20 Songs About Wanting Someone You Can’t Have

Exploring the theme of longing for someone unattainable, this article delves into 20 songs that express the heartache and desires of wanting someone you can’t have. From classic rock to modern pop, these tracks articulate the universal experience of unrequited love and the complex emotions it entails.

1. “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

“Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi strikes a chord with its emotional depth, capturing the essence of yearning for an individual who has vacated a significant space in the singer’s life. The song’s narrative revolves around the profound heartache and void that ensues, leaving listeners deeply moved by its sincerity and rawness.

2. “Take This Longing” by Leonard Cohen

“Take This Longing” by Leonard Cohen showcases Cohen’s unparalleled talent in articulating the intricacies of desire and the torment of yearning for the unattainable. His poetic lyrics delve into the complexity of such emotions, resonating with anyone who has experienced the bitter sweetness of longing for someone they cannot have.

3. “Back To You” by Selena Gomez

“Back To You” by Selena Gomez delves into the theme of rekindling a deep-rooted love, highlighting the singer’s introspection on returning to a person despite being fully aware of the challenges ahead. It eloquently captures the internal conflict and the magnetic pull towards a significant other that defines such a complex relationship.

4. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bon Iver

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bon Iver is a soulful rendition that touches on the heart-wrenching realization of unrequited love. The song expresses the painful admission of loving someone who doesn’t reciprocate those feelings, striking a chord with its poignant honesty and emotional delivery.

5. “Layla” by Eric Clapton

“Layla” by Eric Clapton is more than just a classic rock staple; it’s a passionate plea stemming from Clapton’s real-life longing for a love that couldn’t be fulfilled. This track uniquely combines a compelling story with electrifying guitar riffs, encapsulating the intensity of its emotions and the despair of unreachable love.

6. “Cornerstone” by Arctic Monkeys

“Cornerstone” by Arctic Monkeys narrates the poignant experience of seeking a lost love in the faces of others, highlighting the missed connections and the inability to move on. The song stands out for its storytelling, weaving a tale of longing and the haunting presence of someone irreplaceable.

7. “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations

“Just My Imagination” by The Temptations eloquently portrays the act of daydreaming about a life and love with someone who remains just out of reach. Its smooth soul rhythms underscore a narrative of longing and the bittersweet reality of a love that exists only in the imagination.

8. “I Want the One I Can’t Have” by The Smiths

“I Want the One I Can’t Have” by The Smiths captures Morrissey’s keen ability to articulate the feelings of unfulfilled desires and the hopelessness of yearning for someone unattainable. This indie rock track resonates with its listeners through its honest lyrics, encapsulating the angst and melancholy of longing for the unachievable.

9. “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak

“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak delves deep into the theme of forbidden love, exploring the paradox of falling for someone who only brings pain, yet finding the allure in this masochistic relationship. Its haunting melody complements the song’s exploration of desire, heartbreak, and the intoxicating pull of a love that should be avoided.

10. “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift

“You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift captures the essence of yearning for someone who remains oblivious to your affections, seen from Taylor Swift’s perspective. This pop anthem strikes a chord with its energetic beat and relatable lyrics, becoming an anthem for anyone who’s loved someone from the sidelines.

11. “Creep” by Radiohead

“Creep” by Radiohead poignantly examines the internal struggle and feelings of inadequacy that come with longing for someone seen as unattainable. The song’s raw emotional delivery captures the essence of alienation and self-doubt, resonating deeply with listeners who have felt like an outsider in matters of love.

12. “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

“Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield dives into the torment and envy of desiring someone who is already taken, perfectly embodying the universal theme of wanting what you can’t have. This rock classic captures the agony and frustration of unrequited love, making it an enduring anthem for those caught in the throes of such a predicament.

13. “Tears Dry On Their Own” by Amy Winehouse

“Tears Dry On Their Own” by Amy Winehouse masterfully blends personal experience with artistic expression, capturing the journey of dealing with unrequited love. Winehouse’s soulful resilience shines through as she articulates the process of moving on, despite the heartache, showcasing her unique ability to turn pain into powerful music.

14. “Unrequited Love” by Yuna

“Unrequited Love” by Yuna explores the serene acceptance of loving someone from afar and finding peace in letting go. This soul-pop track beautifully conveys the complex emotions of unreciprocated affection, highlighting Yuna’s graceful narration of acceptance and the solace found in release.

15. “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn

“Dancing On My Own” by Robyn captures the empowerment found in dancing alone, paired with the pained acceptance of unreturned affection. This dance anthem becomes a rallying cry for independent women everywhere, embracing the strength in solitude and the grace in acknowledging unrequited love.

16. “Adore You” by Harry Styles

“Adore You” by Harry Styles reflects on the concept of unconditional adoration, regardless of the outcome of the relationship. Through its deep affection conveyed in pop rock melodies, the song captures the intensity of loving someone so profoundly without the assurance of reciprocity.

17. “Liability” by Lorde

“Liability” by Lorde delves into the theme of feeling like too much for someone else and the ensuing solitude that accompanies such realizations. This pop ballad stands out for its honest self-reflection and the portrayal of navigating through the pains of being perceived as a burden in relationships.

18. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers

“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers delves into the deep feeling of missing someone so profoundly that their absence feels like the light has gone out. This timeless soul classic beautifully articulates the void left by a loved one’s absence, resonating with anyone who has experienced such profound loss.

19. “Situationships” by Fabolous

“Situationships” by Fabolous discusses the complexity of modern relationships, where emotional connections exist amidst the absence of traditional labels. Through its hip-hop rhythms, the song captures the nuances of these complicated relationships, resonating with listeners navigating the blurred lines of contemporary romantic entanglements.

20. “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem feat. Rihanna

“Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem feat. Rihanna analyzes the dynamics of a relationship marked by both passion and pain, delving into the cycle of longing and conflict that characterizes toxic love. This powerful collaboration captures the intensity of such a tumultuous relationship through compelling lyrics and a captivating melody.