35 Songs About Unrequited Love We Can All Relate To


“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police

Song year: 1981

When it comes to “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, people often remember the catchy choruses and forget what the verse or essence of the song is.

When the narrator says, “every little thing she does is magic”, he’s from the outside looking in, wanting to make a move but unable to do so.

Like “Every Breath You Take”, there’s an element of creepiness to this song.

Still, we can all relate to admiring someone special from afar.

“Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

Song year: 1981

A simple song about falling for your friend’s girl.

People are sometimes surprised by who people fall for.

But we tend not to fall for those who aren’t in our world.

We fall for those we regularly interact with, and for better or for worse, that ends up being friends, coworkers, community members and so on.

At one point or another, every man has wanted “Jessie’s Girl”, unless of course, he was with her.

“Layla” by Derek And The Dominoes

Song year: 1970

One of the most passionate songs ever written about unrequited love.

As the story goes, guitarist Eric Clapton ended up falling for Beatle George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd, who was also a neighbor.

It seems scandalous by today’s standards, but Clapton says this kind of thing happened all the time in the 60s/70s.

So, Clapton ended up pursuing her.

Here’s his plea to Boyd in “Layla”, one of classic rock’s most important songs:

“Please don't say we'll never find a way/And tell me all my love's in vain.”

In a rare turn of events, Clapton and Boyd ended up together in real life – great for them.

It’s a little sad for Harrison, though.

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

Song year: 1991

A heart-wrenching song about the agonies of unrequited love.

These lines are simply heartbreaking:

“'Cause I can't make you love me if you don't/You can't make your heart feel something it won't/Here in the dark, in these final hours/I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power/But you won't, no you won't/'Cause I can't make you love me, if you don't.”

Reportedly, the inspiration for this song came from a man who got drunk and shot at his girlfriend's car.

When asked what he had learned, he said that he learned he couldn’t make his girl love him.

So, while this song may not be autobiographical, it’s still powerful.

“Crush” by Mandy Moore

Song year: 2001

We’ve all had crushes.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason why they call it a “crush” – you’re crushed when it doesn’t work out.

In this song, Mandy Moore sings about someone that everyone loves and reveals her own feelings for him:

“Ooh, I got a crush on you/I hope you feel the way that I do/I get a rush/When I'm with you/Ooh, I've got a crush on you/A crush on you.”

A simple, cute song about a crush.

“Shiver” by Coldplay, A Song About Loving Someone Who Is Taken

Song year: 2000

If your love has gone unanswered, then surely you can relate to the sentiment expressed in Coldplay’s “Shiver”, a song about feeling invisible.

Takes these lines for instance:

“I'll always be waiting for you/So you know how much I need you/But you never even see me, do you.”

People don’t know how much we care – especially if we’ve never shared our feeling with them.

Of course, that’s the scary part.

Broken heart music

“Damn Good Friends” by Elle Varner

Song year: 2012

As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you can fall for a friend.

As the friendship deepens, you begin to fear losing that friendship.

“What would happen if we got into a relationship? Would we eventually break up?”

Those thoughts can’t help but cross your mind.

To me, that’s what “Damn Good Friends” by Elle Varner is all about:

“I long for you/It kills me to pretend/I’m not in love when I so am/But you don’t understand/That we’re such/Damn good friends.”

Fear can hold you back.

“(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection” by Nelson

Song year: 1990

When you love someone and they don’t love you back, you might end up feeling rejected.

But sometimes you just don’t want to give up on something good.

This song is about the latter.

If you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t live without someone’s love and affection in your life, put on this song to ease your pain.

“Put You In A Song” by Keith Urban

Song year: 2010

No hidden messages in this Keith Urban tune, one of the best songs about loving someone you can't have.

There’s a girl he loves, and he imagines whisking her away in a car and writing a song about her.

In that sense, “Put You In A Song” might be a tad self-referential:

“Well here you come again and you're lookin' so fine/You don't notice me but it's alright/I'm just a guy who wishes that I could be your man someday/Yeah a picture paints a thousand words it's true/But it's still not enough for how I feel about you/I wanna put you in a melody, I gotta set you to a groove.”

Who of us can say we haven’t felt that way about someone special?

“Bad Religion” by Frank Ocean

Song year: 2012

A song where the term “unrequited love” is right in the lyrics.

It’s clear the narrator is in anguish.

These lines specifically seem to refer to self-harm:

“To me, it's nothin' but a one-man cult/And cyanide in my styrofoam cup.”

Unrequited love can drive you crazy and this song is in touch with those emotions.

“Closer Than You Might Believe” by Alanis Morrisette

Song year: 1995

A song about unrequited love by Alanis?

Hard to believe, but it’s true.

And, she says it better than a lot of other songs do:

“So if the love that you're chasing after/Is in the heart to be found in the out of reach/Well, if you break it all down/Take a good look around, you'd see/That it's closer than you might believe.”

Sometimes we just wish the person we’re in love with would stop to look around.

To us, it can appear as though they’re chasing problems – especially when we feel like we would be right for them.

Great tune.

“Why Can’t This Be Love” by Van Halen

Song year: 1986

When “Why Can’t This Be Love” was released as the first single from Van Halen’s 1986 album 5150, the fans must have been caught off guard.

Not only did it feature the then new lead vocalist Sammy Hagar, it also put keyboard, rather than the guitar, at the heart of the rhythm section.

While the lyrical content is somewhat ambiguous, the repeated line “why can’t this be love” has us thinking it’s about unreturned love.

We don’t know exactly what situation the narrator is dealing with, but it has him saying:

“It’s got what it takes/So tell me why can’t this be love?/Straight from the heart/Oh, tell me why can’t this be love?”

So, while it’s a bit vague, there could be some unreciprocated feelings going on.

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