Valentines Day is upon us. Whether you love it or loathe it, ‘Love Is In The Air’! Songwriters all over the world have been penning love songs for hundreds of years, spanning from Shakespeare’s romantic sonnets in the 1600′s to the modern day pop songs we hear today. But what is it about these lyrics and melodies that invoke real emotions in us and can bring a tear to your eye?

Psychologists and other music experts have devised various theories over the years to try to assess what it is about these songs that musters such a strong emotional reaction in the listener. In recent times, Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience Jacob Jolj thinks he might have sussed it. Whilst working with Spotify, Jolij has tirelessly examined an endless selection love songs to decide what constitutes the ultimate love song. He used his tried and tested musical agenda which assesses tempo, rhythm and chord progression to assemble the formula.

Jolij’s research revealed that the perfect love song adheres to this magic formula:

Sentimental lyrics + slow tempo + syncopated rhythm + major key + standard chord progression = the perfect love song.

Could a bit of syncopation and a slower tempo really be the power behind the perfect love song?

After compiling a list of the top 14 most technically perfect love songs ever, Jolij finally concluded that the ultimate love song fitting his calculated formula is Adele’s cover of Bob Dylan’s song ‘Make You Feel My Love’.

“‘You clearly hear the syncopated rhythm in the melody – it’s (approximately) ONE – and – two – and – THREE – and – four – AND – ONE – and – two – and – THREE – and – four – AND – ONE – and etc. You see that there are two accents close together, repeating every bar.

This creates the feel of a relaxed heartbeat, a sound we are very familiar with, as that is what we heard during our period in the womb. Some researchers believe this is the reason why these rhythms have a soothing and relaxing quality


Also making their way into the list were Alicia Keys’ song ‘If I Ain’t Got You’, Whitney Houston classic ‘I Will Always Love You’ and many more. Check out the top 14 in full in the Perfect Love Songs playlist below.

Do you agree this selection of love songs is the best of the best or has this new found formula proven ineffective? Let us know. All we know is, we had hoped surely the smooth love guru Barry White would have made the cut!