There was a time when every hard rock band had at least one song about love, and usually much more than that. Of course, the world was a different place back then. The classics will always have a place in the hearts of fans from past generations, but what about those who are looking to discover more modern hard rock love songs?
While hard rock love songs have become something of a lost art, there are still a number of them to be found if you know where to look.
On the first Valentine’s Day since the launch of the site, Hard Rock Daddy presents the Top 20 Modern Hard Rock Songs. All of the songs on this list were released in the 2000s. A song-by-song breakdown is listed below the playlist of songs, which can also be found on the Hard Rock Daddy Network (HRD’s YouTube channel).
 HALESTORM – “Here’s To Us”
Real love happens to real people in real life, and it usually isn’t anything like the romanticized version that is created for entertainment purposes in film and television. Almost every long-term relationship has to endure the curveballs that life throws at you from time to time. It is at those moments that you learn the true strength of your bond. “Here’s To Us” celebrates real love happening to real people in real life in an unusual way. Like many classic power ballads of days gone by, the song vacillates between moments of emotional sweetness and powerful ballsiness. However, unlike any other hard rock love song in memory, it is filled with the salty language that is often times used in real life. Halestorm vocalist, Lzzy Hale, obliterates any stereotype that one may have about female hard rock singers with her perfect delivery of “Here’s To Us,” a song that clearly illustrates the two most important opinions in any relationship.
“Here’s to us…here’s to love…all the times that we messed up…here’s to you, fill the glass…cause the last few nights have kicked my ass…if they give you hell…tell ‘em go f**k themselves!”
 SHINEDOWN – “I’ll Follow You”
“I’ll Follow You” is one of the most unique hard rock songs in recent memory. Brent Smith singing with piano accompaniment is eerily reminiscent of classic Elton John, not exactly what you expect from one of the premier bands in hard rock today. Of course, when you have a brilliant vocalist like Smith, you can stretch your musical boundaries and still appeal to a dedicated fanbase. At times, the lyrics to “I’ll Follow You” (like the ones below) directly illustrate the love story being told. At other times, the lyrics are somewhat cryptic, yet incredibly poetic. Like most great songs, you don’t necessarily need to know the exact meaning of the lyrics to be emotionally moved. This is one of those times.
“I’ll follow you down, through the eye of the storm…don’t worry, I’ll keep you warm…I’ll follow you down, while we’re passing through space…I don’t care if we fall from grace…I follow you down to where forever lies…without a doubt I’m on your side…there’s nowhere else that I would rather be.”
 ALL THAT REMAINS – “What If I Was Nothing”
All That Remains has a history that dates back to the late 90’s as a melodic death metal band, eventually evolving into a melodic metalcore band. With the most recent album, A War You Cannot Win, the band has evolved into more mainstream metal, gaining traction on radio with songs like “What If I Was Nothing.” The song shows the surprising vulnerable side of frontman, Phil Labonte, an outspoken, self-proclaimed troublemaker. By wearing his heart on his sleeve and admitting that he is nothing without the girl that he is pining for, Labonte and All That Remains have effectually modernized the traditional power ballad and created an incredible hard rock love song.
“What if I was nothing?…What if this is true?…What if I was nothing, girl, nothing without you?…So what if I was angry…what did you think I’d do?…I told you that I love you, girl…I’m nothing without you.”
 APOCALYPTICA (feat. Brent Smith) – “Not Strong Enough”
Apocalyptica is an eclectic, Finnish metal band that has over a 20-yr history. The band originally started out as four classically trained cellists playing Metallica covers on cello at Sibelius Academy. Through the years, they have evolved to include guest musicians on their recordings, most of which are purely instrumental. “Not Strong Enough” is one of four songs (out of 12) with vocals from Apocalyptica’s album entitled 7th Symphony. With Brent Smith’s distinct voice and style, “Not Strong Enough” sounds more like Shinedown with strings, which is the likely reason that it received regular airplay on stations like SiriusXM’s Octane. Smith’s passionate delivery is a perfect complement to the beautiful and powerful musical arrangement. Lyrically, the song addresses the challenge that many people face at one time or another…the battle between heart and mind.
“And I know it’s wrong, and I know it’s right…even if I try to win the fight…my heart would overrule my mind…and I’m not strong enough to stay away.”
 STONE SOUR – “Say You’ll Haunt Me”
“Say You’ll Haunt Me” is far from a typical hard rock love song. It has a haunting quality that makes it both melancholic and intriguing at the same time. Corey Taylor is one of the best vocalists in hard rock today, and his ability to write infectious melodies is on full display with “Say You’ll Haunt Me.” At first blush it may seem like the song is about a desire to spend eternity with the one you love. However, in addition to his unique songwriting abilities, Taylor readily admitted in his book, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven, that he has had several paranormal experiences, so this song appears to be more than just poetic license.
“Say you want to stay…you want me to…say you’ll never die…you’ll always haunt me…I want to know I belong to you…say you’ll haunt me…together, together, we’ll be together…together forever.”
 BUCKCHERRY – “Sorry”
Buckcherry made their debut in 1995, a challenging time in hard rock to say the least. With grunge all the rage on the heels of Nirvana’s success, there wasn’t much excitement about traditional hard rock bands. Although the response to “Lit Up” was very positive, Buckcherry was victimized by their timing. After seeing the band in a small NYC club, and witnessing Josh Todd up-close-and-personal, there was little doubt that they would become the next big thing. They’ve had their share of success, and have managed to stick around longer than most bands, but they are still largely underrated. Like many of the top hard rock acts that came before them, Buckcherry has an amazing ability to straddle the line between debauchery and romance, which is why they deliver songs like “Sorry” with as much passion as songs like “Crazy Bitch.”
“I love how you kiss…I love all your sounds…and, baby, the way you make my world go round.”
 THE LAST VEGAS – “Apologize”
Chad Cherry – The Last Vegas frontman – embodies everything that made the 80s arguably the best decade for hard rock music. However, the band didn’t make its debut until 2003, and “Apologize” didn’t come out until 2009. Yet, if you heard the song on the radio, you would swear that you were listening to a hidden gem from the 80s that inexplicably managed to elude you. This song is an instant classic with a timeless quality that would have made it just as relevant three decades ago as it is today.
“And you’re an angel…you’re perfection in every way…you’re the one that turns my darkness into light.”
 TOM KEIFER – “Thick And Thin”
Tom Keifer has had his share of challenges since the Cinderella days, most notably a partially paralyzed left vocal cord that almost caused him to never sing again and led to emotional and personal battles. His most recent release, The Way Life Goes, took nearly a decade to complete. The inspired album is a true testament to perseverance. Keifer has undoubtedly had his share of failed relationships as evidenced by songs like “Cold Day In Hell,” “It’s Not Enough” and “Ain’t That A Bitch.” However, he eventually found peace and happiness with his wife, Savannah, who co-wrote and sang on the album. The chemistry between the two is undeniable. Her inspiration resulted in “Thick And Thin,” a truly great love song about always being there for someone. Keifer shows impressive range on the song, showcasing at times, a Rod-Stewart-like raspy quality that perfectly captures the emotions of the lyrics.
“I’ll walk with you until our souls got no skin…cause we can’t lose…we’ll only win…thick and thin…dry your tears when you are crying…thick and thin…be the truth in a world that’s lying…thick and thin…give up my last breath if you were dying…I’ll stand by you…thick and thin.”
 W.E.T. – “Love Heals”
Released in 2013, “Love Heals” is a throwback to the glory days of heavy metal power ballads. Frontman extraordinaire, Jeff Scott Soto, has thirty years of experience, and his bio reads like a who’s who of hard rock history (Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, etc.). He even provided the vocals for the fictional band, Steel Dragon, in the movie Rock Star (with Mark Wahlberg). While W.E.T. is a relatively new project, Soto hails from the hard rock love song era. If you are fan of 80s power ballads, you will absolutely be a fan of W.E.T. and “Love Heals.”
“Love heals…love feels alive…cause love’s here when you’re by my side…and love frees…love’s real this time…and love sees the man here inside….love heals, love heals.”
 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE – “Hearts Burst Into Fire”
Bullet For My Valentine may be the least romantic band name in hard rock history. Factor in songs like “Temper Temper” and “Riot,” and you get the feeling that they are all about anger, but they’re not. The truth of the matter is that, despite their penchant for aggression, their music is incredibly melodic, and “Hearts Burst Into Fire” shows that they have another side to them. Make no mistake, this song is not a ballad, or even a power ballad for that matter, but it is about love. Crunching guitars, driving drum beats and powerful guitar harmonies provide the backdrop to a love song that addresses the issue that many touring musicians face…long distance relationships with long periods of absence.
“My bed’s so cold, so lonely…no arms, just sheets to hold me… I’ve been far away…when I see your face…hearts burst into fire”
 SLASH (feat. Myles Kennedy) – “Apocalyptic Love”
Hard rock love songs generally address the same subject matter, albeit in a variety of ways. The dynamic duo of Slash and Myles Kennedy have taken an entirely different approach to creating their version of a hard rock love song. Whereas most typical love songs focus on the concept of long-lasting love, “Apocalyptic Love” is a song about a relationship that has one night left as the world comes to an end. In its own way, it may be the most romantic song on this list because it is setting the stage for eternal love by looking at the end of the world as a beginning rather than an end.
“We’ll dance under the burning sky…watch it die…no sorrow, no sorrow…together as the fires rage…and erase tomorrow, tomorrow….and when it’s all said and done…we will have love until the very end of time.”
 SIXX: A.M. – “Smile”
As a side project, Sixx: A.M. is already becoming one of the best hard rock bands around. If there is a silver lining to Mötley Crüe’s recent retirement announcement, it is the possibility that Sixx: A.M. will become more than just a supergroup side project. To date, the band’s albums have been soundtracks to accompany Nikki Sixx’s books: The Heroin Diaries and This Is Gonna Hurt. James Michael is well-known in hard rock circles as a producer, songwriter and mixer, but his vocals on “Smile” (and Sixx A.M. songs in general) should get him mentioned with the great singers of today. In Mötley Crüe’s heyday, love songs and hard rock music went hand-in-hand, so it’s not surprising that Sixx: A.M. has delivered a hard rock love song for the ages with “Smile.”
“And all my life, I’ve been waiting for someone like you…to make me smile…to make me feel alive…and you’ve given me everything I’ve ever wanted in life…you make me smile, and I forget to breathe…what’s an angel like you ever do with a devil like me?”
 BLACK STONE CHERRY – “Hell & High Water”
The heyday of southern hard rock has long since passed, but thanks to this Kentucky-bred quartet, it is very much alive and well in modern times. Inspired by the likes Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band, Black Stone Cherry creates their magic within the confines of a rundown Kentucky farmhouse, dubbed “The Practice House.” Chris Robertson’s soulful voice is on full display in this southern-fried love song. The band has a true appreciation for the simpler things in life. Perhaps their lack of burning desire for material possessions is what fuels their down-to-earth lyrics and timeless rock and roll sound. “Hell & High Water” is a great introduction to those who have not yet discovered this band on the rise.
“I’ve seen a million faces…been to a million places…but, girl, there’s no one quite like you.. I’d walk through hell and high water…wash away with the tide…I can lose a damn war all by myself, if you were on the other side.”
 RED – “Best Is Yet To Come”
When a relationship hits a bump in the road, the natural reaction is to want to go back to the point in time when things were at their best. But the answers to the problems of today don’t lie in the past, and we can’t stop time from putting distance between yesterdays and tomorrows (“an hourglass we can’t rewind…holding back the life that I’ve denied for so long”). “Best Is Yet To Come” is a song of hope, that there is always a chance for a new beginning in a relationship.
“I still believe our lives have just begun…cause now the past can be outrun…and I know you are the reason…I still believe the best is yet to come.”
 PAPA ROACH – “No Matter What”
Papa Roach songs are nothing if not passionate, regardless of the subject matter, which is not surprising given frontman Jacoby Shaddix’s battles with addiction and suicidal thoughts. What makes Papa Roach stand out is their ability to seamlessly incorporate various music styles into songs based on the subject at hand. If you’ve ever seen Shaddix with his son, you can easily tell that, despite his troubled past, he is loving and dedicated. “No Matter What” has some dark undertones, but ultimately, it is a love song that speaks from the heart.
“No matter what…I got your back…I’ll take a bullet for you if it comes to that…I swear to God, that in the bitter end…we’re gonna be the last ones standing.”
 SAVING ABEL – “I Need You”
With their hit songs, “Addicted” and “The Sex Is Good,” Saving Abel showed that they have a knack for writing songs about the physical aspects of relationships. “I Need You” shows that they also value the emotional aspect of relationships, and what it takes to overcome obstacles to make them last.
“I need you, like the sun needs the rain…can’t think of any better way to say…I need you…say you need me too.”
 ART OF DYING – “Falling”
“Falling” is an upbeat, catchy love song with a great hook that poetically addresses the long odds of finding the perfect person with lyrics like… “a grain of sand, how did I find you?”. This Canadian quintet, led by Jonny Hetherington (vocals), was the first act signed to Intoxication Records (David Draiman and Dan Donegan’s label). In their relatively short existence, they have put out a number of great songs, “Falling” being one of them.
“I keep falling in love with you every day…you’re the one that I knew I’d find…and every moment we spend is another away…this love’s for life.”
 WAYLAND – “Reason To Love”
As a relative newcomer on the hard rock scene, Wayland is just starting to draw attention with a sound that is reminiscent of Journey. The band, managed by Jackyl’s Jesse James Dupree, stands out because they don’t sound like most of today’s music, largely because of Mitch Arnold’s stellar vocals. “Reason To Love” is a timeless love song that is likely just the tip of the iceberg for these Michigan rockers.
“Baby I was born to love you…and give you all you need and that’s the truth…you hold my heart…now you’re lifting up my soul…you give me a reason to love.”
 MY DARKEST DAYS – “Without You”
When you find the person that you want to spend your life with, your whole world changes. But sometimes, things happen in life that make being together challenging. In “Without You,” a love is professed, and a plea to stay together is made, even if it means uprooting a life and starting anew someplace else. As the saying goes…home is where the heart is.
“If I had my way, I’d spend every moment right by your side…and if I could stop time…believe me, I’d try for you and I…and each moment you’re gone…is a moment too long in my life.”
 HINDER – “The Love I Live For”
There is a nostalgic romanticism that we all attach to first love, which is probably why there are numerous songs about the subject, in addition to television shows, movies and books. However, most people don’t end up spending their lives with their first love. Most of the time, someone’s first love is someone else’s destiny. Austin Winkler’s raspy vocals capture the emotion of finding the last love, the one that makes all other relationships pale by comparison.
“Looked all my life…and, baby, here’s the truth…been around the world, and ain’t a girl that could even come close to you…girl, you got me forever…it couldn’t be any better…and I promise to grow old with you.”