Power ballads are songs that reach through the speaker to touch your soul. Typically, the musical effects are a combination of instruments and a booming voice that commands attention. The singers that can pull out these deeply emotional songs are immensely talented and deserve recognition.
If you’re in the mood to feel, get your tissues ready. We’ve got a list here of the best power ballads, in no specific order.
1. Vision of Love – Mariah Carey
When Mariah Carey burst on the scene with this song, the world knew they had struck gold. Not only did it showcase her compelling voice, but it solidified her path to stardom. A song like that was the best way to kick off a decade, given it came out in 1990. “Vision Of Love” was her first in a long string of hits.
2. The Power of Love – Céline Dion
The first few words are Céline Dion only. When the music starts kicking in, so do the feels. She already has us in her vocal grasp, then she is here to deliver a love note of overwhelming proportions to her mate. No matter what happens, no matter where they are headed, the two are bound together.
3. My Heart Will Go On – Céline Dion
If you were alive and old enough to have memories, this song is likely etched in your brain. The leading selection for Titanic‘s soundtrack, “My Heart Will Go On,” went beyond the big screen and set up camp on the radio for years to come. Being attached to a heartbreaking love story probably helped.
4. Frozen – Madonna
Madonna had been through a wide range of styles before she got to “Frozen.” That might have something to do with why it took society by storm. The lyrics touch on a feeling many can relate to about loving someone who has grown distant or cold. Her pleas go on deaf ears.
5. The Power of Good-bye – Madonna
The beats on this song were something no one had ever heard. Madonna may have “The Power Of Goodbye,” but she also has the power to create a masterpiece, which is this song. Here, she sings about the point in a relationship when there’s nothing left to do but walk away.
6. Hello – Adele
“Hello” is the first word you hear and that’s all you need to be invested in the story that is about to befall your ears. What Adele expresses in this song is regret for letting things get so distant. She’s reached out to make amends but this person has moved on and won’t engage.
7. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Often rated as the best song of all time, due to the multitude of fantastic elements, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a treasure. When it came out in the 70s, the anthem took the world by storm. There has never been anything like it since. Freddie Mercury takes the listener on a rollercoaster from beginning to end.
8. Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
Talk about ripping a heart directly from the chest. That’s what Bonnie Tyler does here through her words of hurt. Anyone who has been through a rough breakup can relate to being completely obsessed with someone and then no longer feeling anything. It sucks, and the raw emotion is evident.
9. Kiss From a Rose – Seal
While the Batman movie this song came out with wasn’t a favorite, this song was. Seal’s voice captured millions with the gut-wrenching visual of a rose being placed in the snow atop a grave. After debuting, this hit was a mainstay on the charts for what seemed like years.
10. The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga
Not enough songs relay that feeling of being on top of the world. The ones that do certainly don’t get the message across the way Lady Gaga does. When everything is going right, having someone to stand on that edge with you is the cherry on top. It’s exactly the kind of situation that makes you want to shout from the rooftops.
11. Purple Rain – Prince
When everything feels like it’s falling apart and all you have is the person you love, you might be experiencing what Prince is talking about in his song. Suddenly, there’s loss and desperation to have it back again. Going through it is like walking through “Purple Rain.”
12. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
Hearing Ed Sheeran belt it out for the love of his life is satisfying. Finding someone you love so much that you want to build an entire life with them is something most hope to experience, but not everyone gets the pleasure of having it. Also, who wouldn’t want someone to reassure them that they are perfect, no matter what?
13. Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton
In the video, Toni Braxton’s boyfriend got in a motorcycle accident and didn’t survive. That’s when the song starts and the whole video is about her dealing with loss. Of course, this can also apply to a regular breakup. No matter how a relationship ends, it hurts.
14. Once Upon a Dream – Lana Del Rey
“Once Upon A Dream” is almost as old as Disney. However, when Lana Del Rey added her voice to the song for the movie Maleficent, it took on a whole new life. The spin on the movie helped provide support for the new take on the old classic. Her sound is more haunting with a slice of hope, just like how the character’s story is portrayed.
15. Viva Forever – Spice Girls
The Spice Girls were so beloved by the world because each member had her own style and sound. With five unique personalities, most young girls saw a version of themselves represented in this group. “Viva Forever” was basically a goodbye to the fans, though we may not have known it then, and an expression of love.
16. Chandelier – Sia
Turning a dark period in your life into something helpful is no easy task, but that’s exactly what Sia did. “Chandelier” is about her problem with addiction and the emotions she had going through it. She’s singing her heart out through the symbolism of the experience, and you can feel her struggle.
17. Elastic Heart – Sia
The video for this song helps illustrate for the viewer what a struggle Sia went through when she was younger. She has to fight through everything to come out the victor of her own mental health. It’s a process, and this song is one that many people can connect with.
18. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
Sometimes, you just have to break free from what’s going on and forge a path back to personal safety. Elton John belts out this tune about living a life for yourself, not for others. Using the familiar theme of a yellow brick road, the song is immediately catchy. It’s still a popular selection decades later.
19. Don’t Let Go – En Vogue
In the Set It Off soundtrack, “Don’t Let Go” has a dangerous background. The movie is about a group of female bank robbers. Ultimately, three of the four ladies die due to their criminal activities. The one character to make it was in love with the cop coming after them. She would never have let go and En Vogue captures that.
20. Battlefield – Jordan Sparks
Anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows exactly where Jordan Sparks is coming from. One day, everything is going exactly right, and the next, something has gotten in the way. Sometimes, the smallest things create drama where it’s not wanted. Pettiness is annoying, and she is pleading to the heavens, “Why?”
21. Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna
Rihanna’s work could easily be the anthem for every lady in a relationship. No woman wants to feel like she’s not the most important thing in her partner’s life. This could probably work for either sex, but this seems to hit home for women especially. It’s comforting to be treated like there is no comparison.
22. All of Me – John Legend
Dedicating a massive hit to your wife and making her the focal point in the video isn’t something you see every day. But that’s exactly what John Legend did with “All Of Me,” a love ballad about how he looks at their relationship. It’s kind of funny when you realize he almost broke up with Chrissy Teigen, but she wouldn’t let him. It was love.
23. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
No one can forget the image of Miley Cyrus on an actual wrecking ball. Nor can anyone forget her singing her heart out to the camera, directly. It was raw. She was broken and longing for a relationship that was once everything.
24. Someone Like You – Adele
Ever end things with someone and live with regret? Adele is getting in touch with an ex who has moved on. She realizes, seemingly too late, that this was someone too special to let go of. It’s clearly been a while, but she needed to get these thoughts off her chest. Breaking up isn’t always final on both sides.
25. It Will Rain – Bruno Mars
Despite the somber-sounding music, the lyrics paint a different picture. Bruno Mars is telling the story about someone he loves so much that there’s just no point to anything if they break up. “Just like the clouds, My eyes will do the same if you walk away, Every day, it’ll rain,” pretty much sums it up.
26. Wildest Dreams – Taylor Swift
Being in love is the best feeling in the world. It’s also the worst when it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, you enter a relationship knowing it will be short-lived. Taylor Swift knows it’s too good to be true, she just wants to make sure she left an impression.
27. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri
Breakups are often the most difficult experience that anyone can go through. That process can have you see the person you loved in a whole new light. The worst can come out and that can leave you feeling half alive. However, it can also make you stronger, which is what you hear from Christina Perri.
28. Dreaming of You – Selena
Having a crush on someone is exciting. When that crush goes on long enough, that person can easily become all you think about. Selena puts that beautifully while she’s going through aspects of life, wondering if the person she loves is doing the same thing. It’s cute and the end is how everyone wants their crush to play out.
29. Street Symphony – Monica
Monica’s partner has been up to shenanigans, illegal ones. There’s over a minute of musical build-up before she starts her lyrical monologue to the one who is overstepping. By the time words hit, you know she’s hurting. Monica is afraid something bad is going to happen. She wants him to stop before it’s too late.
30. Water Under the Bridge – Adele
A common situation in relationships that aren’t going too well is when someone starts drifting. Adele sounds like she’s trying to reach out to her partner, and he’s just not being responsive. He had made some great claims about how he felt and drifted into flakiness.
31. Trumpets – Jason Derulo
Imagery from Jason Derulo about what he sees and hears when he is around his girlfriend is priceless. The thought that the person you love has all this going on whenever he thinks or sees you is heartwarming. This song is relationship goals.
32. I Miss You – Blink-182
“I Miss You” is a stark departure from Blink-182’s usual sound. It’s from the perspective of a young man who is vulnerable in a new relationship. This person is someone he’s clearly obsessed with, even though he believes it’s going to fail.
33. It Must Have Been Love – Roxette
Sometimes, relationships are so intensely hot and passionate that they burn out. That’s the vibe you get from Roxette. It was so good, but the chaos of life gets distracting. Before you know it, it’s over, and you don’t know why.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.