The best love songs of this millennium


Story highlights

Because music is so subjective, what makes a great love song is hard to define

Here's our list of the 16 best love songs of this millennium (so far)

Editor’s Note: CNN’s Sweet ‘16 series celebrates 16 things we like in 2016 in such areas as entertainment, travel, food and culture.

CNN —  

What makes a great love song?

The answer, of course, is in the ears of the beholder. What makes one listener swoon may grate on another like the sound of a dial-up modem. And almost any song can become a love song if it conjures an emotional memory of someone we love, or loved.

As the most universal – and the most shopworn – of subjects, love has been inspiring songwriters for centuries. Of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, “love” appears in the lyrics more than any other word.

Yes, love songs are more common than Internet cats. Great love songs, however, are much rarer.

Making a shortlist of the greatest love songs of all time would be a daunting task because there are just so many (see the gallery above). So we narrowed our criteria.

Here’s our list of the 16 best love songs since 2000 – defined as an affirmation of desire toward someone, preferably with some emotional heft. Our rules: Songs in English only, sorry. No more than one song per artist. And no wildly obscu