Sting and The Police recorded one of the great love songs of all time with "Every Breath You Take." But take another listen; the song isn't quite as romantic as you might have originally imagined.Photo by Jack Gorman
Valentine’s Day is upon us. You may now use this reminder as an opportunity to see which flower companies offer same-day delivery.
With regard to Valentine’s Day, celebrations certainly vary. Some couples, particularly those in the honeymoon stage of the relationship, will use the night as an opportunity to indulge in a nice dinner and other romantic endeavors. Others, perhaps more seasoned couples, may stay in and make dinner. Some, meanwhile, will boycott Valentine’s Day as the most Hallmark of Hallmark holidays (these people certainly have a point).
No matter your opinions on Valentine’s Day, music will certainly play a major role in any number of related celebrations. In many cases, this music is ably suited for a holiday that revolves around love.
And then, there are the songs below, which may sound romantic in theory, but in reality are quite the opposite. Best to avoid cuing up these tracks for Valentine’s Day.
BACKSTREET BOYS, ‘AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME’
This ranks among the biggest hits of the boy band era, and with good reason; it’s a catchy pop track. It’s also the tale of a desperate man. The boys from Backstreet admit to being victims of loneliness, something the chorus only affirms: “I don’t care who you are/where you’re from/what you did/as long as you love me.” This is essentially the guy who sends 50 stock messages on Match, or who swipes right on every Tinder possibility, in the hopes that someone (anyone!) returns the favor.
JOHN DENVER/PETER, PAUL AND MARY, ‘LEAVING ON A JET PLANE’
This track, originally written by Denver and performed by Peter, Paul and Mary, starts off well enough. Boy has to leave girl. Boy is sad about this. Boy is not sure when he’s coming back to girl. Then, things go sideways: “There's so many times I've let you down/so many times I've played around/I tell you now they don't mean a thing.” In short, copping to extracurricular activities while preparing to once again hit the road probably isn’t a recipe for a secure, happy relationship.
CELINE DION, ‘MY HEART WILL GO ON’
The song notwithstanding, two bones to pick with Titanic. One, there was room on that wooden plank! Leo did not have to die out there! Two, when Kate Winslet’s Rose dies an old woman, she reconnects with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in the afterlife. At first glance, that’s not the worst thing, as the two were obviously in love. However, one must take into account that Rose – after surviving the Titanic’s wreck – married and had children. One would hope she would prefer to reconnect with her late husband, but again, Leo. As for the song, the Titanic was a real-life tragedy and it brings about memories of Leo dying an unnecessary death. These are not uplifting sentiments.
BOB DYLAN (AND MANY OTHERS), ‘MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE’
Written by Bob Dylan, this song has been covered by stars aplenty, including Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Adele, and Kelly Clarkson. It’s one of the more romantic-themed songs Dylan ever wrote, and it’s been a hit for a litany of artists because it’s a great tune. But it’s not really a love song in the traditional sense. If anything, “Make You Feel My Love” is one-sided, more a man begging for a chance to be loved, considering the love interest in question hasn’t yet decided which romantic path to pursue. This is a song written by someone about to get friend-zoned while the romantic interest pursues more superficial paths.
HINDER, ‘LIPS OF AN ANGEL’
The story on this one is simple, which makes sense, considering Hinder was a simple band. Our hero is on the phone with his true love, professing his feelings and marveling at how great it is to reconnect with an old love. Here’s the problem – his girlfriend is in the other room while he’s having this conversation! Unless you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your mistress, best to avoid playing this one.
DOLLY PARTON/WHITNEY HOUSTON, ‘I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU’
This song’s Q rating is about as high as one could imagine. It was originally performed by a singer who is beloved and legendary in country music, then covered by perhaps the most talented singer in the history of music. It was a worldwide hit and the lead single for The Bodyguard, which grossed nearly a half-billion dollars and was one of the biggest cinematic hits of 1992. But, Jesus, this is one depressing track, as evidenced by the following: “Bittersweet memories/That is all I'm taking with me/So goodbye/Please don't cry/We both know I'm not what you, you need.” Sang by two of the most iconic voices in music, those lyrics pack a punch.
THE POLICE, ‘EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE’
This isn’t a love song; it’s a how-to kit for a stalker! This track wouldn’t sniff commercial radio success were it released in 2018.
THE WEEKND, ‘CAN’T FEEL MY FACE’
Nobody does haunting romance like The Weeknd, and “Can’t Feel My Face” is no exception. It’s a great track, one that showcases the ups and downs of a whirlwind relationship between a pair of dangerous partners. It’s almost like our two love interests are addicted to one another, and this certainly makes sense, considering the song is about cocaine, not romance.
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