t’s a real shame that we get a lot of our information and ideas about “love” from musicians, ’cause most of them are degenerates whose failure at obtaining or sustaining a healthy romantic relationship stands in stark contrast to their talents. It’s no wonder why so many love songs are either describing crazy unhealthy co-dependencies or just plain rotten partners. And since few people actually pay attention to lyrics, we thought that we’d show some particularly distressing examples of artists who are looking for love in all the wrong places.
Weezer – “No One Else”
One tends to think of Rivers Cuomo as one of those sensitive sweater-wearing types who knits a cosy every time he gets an erection to balance out his chi. But gems like “No One Else” or “Butterfly” prove that even he has dickishly possessive tendencies, just like everyone else!
Fleetwood Mac – “Over My Head”
Like any good Fleetwood Mac song, “Over My Head” seduces you. You think you can rely on Christine McVie to be the level-headed one, with her cool bluesy vocals and being sandwiched between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (the happier and, if you can believe it, higher Kurt and Courtney of the 70’s.) But as “Over My Head” proves, Christine subscribes to the classical notion of love. That is, being a buoy swept in a sea of impulse and violence.
The Offspring – “Self-Esteem”
Basically, the narrator of the song is dating a woman who has no self-esteem, so she puts up with him even though he is a white dude with skinny dreads. So I guess it’s a win-win?
Dion and the Belmonts – “Runaround Sue”
Back in 1961, runaround meant “whore.” As in “that Kennedy is a real Runaround President.” Despite the fact that Sue lets many guys “wear her class ring” (that saying is a sex metaphor, right?), he still wants her to “wear his letterman jacket” (which I assume is a much dirtier metaphor). Varying degrees of sex acts aside, Sue is an independent lady, which in 1961 meant runaround.
The Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”
Apparently “brass in pockets” is British slang for having money. But the tone of the song suggests the brass in Chrissie Hynde’s pocket is something she would use to knock the object of the song unconscious. Then, she will drag him to her trunk, take him into the woods, tie him up and dance for him until he admits that she is special.
Mates of State – “Like U Crazy”
Mates of State are always craftily using their cutesy powers of pep and duet to hide darker but more authentic nuances of romantic relationships. For instance, “Like U Crazy” sounds like a tweedy ballad to a reciprocated love, but it’s actually about someone watching the object of their affection in a relationship with someone else. If this is a song that you share with your significant other, you’re the same kind of person that slow-dances to “You’re Gorgeous” at a wedding (here are the lyrics for that one)
The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
See, the trick to this song is the feminine whisper at the end which says “Come down now” quite clearly, yet patiently. Which is to say “Hold on fella, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” This is a prime example of a uneven level of feeling. They’ve probably only been on a few dates and already he sees her eyes as celestial monuments to the power of love, while she just sees him as clingy with a hint of cool-dad.
Notorious B.I.G. – “Me and My Bitch”
As awesome and talented and fun as Notorious B.I.G. was, it’s still important to remember that he was a huge, huge, misogynist. I know, I know, I’m being a huge bummer but come on! He meant this as an endearing love song. I refuse to believe it was written tongue-in-cheek because that would mean that the following lines are a joke: “When I met you I admit my first thoughts was to trick/You look so good huh, I suck on your daddy’s dick” AND I HAVE to believe they are sincere because it’s the most goddamn romantic thing I have ever heard. AND I’VE READ D.H. LAWRENCE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
George Harrison “My Sweet Lord”
By 1970, George Harrison may never have formally subscribed to the traditional Hindu teachings as interpreted by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, but he certainly was a HAIRY Krishna! Eh? Ehn. Well, this song is about spiritual longing for the consciousness of Krishna, as opposed to romantic longing for some chick, which is certainly a lofty aspiration. But replace Krishna with baby, like I do at Karaoke, and it’s practically the same thing.
Prince – “Darling Nikki”
Prince being sexually-overpowered is like a sun getting too hot: when it happens, there’s a huge explosion and someone’s universe is never the same. Anyway, the titular “Nikki” has to be some type of funky succubus, trickster demigod honey, or Prince’s feminine side incarnate through erotic magik. And if you’re aware of how just how strong that side can be, you understand that it’s a force to be reckoned with.