February 8, 2005


The good, the bad, the quirky -- and the cheesy (Chicago Sun-Times, February 8, 2005)

They are the songs that make us laugh, cry and reminisce -- all in three minutes. They are the love songs.

They'll creep on the radio, be pumped into restaurants and seep into our consciousness as Valentine's Day gets closer. But we have a love/hate relationship with them that creates a slippery slope from classic to elevator music, and the difference is just a bad verse or two. [...]

It seems that even what we think are bad love songs have a place.

"Critics sometimes make fun of sentimental love songs like "Feelings," but that song obviously struck a chord in a lot of listeners -- it was a huge international hit -- so, to my way of thinking, it cannot be a bad love song," said Robin Frederick, a musician and historian. "A bad love song is one that doesn't make anyone feel anything."

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, here's our list -- with help from Frederick, Forman and others -- of some of the greatest, lamest and most overplayed love songs.

"By Your Side," Sade
"They Can't Take That Away From Me," George and Ira Gershwin
"Crush," Dave Matthews Band
"Green Eyes," Coldplay
"Wonderful Tonight," Eric Clapton
"Let's Get It On," Marvin Gaye
"White Flag," Dido

The reality is that the great rock songs are all misogynistic screeds, not love songs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 8, 2005 10:16 AM

You could be on to something here.

Even the Beatles were capable of astonishing misogyny:

Run for your life

Well I'd rather see you dead, little girl
than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
or I won't know where I am

Well I know that I'm a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can't spend my whole life
trying just to make you toe the line

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl....

And the Stones made a career out of it:

Yesterday's Papers

Who wants yesterdays papers
Who wants yesterdays girl
Who wants yesterdays papers?
Nobody in the world

After this time I finally learned
After the pain and hurt
After all this what have I achieved
I've realized it's time to leave

Seems very hard to have just one girl
When there's a million in the world
All of these people just can't wait
To fall right into their big mistake...

Dylan of course is the master of the '**** You' song.

Mind, women can do it too.

Posted by: Brit at February 8, 2005 11:30 AM

Don't forget "My Wife" by "The Who" (Entwistle in particular).

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 8, 2005 1:02 PM

Disc 2 on Springsteen's "The River". "Point Blank", "Drive All Night" and more. The best "get stinkin' drunk" breakup album of all time.

Posted by: Pat H at February 8, 2005 1:22 PM


'Air That I Breathe'?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at February 11, 2005 3:57 PM


All great.

Posted by: oj at February 11, 2005 4:10 PM