8 Crush Songs for Valentine’s Day


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Look, let’s not talk about that opening note on Sunday night. (At least she course corrected quickly!) Let’s instead revisit this sumptuous story song from 2003, on which Alicia Keys imagines an entire relationship with someone who doesn’t even know her name. Yet. This is also one of the most romantic songs ever about a Thursday, but perhaps that’s a whole other playlist.

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Though the Junior M.A.F.I.A. rapper Lil’ Cease handles things solo — with an uncredited cameo from the Notorious B.I.G. — on the version of this track that appeared on Lil’ Kim’s debut album, “Hard Core,” she would later join him for this he-said/she-said remix. After its iconic 1997 music video arrived, primary colors were never the same.

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Yes, I’m aware that there is a Bruce Springsteen song literally called “Crush on You.” But I think that this cut, from a little 1984 album called “Born in the U.S.A.,” is an even more visceral depiction of the exquisite agony of a crush.

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“Think I’m in love with Shelly in the diner,” Grace Ives sings on this chugging, guitar-driven track from her great 2022 album “Janky Star,” comparing the apple of her eye to a character from “Twin Peaks.” Even in the throes of an all-consuming crush, Ives manages quite a bit of humor here: “I wonder what she wants for dinner/She’s really got me looking inward.”

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Finally, enjoy the effervescent Minneapolis sounds of the family band the Jets, who scored a No. 3 hit in 1986 with this infectious single from their self-titled debut album. It’s one thing to confess a crush in secret, but it’s another thing entirely to do so with seven of your siblings — one of whom is playing a keytar — backing you up.

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