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7 Love Songs That Aren't


7 Love Songs That Aren't

Beware: Some of the tunes that you think are romantic are actually pretty sour once you listen to the words. Allow us to present the evidence.

By Amy Keyishian

Not-So-Sweet Song #1: "The One I Love," REM
It's hard to believe people dedicate this as if it were a love song, but let's just set the record straight: It's not. Hello, the guy in the song is addressing "the one I left behind." Why? Because she was nothing to him but "a simple prop to occupy my time." And, adding insult to injury, "another prop has occupied my time." He's moving on! The only thing that could make this song meaner would be if Michael Stipe sang, "Ready, aim?" before wailing out "Fire!" during the chorus.

Not-So-Sweet Song #2: "Every Breath You Take," The Police
When Sting sings, "Can't you see? You belong to me," it can be tempting to think "Aw, he must really like this girl." Sorry to break it to you, but
Take how Sting croons "I'll be watching you" over and over...and over. Restraining order, anyone?
"like" isn't exactly what comes to mind if you listen to the rest of the lyrics. Take what Sting's "watching," for instance: "every vow you break, every smile you fake." Last we checked, calling a girl a cold-hearted two-timer isn't exactly a compliment. Then, take how he croons "I'll be watching you" over... and over... and over. Restraining order, anyone?

Not-So-Sweet Song #3: "With or Without You," U2
Sure, the opening strains are beautiful. But the lyrics make us strain to understand why Bono's with this girl: "On a bed of nails she makes me wait"; "My hands are tied, my body bruised, she's got me with nothing to win and nothing left to lose." Frankly, we don't blame Bono for wailing "I can't live with or without you." But does this tortured sentiment and masochistic imagery a love song make? Try a love-hate song.

Not-So-Sweet Song #4: "Something," The Beatles
Many people think this is a love song (rumor has it that it was one of Frank Sinatra's favorites), but let's take a good look at the lyrics: "You're asking me, will my love grow? I don't know! I don't know! You stick around and it may show. I don't know! I don't know!" Sounds like the gal he's seeing is gunning for a commitment—and the guy's doing is best to weasel out of it. Not exactly romantic, is it?

Do the U2 lyrics "I can't live with or without you" a love song make? Try a love-hate song.
Not-So-Sweet Song #5: "The Best of My Love," The Eagles
The chorus sounds like a boyfriend crooning about how "here in my heart, I give you the best of my love." Unfortunately, the rest of the song details fights ("We try to talk it over, but the words come out too rough"), heavy drinking ("Look at the way that we live! Wastin' our time on cheap talk and wine"), and a total inability to connect ("Every mornin', I wake up and worry, what's gonna happen today. You see it your way, and I see it mine, but we both see it slippin' away"). Sounds like the "best of my love" ain't good enough.

Not-So-Sweet Song #6: "What Do All The People Know," The Monroes
"Could you be the one I'm thinking of? Could you be the girl I really love?" sounds like a guy reveling in his joy at finding such a fabulous girlfriend. But the next couple of lines—"All the people tell me so... but what do all the people know?"—sounds like he's skeptical of the rave reviews his girl is getting. We're skeptical, too, especially when we hear the lines, "Do you think I really care for you? Is it just another game that you and I pretend to play?" That's hardly a head-over-heels declaration of love in our book.

Not-So-Sweet Song #7: "The Reason," Hoobastank
This cute little diddy is playing on cell phones across the nation, and some of the lyrics do sound pretty sweet: "I've found a reason for me to change who I used to be! A reason to start over new—and the reason is YOU!" That's great, Hooba. But what's going on in the rest of the words? Let's see: "I'm sorry that I hurt you—it's something I must live with every day"; "All the pain I put you through, I wish that I could take it all away and be the one who catches all your tears" and, this is all stuff that "I have to say before I go." Oh, we get it now: He's leaving, and her consolation prize is knowing she made him a better person for the next girl who comes along? You're welcome, ya jerk.


Amy Keyishian writes for various magazines, including Stuff and Marie Claire. She has an intense personal relationship with her iPod, and her favorite love song is Rubber Duckie.
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