Love songs come a dime a dozen. There are entire albums of them by single artists.
I’m pretty sure Diane Warren belts them out in her sleep.
Love (or love-adjacent) songs, along with Christmas songs, are overrepresented in the best-selling singles of all time.
Or maybe they’re just right. I don’t know.
If anything, those singles’ sales prove listeners are always hankering for a new love song that makes them reach for their wallets.
But do the right love songs get elevated?
Should one person (*cough* Ed Sheeran *cough*) have three love/love-adjacent songs in the Top 20 bestselling singles of all time?
And which love songs have been left behind?
If you’re on the lookout for some love songs that haven’t absolutely crushed the charts and sales records, but maybe should have, here are some seriously underrated love songs we think have been erroneously left behind.
I Believe In You and Me – Whitney Houston
Overshadowed. That’s the word here.
That’s the only thing reason we can think of as to why this song wasn’t bigger.
Released just four years after Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” and also recorded for a movie, this song had no chance of matching “I Will Always Love You” in success.
Nor would just about any subsequent release by Houston.
Twenty million copies, 20 million freaking copies, that’s how many copies of “I Will Always Love You” sold worldwide.
And this was back when you had to buy singles in physical form.
Why we think it’s underrated: While this song did go platinum, at 5% of the sales of “I Will Always Love You,” it still feels awfully forsaken.
It’s not as big as “I Will Always Love You,” granted, but still has plenty of those classic Houston stylings and a full-throated ending. (If you don’t go full-on chills when she hits “I believe in miracles,” you’re made of stronger stuff than me.)
And, as far as placement on our list, it has the added bonus of being an actual love song, instead of a love-is-ending song.
I Belong To You – Eros Ramazzotti & Anastacia
Dual-language songs are a hard sell. At least here in the U.S. where our foreign language skills are, how shall I say, not up to par?
That didn’t stop this song from being a major hit on the European charts, where it reached #3 on the Hot 100. (Which makes sense, even the English-speaking singer in this song is more popular in Europe.)
Why we think it’s underrated: Remember those great love duets of the 80’s that weren’t afraid to kill you with over-the-top cheese-laden affection?
This song is that, but with updated music and Anastacia’s distinctive, chill-inducing vocals.
Every Little Thing You Do – Laura Pausini
Pretty much any Laura Pausini love song belongs on this list, to be honest.
They’re all underrated, because she’s underrated.
But we’re choosing this song because it’s one of her few songs in English.
Why we think it’s underrated: While this song was on one of Pausini’s least successful albums – her only English-language one – she’s a big enough superstar in Europe that you can’t really call anything by her unknown.
But she’s never hit in the U.S. in her native Italian or in English (she does well on the Latin charts with her Spanish-language songs) and her English album kind of fizzled compared to her Italian and Spanish albums. (To be fair, it’s not her best album.)
While this isn’t Pausini’s best love song either, not by far, or even a great showcase of her voice, it’s still a solid offering that begs the question, “Why isn’t she an even bigger star than she is?”
Give Me Love – Ed Sheeran
This. This right here is why I was allowed to pick on Ed Sheeran in the intro.
Because I know Ed Sheeran has made some killer music.
I’m just not sure the fact is well-represented by his bestselling songs.
Why we think it’s underrated: This song peaked at #18 in the UK, #12 in New Zealand, and made it into the Top 10 in both Ireland and Australia.
It also sold several millions copies, including over two million in the U.S.
So, how exactly is that underrated?
Because “Thinking Out Loud” sold nearly 20 millions copies (over 12 million in the U.S.) and “Perfect” sold OVER 20 million copies (more than 10 million in the U.S.).
Basically, “Give Me Love” has been grossly eclipsed by Sheeran’s more conventional love songs, while this song, which absolutely bleeds passion, somehow lives in their shadows.
You’re Where I Belong – Trisha Yearwood
Another case of overshadowing, it’s fair to say this song got lost amidst Yearwood’s other more popular (and more country) love songs, but was especially dwarfed by the success of “How Do I Live.”
Why we think it’s underrated: Released just two years after “How Do I Live” and, like in the Whitney Houston situation, both songs from a movie, this song just didn’t get the same traction.
Of course, it couldn’t be nominated for an Academy Award due to its placement in Stuart Little and there was no controversy with LeAnn Rimes to spur it along.
But it may also have suffered from an identity crisis.
The song’s arrangement isn’t particularly country, but Yearwood is a country artist, so who was gonna take up the mantel and give it some spins?
As it turned out, not nearly enough radio stations to make it a hit.
Have a Little Faith in Me – John Hiatt
This song has been around so long in such a variety of settings, especially in movies and as a cover song, you would think, at some point, it would have been a major hit.
But, oddly enough, it never was.
Not when Hiatt released it in 1987.
And not when Mandy Moore released her cover as a single in 2003.
Why we think it’s underrated: Maybe everyone already owns a movie this song is in or an album where it’s been covered? That’s legit conceivable.
Other than that, we have no idea how a song this omnipresent has also managed to keep such a shockingly low-profile on the charts.
I Wanna Love You Forever – Jessica Simpson
This song might have reached the Top Ten, it might have sold over a million copies, but it still feels wickedly underrated.
I mean, compared to these songs selling 20 and 30 and 40 million digital copies, a million is starting to look a little piddly for a song like this. (I get that things have changed with digital, but still…)
Why we think it’s underrated: This song is huge. It’s simply one of the great power ballads of the late-90s and Simpson’s vocals on it are unreal.
That bridge into the final chorus? Truly insane.
So where is it? How, oh how, did we let this one drift so quietly away?
No Frontiers – Mary Black
When it comes to love songs that are straight up pretty, this one is hard to beat.
Lyrically it does a two-fer, blending the uncertainty and darkness of life with the salvation of love in such a way that you can barely tell the darkness is there.
It feels like a song that should have been covered as many times as “Have a Little Faith in Me,” and in the folk/Irish music circle, it has been covered quite a lot.
But it’s never gone mainstream.
Why we think it’s underrated: On one of the bestselling records in Ireland the year of its release, we can hardly say this song is unknown.
But it’s not that well-known either. And it should be.
U Smile – Justin Bieber
Yup. Here he is. Biebs.
One-time teen heartthrob with a platinum single from a multi-platinum album. Yet, somehow underrated.
But hear me out.
Why we think it’s underrated: This song undersold Biebs’ top singles by, like, a ton, so it can’t really be considered one of his biggest hits. (Which is just testament to how big Biebs’ biggest hits have been.)
Plus, Biebs’ songs aren’t really hanging around as classics.
But should this one be?
I submit that, had this song been cut by The Everly Brothers in the 60s, it would be a standard.
Yup, I said it.
So, there you have it, our list of underrated love songs.
What other love songs are underrated? Let us know in the comments.
And if you’re still feeling in the loving mood, here are a few more articles you might like: