Love Songs for Teenagers

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
Teen love

Everybody loves a love song and given that young people feel their first love experiences so intensely, there's no shortage of compelling romantic tunes for and about teenagers. No matter what style you might like, whether you like to ease back and listen or get up and dance, you'll have no problem finding love songs that speak to your heart.

A Teenager in Love by Dion and the Belmonts

Hailing from the 1950s, the decade of poodle skirts and bobby socks, A Teenager In Love is a timeless tune that captures the ecstatic highs and devastating lows of young love. The song was first recorded by Dion and the Belmonts and was written by Doc Pomus, considered one of the greatest songwriters in the history of rock and roll.

Song History

Released in 1959, A Teenager in Love hit number five on the Billboard Hot 100, and it remained on the charts for a total of fifteen weeks. The song has been covered by a wide range of artists from varied styles and genres, including Sha Na Na, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Donny Osmond, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Style and Mood

As a classic 1950s doo wop song, A Teenager in Love features all the hallmarks of its era with its melodic vocal crooning, tight backing harmonies, and simple instrumentation. Doo wop had its roots in rhythm and blues and peaked in popularity in the late 1950s. The lyrics to A Teenager in Love explore the joys and sorrows of young love, asking why it is that in light of happiness, there must also be pain. Ultimately, the message of the song is that to love, you must make yourself vulnerable to loss.

Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley

No list of love songs centered on teenagers would be complete without a tune by Elvis Presley, who was the number one heartthrob of millions of young girls in the 1950s and 60s. Can't Help Falling In Love is emblematic of Presley's tender, warbling style that captured countless youthful hearts.

Song History

Elvis Presley was the first artist to record Can't Help Falling in Love, which was released in 1961 as a single and was on the soundtrack for Blue Hawaii, a 1962 film that starred Elvis. The song reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and it stayed on the charts for fourteen weeks. The song was brought to the attention of a whole new generation of teens when UB40 covered it, and it was featured on the soundtrack of the film Sliver. UB40's version hit the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993.

Style and Mood

Can't Help Falling in Love is a beautiful, flowing ballad whose melody was based on a French tune from the 18th century. In the lyrics, Elvis urges his beloved to take his hand and take his "whole life" as well, since their love is one of those things that are "meant to be." The whole mood of the song is that of a romantic serenade by moonlight.

Wouldn't It Be Nice by the Beach Boys

Though the Beach Boys began crafting their harmonious, progressive pop songs back in the early 1960s, they are every bit as compelling today as they were back then. Wouldn't It Be Nice, a song about teens who are in love but too young to get married, is a golden oldie that continues to enrapture the young and the young at heart.

Song History

Released in 1966, Wouldn't It Be Nice was the second single from the Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds. The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. Pitchfork ranks the song at number seven on its list of the 200 greatest songs of the 1960s.

Style and Mood

Wouldn't It Be Nice is an up-tempo, classic pop song that fuses symphonic instrumentation, layered vocal harmonies, and heart-filled lyrics to get its message across: that of two young people who are desperately in love but must wait until they're older to marry and enjoy a life together. Wouldn't it be nice, they ask, "if we were older?" While the teenagers glory in the happy times they currently enjoy, they wish they didn't "have to wait so long" for the world in which they truly belong.

Summer Nights by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

One of the best-known songs from the movie Grease is Summer Nights, which is an ode to summertime teenage love. In the song, the young couple take turns relating to their friends what happened to them over the summer, and how they continue to have strong feelings for each other, especially now they've wound up at the same high school.

Song History

Summer Nights was released in 1978 as a single off the soundtrack for the film Grease, and it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. In Britain, the song was a smash hit and spent nine weeks at the top of the U. K.'s Official Singles Chart.

Style and Mood

With its bubbly 1950s groove that makes you want to sing along, Summer Nights details a conversation that two teenagers, Danny and Sandy, have with their friends about the love affair they shared over the summer. Throughout the song, their friends urge them "Tell me more, tell me more" and "uh huh, uh huh," especially about those steamy summer nights. Danny and Sandy, with their hearts fixed on each other, are only too happy to oblige.

Teenage Love by Slick Rick

In Teenage Love, a poignant hip hop song, you'll hear the quintessential plea that young people in a relationship make to each other: "Don't hurt me." The joys of first love are sublime, but when problems crop up, the young couple must learn how to make things right again.

Song History

Teenage Love was released as a single from Slick Rick's debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, in 1988. The album hit number one on the Billboard R & B and Hip Hop charts. The single, Teenage Love, reached number eight on the Hot Rap Singles chart and number sixteen on Hot Black Singles chart.

Style and Mood

The instrumentation of Teenage Love is restrained, with a smooth hip hop groove, serving as a good background for the gentle pleading in the lyrics: "Don't hurt me again." The young man and his beloved have been through their share of ups and downs in their relationship, and he wants her to know that while he believes their love is true, they must be willing to work to keep things together.

She's in Love With the Boy by Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood's successful career as a country music artist got off to a great start with She's In Love With the Boy, a bouncy tune about a teen romance faced with parental disapproval. She became the first woman to have a debut lead single reach number one on the country charts.

Song History

She's In Love With the Boy was released in 1991 as the lead single from Trisha Yearwood's first album, which was self-titled. The song enjoyed stunning success, hitting number one on the country charts. Taste of Country ranks She's In Love With the Boy number one on its list of the ten best Trisha Yearwood songs.

Style and Mood

Trisha Yearwood recorded She's In Love With the Boy because she liked its story, that of a young girl whose boyfriend could never be seen as good enough for her by her father. When you listen to the song, you'll giggle at the verses, and you won't be able to resist singing along with its down home chorus. The song evokes a sense of small town life and emphasizes the love shared by the two teens, Katie and Tommy. Even though her father doesn't like Tommy, Katie remains determined to marry him someday.

As Long as You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys

One of the Backstreet Boys' greatest hits, As Long as You Love Me, is a quintessential example of teen pop perfection. The Backstreet Boys have made music together since 1993 and have sold more than 130 million albums, earning them the title of the world's best-selling boy band.

Song History

As Long as You Love Me, a song from the Backstreet Boys 1997 self-titled debut album, was never commercially released as a single in the United States. It did, however, become a smash hit. The video received heavy play on MTV, and the song itself spent an astonishing 56 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart.

Style and Mood

With its hip hop-inspired rhythm and smooth, captivating melody, As Long As You Love Me is a love song that's sure to please. With their voices in tightly woven harmonies, the Backstreet Boys sing lyrics that testify to the enduring and unconditional love a teenage boy has for his girlfriend. It doesn't matter what she's done in the past. As long as she loves him, he'll be hers forever.

Anyone Else but You by the Moldy Peaches

Disarming in its simplicity, Anyone Else but You is a one-of-a-kind love song by the Moldy Peaches, an indie folk band. It's sung as a couple's duet, devoted to "keeping it real" and is sure to tug at your heartstrings and even tease out a laugh or two.

Song History

Anyone Else But You was originally released in 2001 on the Moldy Peaches' debut album. The song was catapulted to fame after being included on the soundtrack for the movie Juno. A scene in the film even portrays the characters singing the song. The Juno soundtrack hit number one on the American Billboard 200. Due to popular demand, Anyone Else but You was re-released as a single in 2008.

Style and Mood

The instrumentation for Anyone Else But You is about as simple as it gets, with gentle strumming on an acoustic guitar. The easygoing music is a perfect complement to the delightful and decidedly quirky lyrics, which the couple sing to each other in youthful, matter-of-fact voices, and which brilliantly capture the fresh, unique experience of first love.

You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift got her start in country music, but she scored her second country-to-pop crossover hit with You Belong With Me. The song was released in two versions. The first version was intended for Swift's country fans and emphasized acoustic instrumentation, including a banjo. The second version was directed toward her pop fans and put the spotlight on rocking electric guitars.

Song History

You Belong With Me was released in 2009 and climbed up the Billboard Hot 100 to peak at the number three slot. The song was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. The video for You Belong With Me won MTV's award for Best Female Video.

Style and Mood

As a country and pop crossover hit, You Belong With Me combines elements of both genres with its infectious beat, lilting melody, and frank, down-to-earth feel. The lyrics are direct, earnest, and straight from the heart. The song is about unrequited love. A teenage girl has a crush on a boy who is dating a popular cheerleader. The young girl wants him to wake up to the fact she's the one who truly understands him and can love him the way he deserves to be loved.

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

With an irresistibly catchy tune and a beat that makes you want to dance, Katy Perry's anthem to young love, Teenage Dream, is ranked number four on Rolling Stone's list of the 50 best songs of 2010. Billboard places the song at number two on its list of the 20 best songs of the 2010s so far.

Song History

Released in 2010, Teenage Dream was the second single from Katy Perry's album of the same name. The song debuted at number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100, making it a Hot Shot Debut. It soon shot to the top of the chart and stayed there for two weeks.

Style and Mood

Teenage Dream is a pop song with a buoyant 80s feel. In a soft, breathy voice, Katy Perry sings the lyrics to the song's verses, describing how she feels safe enough to open her heart to her high school love interest, since he loves her even when she messes up punch lines to jokes and when she's not wearing her makeup. In the song's chorus, Perry delivers strong, syncopated vocals with a driving beat to capture the intense, incomparable feeling of young love, of wanting to run away together and never look back.

What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

What Makes You Beautiful is the song that immediately launched One Direction, a boy band from the United Kingdom, to the heights of musical stardom. The song was the first single they released and came from their debut album Up All Night. One Direction got its start as an act on the British program X-Factor.

Song History

Released in 2011, What Makes You Beautiful became an international sensation. The song debuted at number one on the U. K. and Irish singles charts. In the U.S., it peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. What Makes You Beautiful has sold nearly 4.9 million copies in the U.S. and is the band's best-selling song.

Style and Mood

What Makes You Beautiful is a guitar-driven pop song with a pulsing beat that makes you want to dance. It has a fun and frothy 50s rock vibe, which is particularly evident in its opening guitar riff and its soulful vocal harmonies. The lyrics, which would melt any teenage girl's heart, are written from the perspective of a young man who wants to let his sweetheart know how beautiful she is, though she doesn't seem to realize it.

Love You Like a Love Song by Selena Gomez & the Scene

With its perky beat and G-rated, gushing lyrics that describe a new relationship, Love You Like a Love Song is a tune that many teenage girls will want to put on repeat while thinking about their crush. It's the sort of song that moves into your mind and plays itself again and again.

Song History

Released in 2011, Love You Like a Love Song is the first song on Selena Gomez' third album When the Sun Goes Down. As the second single released from the album, the song reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. At the time the song was released, Selena Gomez had just begun a romantic relationship with teen pop superstar Justin Bieber.

Style and Mood

Love You Like a Love Song is an electronic pop song with a pulsing 1980s-style beat and a disco vibe. Selena Gomez' vocals are delivered in an almost ethereal tone as she describes her passion for her new love interest. In lyrics to which any teenage girl in love can relate, Selena sings about how she wants to put the love she shares with her boyfriend on eternal repeat, just like a favorite love song.

Die in Your Arms by Justin Bieber

Die in Your Arms has teen love song written all over it with a retro feel that an MTV News reviewer favorably compared to the sweet, soda pop sound of the Jackson 5. Rolling Stone ranked the song number 45 on its list of the 50 best songs of 2012.

Song History

Soon after the 2012 release of Die in Your Arms to iTunes, the song shot up to the digital store's number three position. It had 185,000 downloads in its first week and reached number four on the Hot Digital Songs Chart. The song was dubbed a Hot Shot Debut when it hit the Billboard Hot 100 at number seventeen.

Style and Mood

Die in Your Arms, a laid-back and soulful song, features Justin Bieber earnestly crooning to his beloved in a voice that will make you think of a youthful Michael Jackson. You'll hear a melodic piano accompaniment and snapping fingers, which complement the song's mellow hip hop beat. Lyrically, the song speaks to Justin Bieber's complete immersion in his love for his sweetheart, that he dies in her arms every time she touches him, and if there's any reason for her to call him a fool, it's because he "loves too hard."

Heart Attack by Demi Lovato

With her impressive vocal range, Demi Lovato truly does justice to Heart Attack, a song about how frightening it is for her to let down her defenses and fall in love. Clearly, though, she's pretty much there already, and it's making her exhilarated and nervous at the same time.

Song History

Heart Attack was released in 2013 as the lead single to Demi Lovato's fourth album. In the first week after its release, sales of the single topped 215,000 copies, earning it the number four spot on the Billboard Digital Songs chart. Heart Attack reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the charts for twenty weeks.

Style and Mood

The centerpiece of of Heart Attack is its strong, pulsing beat, which brings to mind a pounding heart. As an EDM (electronic dance music) song, its rhythm makes you want to dance, and Demi Lovato's vocal prowess brings the emotion in the lyrics to life. When she sings about how her new love interest makes her glow, she draws out the word "glow" like she means it. The song speaks to the anxiety young lovers feel when faced with the intensity of their emotions and their fear of being hurt.

Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony

From girl group Fifth Harmony comes Sledgehammer, a song with captivating harmonies, a driving beat, and a refrain that will make you want to sing along. The song struck such a strong note with young audiences it garnered a nomination at the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Love Song.

Song History

Fifth Harmony, who got their start on X Factor, released Sledgehammer in 2014 as their second single from Reflection, their debut album. The song became Fifth Harmony's first top forty hit, peaking at number 40. In June 2015, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the single as Platinum.

Style and Mood

Sledgehammer hooks listeners with its phenomenally catchy refrain, in which the girls of Fifth Harmony blend their voices to perfection. The song is backed by an irresistible EDM beat that brings to mind a heart beating like a sledgehammer. The lyrics capture that rosy feeling of first attraction, in which a young couple-to-be is feeling a pull to each other that cannot and will not be denied.

I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen

I Really Like You is a guaranteed earworm, with a peppy, upbeat chorus that will put down roots in your head, then play itself on repeat. The video for the song features Tom Hanks and Justin Bieber and was named one of the ten best videos of 2015 by Billboard.

Song History

I Really Like You, a tune from Carly Rae Jepsen's album Emotion, was released as a single in 2015 to all digital outlets after she performed the song on Good Morning America. The song was a hit in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., debuting at number fourteen on the Canadian chart and at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100. I Really Like You hit number three on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Style and Mood

Though Carly Rae Jepson sings "It's not love," she makes perfectly clear a subtext of "not yet," because according to her lyrics, that's where things are headed. In I Really Like You, she's in that delicious in-between stage, during which a new romance is blossoming into what will become full-fledged love. Backed up by a flirty synthpop beat, Carly Rae Jepsen lets her love interest know she really, really likes him. The sheer number of times she sings "really" lets the listener know it's only a matter of time until she makes a declaration of love.

One Call Away by Charlie Puth

In One Call Away, Charlie Puth sings to the girl he loves that he will always be there for her, no matter what. Like the song, the video will warm your heart. It begins with Charlie Puth at a grand piano, then segues into classroom scenes and snippets from daily life that demonstrate his devotion to his beloved. The song won a mention on USA Today as Song of the Week.

Song History

Released in 2015, One Call Away was the second single from Nine Track Mind, Charlie Puth's debut album. The song peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 26 weeks on the charts. In Australia, the song reached number three on the ARIA charts.

Style and Mood

One Call Away is a soulful piano ballad with a gospel feel, and it demonstrates Charlie Puth's considerable skill at the keyboard. In a tone that combines gentleness and strength, he sings to the girl he loves that whenever she needs him, he will be there to "save the day" and that Superman has "nothing on him." He wants her to know not only does he love her, he wants to be the consistent, best friend she can rely on.

Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes

In Treat You Better, teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes sings the words that any teenage girl who's been through a difficult relationship would love to hear. He pledges that unlike his love interest's previous boyfriend, he will treat her well because she "deserves a gentleman."

Song History

Treat You Better, the lead single off Illuminate, Shawn Mendes' second album, was released in 2016 when he was 17 years old. It peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent a total of 36 weeks on the charts. The song also rose to number one on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

Style and Mood

A sweet-spirited pop song, the light musical production of Treat You Better provides a good background to shine a spotlight on Shawn Mendes' heartfelt lyrics, in which he pleads with the girl he loves to reconsider her current romance with an abusive boy who treats her poorly. In asking his beloved to take his hand, Mendes promises that they'll be fine and that she won't have to cry anymore.

September Song by JP Cooper

Nobody forgets their first love, and that's the poignant message of JP Cooper's September Song. JP Cooper, a British artist, is signed with Island Records, which was also Bob Marley's label. Cooper has become well-known for creating soulful music with romantic overtones.

Song History

September Song was released in 2016 as the lead single from We Were Raised Under Gray Skies, JP Cooper's first full-length album. The song peaked at number seven on the U.K. Singles Chart, and it hit number four on the Scottish charts. September Song also did well in Sweden, reaching number sixteen.

Style and Mood

During his youthful musical formation, JP Cooper sang with a gospel choir, and its influence shows in September Song, a neo-soul piano ballad with a reggae vibe. The hand claps give the song a retro feel which complements its subject: Cooper's memories of his first love, with whom he spent his fifteenth summer. Even after the passage of many years, he still thinks about his first love and regularly plays the mix tape they made.

Don't Let Me Down by the Chainsmokers featuring Daya

Don't Let Me Down explores how love can make you feel vulnerable, especially when you're going through tough times and fearing that you might not always have your beloved by your side. Written and recorded by the Chainsmokers, an EDM group, the song features the vocal gifts of teenage singer-songwriter Daya. The Chainsmokers and Daya collectively won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.

Song History

Don't Let Me Down was released in 2016 and wound up as the eighth best-selling single of the year. Rolling Stone included the tune on its list of the 30 best songs of 2016 so far. Don't Let Me Down peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent an astonishing 52 weeks on the charts.

Style and Mood

With its dreamy bed of EDM music spiked with Daya's rich and skillful vocals, Don't Let Me Down has an airy feel that's grounded by its solid dance floor beat. In the song, Daya implores the object of her heart's desire to stick by her when she needs him the most. Though she fears he might let her down in her time of difficulty, she hopes her fear of losing him is only in her head.

How Would You Feel (Paean) by Ed Sheeran

To build momentum for the release of his third album, Divide, Ed Sheeran released two singles, Shape of You and Castle on the Hill. Afterward, he released a third song, How Would You Feel, as a gift to his fans. The promotional track is a paean, or ode, to his girlfriend in which he celebrates their love and special memories from their early years in high school.

Song History

How Would You Feel was released in 2017 as a promo track, but not as an official single. Ed Sheeran told Ryan Seacrest in an interview that he'd forgotten about the song, but when he asked his girlfriend which of his songs was her favorite, she chose How Would You Feel. Sheeran wound up recording it for the album, then releasing it to fans on his birthday.

Style and Mood

With its lilting melody and piano-based accompaniment with touches of acoustic guitar and percussion, How Would You Feel is an uplifting romantic ballad. It gives a glimpse into the blossoming of Ed Sheeran's romance with his high school sweetheart, Cherry Seaborn. Any young couple can relate to the lyrics, which are filled with images of stealing kisses, hanging out in a parked car, and sitting on a friend's roof watching the sky while the sun "replaced the moon."

Music to Fall in Love By

If you're a teenager, you've probably thought about how good music is almost like a soundtrack for your life. Love songs are particularly special since they accompany your thoughts and experiences with that special someone. If you have grown up and are looking back at your teenage years, these songs are sure to hold special poignancy. No matter where you are on the road of your life, good songs endure and stand the test of time.

Love Songs for Teenagers