February 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Adam Graham

Make your sweetie an old-fashioned mixtape with today's love songs

Dido (Getty and NBC photos)

"I Will Always Love You?" Been there.

"My Heart Will Go On?" Done that.

The same old love songs have been clogging homemade mix CDs and playlists for years. If you're ready for some new ways to say "I love you" to that special someone this Valentine's Day -- and if you're reaching for Captain & Tennille's greatest hits, that's you -- here are 10 fresh love songs that we wholeheartedly approve of from this decade.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKS05rCVQYs">Dido, "Look No Further" (from "Safe From Home")

    The English songbird makes a list of the things she could have been -- a poet, a scientist, a gambler -- but decides her destiny is right at home with her husband in this understated ode to devotion.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUTh3OJjWjM">Ne-Yo, "Closer" (from "Year of the Gentleman")

    Ne-Yo proves he's the best of the new young R&B singers with this cool club hit which is grown, sexy and -- most important of all -- classy.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVUywW13pxE">Adele and Mick Boogie, "Make You Feel My Love (Remot Remix)" (from "1988")

    Best New Artist Grammy winner Adele tackles Bob Dylan's lovely original, and mixtape maestro Mick Boogie adds a sparse backbeat of hip-hop drums. The result proves Adele should Boogie more often.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmKUWshRGfU">Badly Drawn Boy, "One Last Dance" (from "Born in the U.K.")

    Underneath that mangey knit cap, Badly Drawn Boy is a romantic at heart, and this mid-tempo piano ballad includes references to Troy Donahue, Sandra Dee and Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road."

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bap-oZI-Grc">Kelly Clarkson, "My Life Would Suck Without You" (from "All I Ever Wanted")

    Not all love songs have to be mushy, and Kelly Clarkson's latest is like a vitamin B12 shot to the arm of the typical love song. And really, isn't saying "I love you" just another way of saying "My life would suck without you"?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYEM68HIm0Y">blink-182, "I Miss You" (from "blink-182")

    Blink wasn't all just midget jokes and male nudity gags, and this plaintive ballad from the last album is a hauntingly beautiful tale of rediscovering lost love. Plus, who else would write a love song about "The Nightmare Before Christmas"?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOM215SM8UU">Robin Thicke, "Lost Without U" (from "The Evolution of Robin Thicke")

    The recipe for romance on this deceptively simple 2007 hit? An acoustic guitar, a quivering falsetto and a chiming bell. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, you try it sometime.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00mDMSJOt_Q">Lily Allen, "Chinese" (from "It's Not Me, It's You")

    The ultra-sassy Lily Allen brushes the chip off her shoulder (temporarily, at least) and gets unusually sentimental while waxing about the simple pleasures of relationships -- hanging out, watching TV, eating Chinese.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OctDVly5SCc">My Morning Jacket, "Thank You Too" (from "Evil Urges")

    Funky beard rockers need love, too! My Morning Jacket wears its heart on its sleeve (or, in the case of lead singer Jim James, on its cape) on this sweet ballad from the band's latest.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3BnQdF8mvo">Sade, "By Your Side" (from "Lovers Rock")

    For my money, the most romantic song of all time. There's a reason it's so popular at weddings -- well, the cool ones, at least. "You think I'd leave your side, baby?" Sade asks, in her warm, seductive purr. "You know me better than that." 'Nuff said.

    You can reach Adam Graham at (313) 222-2284 or agraham@detnews.com">agraham@detnews.com.

  • Ne-Yo (Getty and NBC photos)
    Kelly Clarkson (Getty and NBC photos)
    Robin Thicke (Getty and NBC photos)
    Lily Allen (Getty and NBC photos)