Discussion: Favorite “Romantic” Songs

No, no. We’re not talking about your standard “love songs” here. Sure, country music is filled with some of the finest odes to romantic love this side of Solomon 8:6. But once in a good while, it gets more…specific. You know? A little less distant in focus, a little more…intimate.

Of course, the best songs (and Country Universe discussion posts) usually don’t come right out and say what they’re about. They let the lyrics paint a suggestive picture, and leave it to the listener to figure out what’s going on. In the best records, that picture is also conveyed through an equally expressive vocal performance.

The model example of this sort of song would have to be Charlie Rich’s 1973 classic “Behind Closed Doors.” Over a gently swaying melody that steadily climbs into a joyous celebration of activities unseen, Rich coos and croons with the sort of swagger that could make a Sunday School song sound vaguely dirty.

Of course, sometimes it’s prudent to just come right out and say what’s on your mind. To my way of thinking, that approach is nowhere better exemplified than in Alison Krauss & Union Station’s take on the Robert Lee Castleman tune, “Let Me Touch You For Awhile.” Even in that record, though, the bulk of the sensuality lies in the tense situation implied in the lyrics and in Krauss’ Siren-esque vocal, rather than in an explicit run-down of the business at hand (or, to the singer’s chagrin, not at hand).

And then sometimes, a song is just alluring because it’s sung in an alluring way, without a whole lot of mention of any particular activity. Trisha Yearwood’s silky-smooth touch on “Cowboys Are My Weakness” is one of my favorite recent examples of that phenomenon:

But of course, just as everyone likes their eggs a different way, everyone has their preferred “romantic” stylings. The question is, friends, which country songs do you find the most “romantic”?

(And keep it clean!)


  1. Probably she isn’t considered “country” by Nashville standards, but a song of recent vintage of this type is “Trouble Over Me”, by North Carolina-born alt-country chanteuse Tift Merritt, from her 2002 debut album BRAMBLE ROSE. There’s a faintly sexual quality to both Tift’s voice and the lyrics (IMHO).

  2. I prefer a song with a really slow groove to it. Maybe Sara Evans’ ‘Tonight’ or ‘Trying To Love You’ by Trisha Yearwood.

  3. Although tonight’s conversation with one of my buddies just reminded both of us of our lack of luck in this arena, I’ll still bite.

    For romantic love, nothing beats “When You Say Nothing At All”. I’m partial to the Alison Krauss version, but the Keith Whitley classic is wonderful as well.

    For desperate love, how about “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, the Kris Kristofferson gem that Sammi Smith turned into a smoldering, sexy ode to sweet, sweet comfort.

    And for what’s-love-got-to-do-with-it love, “Shut Up and Kiss Me” by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

  4. I agree that there’s a difference between love songs and romantic songs.

    Of the smoldering variety:
    Vince gill with Diana Krall, “Faint Of Heart”
    Garth Brooks, “Meet Me In Love”
    Daryl Worley, “Opportunity Of A Lifetime”
    Brad Paisley, “It’s Raining You”

    I chose thos songs because they’d fit perfectly in the background of a nice romantic evening without getting in the way.

    Of course, there are also songs like Josh Turner’s “Your Man”, Gary Allan’s “Nothin’ On But The Radio” and James Otto’s “Just Got Started Loving You”, but they’re a bit more conspicuous and may not necessarily set the mood.

  5. So, I don’t know how many people picked up on it, but I basically meant this thread to be “songs about sex”/”sexiest songs.” Not that I haven’t liked the responses so far; I’m just sayin’! I guess I was too subtle…

  6. In the direction Dan is talking about, I still choose Sara’s ‘Tonight’. Every line in that one grabbed me and drew me in. From the opener “If I had a weakness you sure found it tonight” to the ‘action lines’ in the chorus: Lay me down easy/hold on tight/tell me I’m the only one you see tonight”, I just fell for this song right off. In the same vein, Reba had a song called ‘All of You’ from a collector’s edition CD that paints the same imagery in the listeners’ mind.

    Others I can think of right off are the obvious tracks from Conway Twitty and ‘Would You Lay With Me In a Field of Stone’ recorded by Tanya Tucker. (David Allan Coe is way underrated as a songwriter.)

    More recently, I have really liked ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ by Little Big Town.

  7. I know you weren’t talking about ‘obvious’ ones but “Man That I Am” by James otto is quite a “romantic” song that actaully be a bit dirty too…

    Leeann, I had the privilege of having a very gifted singer (who’s vocally similar to Tift Merritt) sing “When You Say Nothing At All” at a party next door last night. She then did a duet with my next door neighbor: Jackson. Ahh fun.

  8. I also love Conway Twitty’s “I’d Love To Lay You Down.” Dierks Bentley’s “Come A Little Closer” reminds me of Twitty’s song, but it’s not quite as good.

  9. As JR mentioned, I also like Sara Evans’ “Tonight”, as well as her song “The Secrets that we keep.” I don’t think it’s a terribly sexy song in terms of the lyrics, but I love “I need you” with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

  10. Okay, now I’m on a roll. “When We Make Love” is good, by Alabama. I used to be embarrassed to hear it when I was a kid. Speaking of Alabama, “Feels So Right” and “Face To Face” are great too. Is this what you’re talking about, Dan?

  11. I’m really very sorry for so many comments on this thread, but I just thought of Tim McGraw’s “Put Your Lovin On Me.” It’s definitely about sex, but I don’t know that it’s so much in the romantic sense. I think the act is somewhat being used as a band aid for some unexplained deep pain.

    “There’s nothing here to catch me now
    I’m gonna fall anyway
    It’s just that kinda day
    You might not know me good but you know me good enough
    To make me okay, okay

    Just close your eyes and put your lovin’ on me
    Put your lovin’ on me
    Take this weight off me
    And put your lovin’ on me

    There’s a chance that you might see something rolling off my cheek
    But don’t stop it’s not you
    Make me forget, be my drug get me high on your touch
    For the night alright


    Put your lovin’ on me
    Put your lovin’ on me
    Put your lovin’ on me
    Put your lovin’ on me
    Take this weight off me
    And put your lovin’ on me”

    This song is interesting to me because it can be mistaken as a love song on the surface, but it clearly isn’t upon further inspection. It certainly wouldn’t woo me, anyway.:)

  12. “What I’d Give” by Sugarland hasn’t been mentioned yet. I personally love the background music, especially the post-lude (Is that what it’s called?).

  13. Dierks Bentley – “Come A Little Closer”
    Keith Urban – “Raining On Sunday”
    Billy Currington – “Must Be Doin’ Something Right”
    Deana Carter – “Strawberry Wine”
    Juile Roberts – “Rain On A Tin Roof”
    K.T. Oslin – “Hold Me”

  14. Lannibug thanks for reminding me:

    Jeff Bates – “One thing”
    Jason Matthews – “Evening All Afternoon”
    Jason McCoy – “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On”
    Sugarland/Matt Nathanson – “Come On Get Higher”

  15. Matt B,

    I enjoy the Sugarland version of “Come On Get Higher”, but I’m absolutely in love with the Matt Nathanson original. It’s definitely in that immediate, intimate category that Dan was proposing.

  16. Matt Nathanson is a good artist. I’ve enjoyed his music for a long time now. I’m just glad he’s getting some radio success (with that song actually) for himself.

  17. Hopefully his now-greater profile will lead to more opportunities for him. I actually prefer Beneath These Fireworks to his more-recent Some Mad Hope. His songs have that sexy slant that would fit well into this list if any pop-country artists were to do their own versions.

  18. As soon as I read this, Dierks Bentley’s “Come a Little Closer” came to mind. I also like Conway’s “Lay You Down.”

    And since I just heard it on the radio, I’m not saying its a good choice but since I was just listening to it, Jessica Simpson’s “Come On Over” can be mentioned. Haha

    And a song that is not romantic but it does talk about sex is Lee Ann Womack’s “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” I think we’d all agree it does talk about ‘mattress mambo’

  19. Yeah, That was my first introduction to his music. It’s funny because I originally bought it due to the shared first name (not many ‘stars’ have it) and then, all of the sudden, There were performers with my name everywhere (all of them around my age too).

  20. Matt Nathanson’s a great melodic songwriter, though I swear I’ve heard him use that “car crash” metaphor in at least two different songs. “Little Victories” was the gateway drug for me.

  21. Y’know, I wonder if I shouldn’t re-activate The Lost Highway as a ‘good’ pop music blog for singer/songwriters…The problem is I have little time as it is…

    back to on-topic stuff, “Everytime Two Fools Collide” by Kenny and Dottie West and “Daytime Friends” as well…

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