Top 15 Songs About Platonic Love

 by Sammi Graham, MT-BC

As a music therapist with a sentimental heart I love to create holiday-themed session plans whenever possible, but I’ve found that Valentine’s Day can be a difficult topic to find therapeutic applications for due to its romantic connotations. 

In February of 2019 I created a Valentine’s themed session plan centered on self-love, positive self-talk, and self-worth. This year I wanted to focus on the idea of expressing love in non-romantic relationships. While Valentine’s Day is a rather commercialized holiday, it can simply serve as an opportunity for us to show our appreciation for our loved ones (romantic or otherwise).

With these considerations in mind, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be some of the greatest songs that depict platonic love and relationships. Music therapists can easily incorporate these songs into their practice, and anyone can simply share a meaningful song or this playlist(!) with a loved one this Valentine’s Day to remind them just how much they care.

15. “Poprocks & Coke” by Green Day

This surprisingly wholesome song from Green Day’s 2001 album, International Superhits, is a dependability anthem. This upbeat pop-punk jam is chock-full of positive affirmations and reassurance. 

“If you should fall

You know I’ll be there

To catch the call

You know I’ll be there

I’ll go anywhere

So I’ll see you there”

14. “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars

This charming and catchy song from Bruno Mars’ debut album has been covered and used in commercials to instill feelings of hope and comfort:

“You’ll always have my shoulder when you cry

I’ll never let go

Never say goodbye”

I appreciate that although the song is primarily a one-sided message, the ending tag acknowledges the reciprocation of the relationship:

“You can count on me ’cause I can count on you”

13. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

This Motown classic has an uplifting message that fills the hearts of listeners. The familiar chorus, whether interpreted literally or metaphorically, can be applicable to so many lives and situations:

“there ain’t no mountain high enough

Ain’t no valley low enough

Ain’t no river wide enough

To keep me from getting to you babe”

12. “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King

Carole King’s 1971 Grammy award-winning hit from her best-selling album, Tapestry, is brimming with heartfelt, reassuring lyrics and driven by a beautiful piano accompaniment typical to her style. This song can be affirming for those who live far from their loved ones:

“Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night”

11.  “I’ll Be There”  by The Jackson 5

“I’ll Be There” was a chart-topping hit that made The Jackson 5 the first black male group to achieve four consecutive number-one pop hits. Released when Michael was only 11 years old, this song contains lyrics that are warm and supportive:

“I’ll reach out my hand to you

I’ll have faith in all you do”

“I’ll be there to protect you

With unselfish love that respects you”

10. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen

“You’re My Best Friend” with its bright, pop feel, John Deacon, bassist of Queen, wrote this cheerful tune for his wife.

This song depicts one of the cornerstones of healthy relationships: the idea that both people should lift each other up and encourage each other to be the best version of themselves.

“Whenever this world is cruel to me

I got you to help me forgive”

9. “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

This iconic 1978 disco tune is an unapologetic celebration of affection:

“All of the people around us they say

Can they be that close

Just let me state for the record

We’re giving love in a family dose”

I also love the emphasis of being enthusiastically supportive of one another and celebrating each other’s successes:

“Here’s what we call our golden rule

Have faith in you and the things you do

You won’t go wrong, oh no

This is our family jewel”

8. “Hate to See Your Heart Break” by Paramore

This gentle song from Paramore’s self-titled album is filled with validating and encouraging lyrics for anyone going through hard times:

“For all the air that’s in your lungs

For all the joy that is to come

For all the things that you’re alive to feel

Just let the pain remind you hearts can heal

Well, how were you to know?”

Hayley Williams re-recorded this song with her longtime friend, Joy Williams. In an interview with NPR, Williams had this to say about the song:

“It was never meant as a romantic song between lovers but always a song to a friend. Now it’s even more special. I think of it as an ode to sisterhood. Close friendship between women who share their stories with each other and who lift each other up and understand one another.”

7. “I’ll Stand By You” by Pretenders

“I’ll Stand By You” is a slow ballad atypical of the Pretenders’ standard sound. Used in several charity campaigns, in this song “the singer pledges love and faithful assistance to a loved one in times of personal darkness.”

There are lines that validate and encourage expression of emotion:

“Don’t be ashamed to cry”


“So if you’re mad, get mad

Don’t hold it all inside”

The person passing on this message also reassures their loved one that they will remain nonjudgmental:

“Nothing you confess

Could make me love you less”

6.  “Sunshine On My Shoulders” by John Denver

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. In true John Denver fashion, the lyrics are poetic and they communicate so much in a simple way.

“Sunshine On My Shoulders” is about selflessly wishing all of the happiness in the world for a loved one. For Denver, that happiness is beautiful day outdoors filled with sunshine:

“If I had a day that I could give you

I’d give to you the day just like today

If I had a song that I could sing for you

I’d sing a song to make you feel this way”

5.  “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac

Written by Christine McVie, “Songbird” is a glimmer of light and love amidst the turmoil and pain conveyed in Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. McVie stated that she composed this song as a message to her bandmates. She wanted to remind them that despite everything they’ve been through, they’re still important and cherished friends to her:

 

“And I wish you all the love in the world.

But most of all, I wish it from myself.”

In a TV documentary about the album, McVie said that the song is “about nobody and everybody…in retrospect, it’s like an anthem…a little prayer of sorts.”

4. “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins

“You’ll Be In My Heart”, written and recorded for Disney’s Tarzan, was originally a lullaby composed by Collins for his daughter. This moving and earnest song would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In the context of the movie, this song is shared between Tarzan and his adoptive mother, but the lyrics can apply to so many situations: non-nuclear families, those experiencing grief/loss, etc.

 

“’Cause you’ll be in my heart

Yes, you’ll be in my heart

From this day on

Now and forever more

You’ll be in my heart

No matter what they say

You’ll be here in my heart

Always”

3. “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten

Rachel Platten released “Stand By You” after the success of her breakthrough pop single, “Fight Song”. Platten said the song is “…a love song in its core. …about sticking by the person you love not only when things are easy, but being there for them during trials and letting them know they aren’t alone.”

 

I appreciate that while this song has a positive message it doesn’t shy away from the gritty and ugly parts of life:

 

“Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through

Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you

Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you”

 

“I’ll be your eyes when yours can’t shine

I’ll be your arms, I’ll be your steady satellite

And when you can’t rise, well, I’ll cry with you on hands and knees 

‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you”

2. “Crowded Table” by The Highwomen

Female country music supergroup, The Highwomen, released “Crowded Table” on their self-titled debut album.

As Rolling Stone so eloquently put it, the song is “…much more than a song about wanting a generous domestic life. “Crowded Table” is about looking for a world where everyone is given a chance to fit in… This isn’t about leaning in or fighting for the top chair. It’s about making room.”

While most of the songs on this list focus on singular relationships, this song centers on a feeling of community:

“I want a house with a crowded table

And a place by the fire for everyone”

 

It drives home the idea that one must be willing to give the love they wish to receive:

“If it’s love that we give

Then it’s love that we reap”

 

And emphasizes the importance of being open and understanding:

“Everyone’s a little broken

And everyone belongs”

1. “True Kinda Love” from The Steven Universe: The Movie

“True Kinda Love” is a jazzy tune sung by British singer-songwriter Estelle and Zach Callison (voice of Steven). Steven Universe is an animated children’s series on Cartoon Network that examines heavy issues like depression, boundaries, grief, and trauma in a child-friendly way.

 

This song, performed at the conclusion of the Steven Universe movie, gives an accurate depiction of the effect of mental illness but imparts a validating and encouraging message.

 

“Oh, when a difficult day goes by

Keeping it together is hard but that’s why

You’ve got to try

You’ve got to try

And when there’s a thundering storm outside

Underneath the covers you huddle and hide

Open your eyes

Open your eyes”

 

“Hey, you, show me that solvable problem

We can get through this

I’ll do the hardest part with you”

 

The catchy refrain, “It’s the true kinda love”, can be used as a way to discuss healthy relationships with children.

I hope you enjoyed my list of platonic love songs. Comment below with a song that you’d add to this list!

 

Honorable mentions:

  • “Message of Love” by Pretenders
  • “Perhaps Love” by John Denver
  • “The Perfect Space” by the Avett Brothers
  • “The Rose” by Bette Midler
  • “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman from Toy Story

 

Sammi Graham,MT-BC

Music Therapist – Board Certified

sammi@heartandharmony.com