Culture Picks | For the ones we love and the ones we’d love to forget 

These Valentine’s Day bops cover all the bases.

So, you have a quarantine crush.

Here’s a playlist curated by The Crimson White’s culture desk to help you get through the butterflies after that first FaceTime date. And on side B, find some songs to ugly cry to when it all comes crashing down.


“Run Away With Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen may be a ‘one-hit wonder,’ but this 80s synthpop single is nothing short of a revivalist masterpiece, and critics agree. 

Pitchfork placed the track on its “200 Best Songs of the 2010s” list, where it landed in the top 40. Rolling Stone praised the track on its year-end singles list for 2015. It was number 49. Publication Stereogum and magazines Popmatters, Spin and Vulture also chimed with positive reception.

“Run Away With Me” paints the picture of a mundane house or college party, where the protagonist and love interest leave together. Upon their departure, the two decide getaways like this should remain permanent, and the pair consider staying in this endless sense of adventure. 

“Warm on a Cold Night” by Honne 

In the title track from Honne’s first studio album, the artist creates a slow-tempo tour de force that outlines a romantic declaration of pride toward a partner who amazes in every way. 

With chilly weather continuing to cast over the Tuscaloosa area, it’s an especially heartwarming song to listen to if you have someone on your mind during this season of love. 

In addition, “Warm on a Christmas Night” is a delightful official remix to listen to even when it’s not the holiday season. 

For those who are partial to the grit of a live performance, check out Honne’s performance of the track during the 2017 Seoul Jazz Festival.  

“Like Real People Do” by Hozier

It’s beautiful. It’s chilling. It might be a love song about a bog body. What more could anyone want in a Valentine’s Day bop?

Based on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, “Like Real People Do” is an ode to the familiar feelings of falling in love but also the unfamiliarity of it all. It’s a roller coaster of emotions packaged tightly in a slow folk song, completed with Hozier’s haunting voice and careful guitar strums.

“Like Real People Do” is one of those songs that will blow you away when you first listen to it and then stick with you for the rest of your life. You won’t even believe that you’re rooting for the bog body in the end.

“Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s folk rock song “Make You Feel My Love,” released on his 1997 album, “Time Out of Mind,” has left fans and artists alike reeling ever since its release. 

Artists like Adele, Clare Dunn, Kelly Clarkson and Garth Brooks have performed this song throughout the years. 

The popular song tells the story of two people who aren’t exactly on the same page with their feelings. One loves the other deeply, while the other is confused about their feelings. Showcasing that love isn’t as simple as we might think. 

“Apple” by Julia Michaels

Probably most known for her song “Issues,” Julia Michaels has no issue with expressing what she wants, and that is a love without complications. 

This song makes you want to spin in a pretty dress and have a lover wake you up with breakfast. Two minutes and 44 seconds is honestly not long enough, so if you need to hit repeat, we won’t blame you – we did. 

“Apple” is part of Michaels’ “Inner Monologue, Pt. 1” EP released in 2019. 

“Willow” by Taylor Swift

No Valentine’s Day playlist is complete without at least one song from the Queen of relationships, Taylor Swift. “Willow” is a love song about getting to know someone. 

“The more that you say, the less I know,” starts off the chorus and is a beautiful way of describing wanting to know more about the person you love. With each answered question, a new one arises. This track is for new relationships and encompasses the intrigue and desire laced in each conversation.

“Willow” is the opening track to Swift’s ninth album, “Evermore,” and debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100.

“POV” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s soft, heartwarming song “POV” perfectly captures what it’s like to be in love in the purest possible way, and it hits especially differently if you’re somebody who struggles with a lot of self-doubt. 

This song touches on what it’s like to have a partner who truly loves and accepts you for all you are and sees through all of your flaws, along with the desire we all have to see ourselves from our lover’s perspective to understand what exactly it is that they see in us. 

The song is a relaxing, soothing melody that definitely has us crying happy tears. Although the song is last on Ariana’s sixth studio album “Positions,” which is full of beautiful love songs, it is certainly not least.

“I Got You” by Bazzi 

With the help of a simple melodic acoustic guitar chord progression, Bazzi opens his single “I Got You,” with lyrics that shouldn’t be as sweet as they feel when you hear them; “Don’t trip, I got you / I put ice on your wrist ‘cause I want to, yeah / You’re number one, and I’m cool with two / If it’s next to you.” 

Then the song quickly grabs its listener with a slick 808 that seems to glide smoothly along with the chord progression. All the while, Bazzi showers his significant other with words of love and assurance that no matter what, they’ll be there for each other. 

The track feels like the musical equivalent to sweet nothings whispered into your ear on a cool summer day. 

A few other tracks you can find on Side A include: 

“If the World Was Ending” by JP Saxe and Julia Michaels 

“So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Caroline Polachek 

“Friends Don’t” by Maddie & Tae 

“Strawberry Blond” by Mitski

“Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez 


“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

Yet another hit song further accomplished through the means of social media.

Before Tiktok turned this 2005 country smash hit into a trend where teenagers and young adults lip-sync as awkwardly and lifelessly into the camera as possible, “Before He Cheats” was the ultimate ode to getting back at a lover fair and square. It was called getting even.

Nobody likes someone unfaithful. I mean, there is a show based on the premise of cheaters that has 21 seasons and continues getting refurbished on different television networks.

And the 2010s kept the track alive with appearances in shows like “The Client List,” “The Voice,” and the film “Pitch Perfect 2.”

“Good as Hell” by Lizzo

Yes, this song had its moment over a year ago, but no one writes a feel-good breakup song like Lizzo herself. 

When your friends tell you to get over a breakup, it doesn’t stick. But when Lizzo does it, you listen. 

“Good as Hell” is bursting with confidence, self-acceptance, incredible vocals, and a pop sound that’ll have you dancing alone in your room. You just can’t go wrong with Lizzo.

“Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & AJ

This duo is remembered for two things: the Disney Channel original movie “Cow Belles” and “Potential Breakup Song.” The single hit the Billboard 100 charts at number 77 in the summer of 2007 and later peaked at number 17. 

Their popular single from the late 2000s received a revival on Tiktok late last year. In response, the Michalka sisters not only filmed a Tiktok lip syncing their own verses, but they also released a fan-demanded explicit version that turned a nostalgic bop into a matured banger. 

Although only a few changes were made to the original lyrics, the new track is a very satisfying switchover to sing along to when your heartbreak reaches the anger phrase.

“I Hope” by Gabby Barrett

Gabby Barrett’s vengeful single, “I Hope,” is a modern sequel to Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” that details the aftermath of infidelity.

Her song received a Country Music Association (CMA) Award for Single of the Year nomination at the 54th Annual CMA awards. In the song, she opens up about her heartbreak.

Barrett illustrates throughout the song how she hopes her past love will treat his next girlfriend right, but she wishes nothing but bad energy toward her ex-boyfriend. And we’re here for it.

“Just Sayin / I Tried” (Explicit) by The Internet

There is no better feeling than finally being free from somebody you thought you’d never get over. This song is the perfect encapsulation of that feeling.

“Just Sayin / I Tried” is the fifth song on The Internet’s third studio album “Ego Death.” Smashing two separate songs together into one, the R&B band created a depiction of both the short and long-term thoughts after a long-awaited split between two partners. 

Within the first half, “Just Sayin” describes cutting toxic people from your life, while “I Tried” details what it’s like to learn to love yourself, just as they come back knocking. Equal parts empowering and easy on the ears, this neo-soul vibe will help get you through your rough patch.

“One More Weekend” by Maude Latour

If you’ve ever fallen in love in college, there’s only one song that can encompass how Kyle from that one fraternity made you feel. 

In the chorus, Maude Latour describes the crushing feeling of a breakup right before we all leave to go back to our hometowns for summer. References to campus life and temporary bliss will have you wanting to scream the lyrics from your apartment’s roof.

“One More Weekend” is the 20-year-old’s second single, and her bubblegum pop sound will have you wondering if you are listening to an unreleased Lorde track. 

“What a Shame” by Leyla Blue

Accurately a part of multiple playlists entitled “Songs for Boys That Didn’t Text Me Back,” “What a Shame” is a college breakup classic. From the first sound of a can opening to the ending lines of “Can’t wait forever, I’m gettin’ bored,” this song radiates “over-it” energy. 

Blue’s song has gained traction on TikTok with over 106,000 users and more than one million monthly listeners on Spotify. If you want an edgy Taylor Swift with a dash of Olivia O’ Brien, this is it. 

“Fire for You” by Cannons

Sometimes we set ourselves on fire for the person we love, but at least we have an indie-electronic bop to dance to. 

Released in 2019, “Fire for You,” describes unrequited love perfectly.

“Where did you go? How could you not know? Was I being lied to?” are all questions that the band, Cannons, asks on the track, and even if we never get the answer, at least we know that it wasn’t because of a lack of effort on our part.

“Selfish” by Madison Beer 

From the angelic orchestral strings to the electric guitar that strums out a complex beat and the beautifully honest lyrics, Selfish” by Madison Beer seems to embody heartbreak in every second. 

From her debut studio album, “Life Support,” which will be released Feb. 26, Beer showcases raw emotion and a skill that few artists possess. 

Even in times of pure joy, “Selfish” humbly shatters the heart for no reason other than because it simply can. 

A few other tracks you can find on Side B include: 

“All the Time” by Souly Had feat. Alanna Aguiar

“It’s Too Late” by Carole King

“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars

“Forget You” by CeeLo Green

“Toxic” by Ashnikko