The Music Mermaid's Soundtrack To Modern Dating
There’s nothing more universal than falling in and out of love. There’s nothing more relatable than the search for somebody, whether we know we’re looking or not. You’ve heard all the love songs and raged to breakup anthems, but there are tons of tracks out there that dive deeper into today’s dating age — we’re talking songs about swiping, songs about sexting, songs about seeking. Dive in:
Left Swipe Left by Miss Eaves: Brooklyn-based artist Miss Eaves is the voice of today. Sex positive, body positive, women positive, she continues to drop energetic anthems that deal with the facets of life we live today. On “Left Swipe Left,” Miss Eaves delivers a wild ode to online dating woes, complete with a military cadence inspired hook and a whole lot of quick-witted wordplay.
Big God by Florence + The Machine: Last year when Florence released High As Hope, “Big God” stunned listeners for two reasons: in typical Florence fashion, it’s gorgeous, but it’s also about getting ghosted. A sweeping, grandiose ballad, the song merges intense instrumentation with relatable lyrics made both accessible and poignant.
Boys by Lizzo: Lizzo is a legend. We know this already. Every song is a total banger, but “Boys” is one of her best. Pulsing with funky electro-pop beats, it’s a slick track that finds Lizzo highlighting the wide range of her dating pool as she quips lines like “I like big boys, itty bitty boys / Mississippi boys, inner city boys.”
Sugardaddy by Lauran Hibberd: English indie-rock artist Lauran Hibberd’s newest single “Sugardaddy” is a tongue-in-cheek narrative about finding a sugardaddy as a last-ditch effort, weighed down with work and wanting. Fuzzy and grungey, it’s a killer rock track made playful by Lauran’s clever songwriting.
Not A Love Song by bülow: Quickly becoming a major force on the pop scene, bülow keeps putting out addictive anthems. On “Not A Love Song,” she flips the script on typical romantic ballads. Amid buzzing, neon beats, she confesses her desire for lust, not love, a scenario we don’t often hear in today’s pop bops.
Hurts So Much by Sam Setton: Most of Brooklyn artist Sam Setton’s discography deals in some degree with his trials and tribulations in love, none more so than “Hurts So Much,” a punchy lo-fi effort that finds his emotive delivery confronting the dreaded post-breakup haze.
boys in bands by Silver Sphere: Chicago pop singer Silver Sphere came out of seemingly nowhere, but we are so glad she’s here, because she makes absolute BOPS. Her new single “boys in bands” says what anybody who’s been scorned by one too many Tinder musicians is thinking — the song is lazing and electric and chockful of perfect anti-indie-boy lyrics.
Convenient by Lo Lo: Toronto-based Lo Lo is another artist blowing the pop world’s mind right now, armed with a bunch of magnetic singles. “Convenient” is a cool dark-pop track that finds Lo Lo getting real as she confesses “you were just convenient at the time,” an honest electronic anthem about hookup and rebound culture.
Flirting With Her by Sir Babygirl: Sir Babygirl has busted open the queer pop scene, sending bubblegum gems hurtling out into the world to rest on our tongues. “Flirting With Her” is a perfect slice of buzzy, fuzzy power-pop that encapsulates that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling we get when we’re flirting with our crush.
Demi Moore by Phoebe Bridgers: On her debut album, Phoebe Bridgers gave us song after song of earnest poetry. On “Demi Moore,” she beautifully narrates the loneliness of a long-distance relationship, her ghostly voice trapped in a cloud of twangy guitar plucks. Sexting has never sounded this lovely.
Lol by THE WLDLFE: Up-and-coming indie-pop kings THE WLDLFE’s song “Lol” is equal parts sweet and electric. Over a base built on smashing percussion and gentle synth swells, the band sing a super cute, super stealthy love song.
Fantasy by Kari Faux: On “Fantasy,” Arkansas-based rapper Kari Faux confronts heartbreak with an empowerment anthem — if you spin it a certain way. Half in-your-face F-U to high standards, half hopeless confession, it’s a disjointed, shimmering dive into Kari’s unique blend of jazz and rap.
girls by girl in red: Queer icon girl in red’s discography is full of dreamy bedroom-pop songs about love and loss. “girls” hits the brief perfectly as girl in red grapples with her feelings for women, coming to terms with the confession amid a misty lo-fi composition.
Cold War by Cautious Clay: Recently skyrocketing to stardom, Brooklyn singer Cautious Clay’s debut single “Cold War” covers the mounting frustrations of dating in your 20s, but it sounds so damn good, because Cautious has a silky voice and the production is a cool thrum.
Dog Fight by Sophie Strauss: You need to listen to Sophie Strauss’ whole discography — seriously — but for now, “Dog Fight” covers this brief as the mega talented singer-songwriter breathes warm wisps of lyrics about being emotionally disconnected from sexual experiences.
Crush Culture by Conan Gray: California pop artist Conan Gray makes anything sound good. Most of his work revolves around his generation’s thoughts and feelings and experiences, like in “Crush Culture,” an eruption of dreamy bedroom-pop as Conan sweetly sings, “Crush culture makes me wanna spill my guts out…”
affection by BETWEEN FRIENDS: Indie-pop trio BETWEEN FRIENDS have a knack for capturing the sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet mood of today’s dating world. On “affection,” addictive percussive punches and thick synth lay a base for the band to get real about “looking for affection in all the wrong places.”
Textin’ My Ex by T-Pain ft. Tiffany Evans: A few years ago, T-Pain released the most relatable of songs with “Textin’ My Ex,” an emotional admission of regret and powerlessness when it comes to his ex. Drenched in autotune and pulsing with minimalist beats, it’s a tender take from T-Pain.
Ghost by Awkwafina: Actress and rapper Awkwafina has a way with words. On one of her most popular songs, “Ghost,” she coolly raps her experience with a series of thank u, next type of men. The beat is steady and slick, Awkwafina’s vocal delivery is smooth, and the “had to ghost / break it off” hook is a perfect singalong.
It’s U by Cavetown: On the sweet, serpentine slow-burn “It’s U,” English singer-songwriter Cavetown delivers a matter-of-fact love song. It’s largely uncomplicated, just Robbie and his soft strums and some layers of dark rhythm in the distance, but it’s lovely.
Taffy by Jenny Lewis: Off her newest record, “Taffy” is a haunting piano ballad in which Jenny pleads with her lover, recalling the lengths she went — sending nudes, loving hard — to be loved back. Made all the more emotional with the addition of searing strings, it’s as delicate as it is grandiose, a crushing confession.
Messy by Kiiara: Pop singer Kiiara’s 2018 single “Messy” finds her telling the story of a seemingly innocent hookup and the feelings that crop up in its aftermath. Vibrating with synth trills and a smooth electro-pop arrangement, it’s a straightforward song both sweet and sour.
Jenifer by Gabriel Diniz: A few months ago, Brazilian artist Gabriel Diniz gained over 55 million streams for his single “Jenifer,” a quick-paced Spanish banger frenzied with energy and flavorful, tropical-tinged rhythms about a woman he met on Tinder.
Vinyl by Fly By Midnight: NYC duo Fly By Midnight’s “Vinyl” might be sort of cheating here since it’s about the exact opposite of modern dating — desperate for the proposed dreaminess of old-school dating habits, they deliver an addictive pop anthem you’ll have no choice but to blast loud and sing along to.
Tinder by Motel Raphaēl: Aptly named, “Tinder” by Montreal-based indie-pop trio Motel Raphaēl is a punchy, high-powered rock romp detailing the band’s experiences with the dating app. Like bubblegum, it pops and bursts, but there’s an edge to it in the lyrical honesty and searing guitar riffs.