is a great song to play when you’re feeling hopeless that the whole love thing is never going to happen to you. With lyrics like “There’s a time for everyone,” it’s reassuring AF. Oh, and it’s also one of the greatest songs in Disney history—so this one gets an A+ from me.
16. “All My Life,” by K-Ci & JoJo
Next time you get home from yet another subpar Tinder date, play this song and tell yourself that your dream dude just got home from his own subpar Tinder date and is sitting there wondering when he’s going to meet a bomb AF person like you.
15. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” by Aerosmith
Okay, so this guy literally doesn’t want to fall asleep because he’s worried about missing you. Normally, I’d think that’s clingy AF. But this song is such a jam that it somehow makes it cute. Also, if you’re not requesting this song at the club around 2 a.m., WYD?
14. “My Love Is Your Love,” by Whitney Houston
A good ‘90s love song makes you want to do a lot of things (e.g., make out, have sex, and/or get chased by a hot dude who’s in love with you at the airport), but it doesn’t usually make you want to get on the dance floor and break it down. This one does.
13. “When A Man Loves A Woman,” by Michael Bolton
This song rules because it sets some seriously high standards. If a dude doesn’t do everything this song says (put you on a pedestal, stick up for you to his friends, shower you with gifts, etc.), SEND HIM BACK.
12. “How Do I Live,” by LeAnn Rimes
You know when you’re the absolute worst version of yourself crying to your best friend in a bar bathroom about how your crush hasn’t texted you yet and you literally might die if he ghosts you? This song somehow takes that emotion and turns it into a super-beautiful song.
11. “Kiss Me,” by Sixpence None the Richer
No matter how old you are, this song is guaranteed to make you feel like you’re back in middle school swinging on the swing trying to seductively make eyes at your crush the way you saw Carrie do to Big that one time your older sister let you watch Sex and the City with her.
10. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” by Bryan Adams
I mean, the title of this song says it all. Everything this dude does, he does for the woman he loves. That’s the kind of devotion we all deserve, ladies.
9. “Iris,” by Goo Goo Dolls
“Iris” literally has a dude saying he would “give up forever to touch you,” so, um, yeah it’s obviously romantic AF—oh, and peak '90s goals.
8. “This Kiss,” by Faith Hill
This song is obvi called “This Kiss,” but it’s about way more than that. It’s about having a fireworks-level connection with someone, who you just so happen to have fab sexual chemistry with (aka the dream). Oh, I also dare you to play it in the car and not wind up screaming the lyrics to yourself at the top of your lungs because, well, it happens.
7. “I’ll Stand By You,” by The Pretenders
The best part of being in a relationship is having someone who will have your back through all of the absolute worst moments life throws your way. This song is about exactly that. And it will probs make you cry, even if it’s your 100th time listening to it.
6. “Have I Told You Lately,” by Rod Stewart
If you’ve been feeling single AF lately, give this song a little listen. I know it’s not exactly the dude you’ve been seeing without a label for six months telling you he wants to be official, but Rod Stewart telling you he loves you can be oddly reassuring.
5. “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion
This song is so timelessly romantic that they made it the theme song for The Titanic…aka one of the most romantic movies of all time. Don’t really think I need to elaborate much outside of that, right?
4. “Always Be My Baby,” by Mariah Carey
With lyrics like “You can’t escape me” and “You’re never gonna shake me,” MiMi masterfully manages to take all of the thoughts of your most psycho post-breakup self and turn them into a legitimately romantic song that seriously gets your heart bumpin’.
3. “You’re Still the One,” by Shania Twain
This song is aspirational. Yeah, that’s right. Shania’s lyrics in this song were couple goals before humans started being couples. And regardless of whether you’re into country songs or not, you know a thing or two about this song—hell, it was probably you and your first boyfriend’s song. Essentially, Shania walked so T-Swift could run.
2. “Because You Loved Me,” by Celine Dion
Freakin’ duh this song was going to make the top two. She’s *everything* she is because he loved her. He was her strength when she was weak! Her voice when she couldn’t speak! Okay, I’ll stop quoting the song and let you listen.
1. “I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston
This. Freaking. Song. Envision the love of your life and sing it at the top of your lungs next time you do karaoke and tell me it’s not the greatest love song of all time. Because it is, and it's ranked number one. You honestly can’t even argue either, sry.