While there are so many delightful tropes in the romance world, I have a personal favorite: the slow burn. Maybe these characters lock eyes across the room a few times before even talking to each other. Maybe they almost kiss like a dozen times before the author finally lets them lock lips. When I’m writing, I generally go for this tantalizing, torturous long-game with my romantic leads. So, to keep myself sane while frustrating myself just as much as my audience, I’ve created the ultimate playlist of slow-burn love songs.
Clocking in at just under five minutes, this song could be a romance novel all on its own. Catchy and upbeat, this song tells the story of two young lovers who meet as children but don’t find each other until much later in life. The synth and uber-sweet lyrics will give you all the second-chance-romance feels.
I found this song in the same place I found a lot of the music I love—on the soundtrack of MTV’s Teen Wolf. Let’s be honest, how awesome was the music supervision on that show!? Anyways, Addicted by Morgan Page and Greg Laswell tells the story of a lover left behind. The piano gets me every time, and I really hope the lovers in this song get their happy ending eventually…
I’m obsessed with basically every song on Handsome Ghost’s album of the same title—Steps—but something about this song just sticks with me. To me, the lyrics seem to be about two lovers who care deeply about each other but who can’t seem to take that step into romance. The soft voice and melodic lyrics are everything I want in a good song.
G C V is one of the happier songs on this list! This song is upbeat, positive and hopeful. It’s about a boy that’s pining over a friend of a friend, focusing especially on her “Gold Coast Vans.” It’s just an adorable friends-to-lovers song that everyone needs in their life.
This song is nothing short of dreamlike. The hypnotic synth in the background combined with the sweet vocals make this song completely addicting. This song has the feeling of two friends who’ve just crossed the line into romantic territory and, now, never want to look back.
Slow burn doesn’t necessarily mean the character’s don’t get physical! It can also be the slow burn of feelings that happen during a friends-with-benefits or one night stand situation. Taxi by the Maine is about two people who are just “punch-drunk souls” falling for each other. While sad, it’s also uplifting to think that we can find that one person who will lift is out of our darkest moments.
Okay, I’ll be honest here—I probably associate this song with a slow-burn couple because Find You was featured in the 2014 film Divergent. Tris and Four are one of my favorite ships OF all time, so I can’t really hear this song without imagining them training together in the Dauntless compound. It’s a great song regardless, and will certainly get your creativity flowing!
We’ve all been there: in a flirtation with a crush, wondering just what the other person has in mind. Is that arm around your shoulder just a friendly gesture, or something much more? Robert DeLong asks this question in his song Basically, I. (Yes, I got this one from Teen Wolf, too.) It’s an ode to everyone who’s ever wanted to shake someone and ask, “do you like me, or what!?”
Hotel Apache is probably my favorite band right now. It seems like every song they release ends up on repeat in my headphones. Though many of their songs are upbeat and bright, this one is on the sadder side. Maybe, One Day, is an ode to discovering the person you need has been right by your side all along. Friends to lovers, childhood friends, slow burn…some of my favorite tropes in one song!
Chvrches is another one of my favorites. I always find myself connecting to the lyrics in a big way. Miracle is about begging the person you have feelings for to say something about how they feel back. And we’ve all been there—we just want honesty, we’re not asking for a miracle!
Whether you’re stuck in a delicious slow-burn romance yourself at the moment, or just writing about one, this playlist is the perfect way to get into the zone! Listen for yourself here.