Thursday, February 21, 2013

20 Love Songs We Never Want To Hear Again

"We" being Rolling Stone, though I agree with all their choices.


It's kind of fitting that this song was a hit in 1986, the height of the greed-is-good, conspicuous consumption Eighties; it's the ultimate trophy-wife ballad (barely edging out Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). The fake-glitz muzak sound is perfect for a cheaply sentimental song about a guy whose appreciation of the woman beside him seems to work in direct relation to how many other guys hit on her at a party.


With their Rapunzel hair and chiseled cheekbones, you wouldn't kick Extreme out of bed for eating crackers. But you might kick them out of bed for being assholes. "More Than Words" packages metal-creep chauvinism in sensitive acoustic shrink-wrap. "'I love you' is not the words I want to hear from you," they sing. What is the words they want to hear? How about something along the lines of fuck me. Just don't say it with your mouth. Say it with your passive, wordless compliance.


When Journey went on hiatus toward the end of the Eighties, keyboardist Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neil Schon formed Bad English with John Waite of the Babys on vocals -- and went on to achieve levels of cheesy terribleness their other band had barely approached. No blow-dried power ballad ever did it bigger, dumber, emptier or gloppier than "When I See You Smile," a love letter to a girl who never forgets to bring an umbrella along on dates ("And when the rain is falling, I don't feel it 'cause you're here with me now"). Waite's herniated vocals make Steve Perry sound like Al Green.


Allegedly dashed off by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson and fifth Beatle Billy Preston at a party, this song makes you wonder what those two were huffing. A longstanding punchline for exaggerated sitcom courtship routines, it strings its clich├ęs – "a guiding light in the night," "heaven's gift to me" – around a title refrain qualified by "to me," like the shameless singer is hedging his bet. Joe Cocker gives it his best spazzy Ray Charles croon. But we'll take the Cows' sludge-metal desecration any day.


Riding a featherweight groove with barely enough reggae bump to catch a second-hand buzz, this teddy-bear come-on tosses out greeting-card metaphors ("porcelain skin" is lazy, but "bubblegum tongue"? -- c'mon, dude), then lapses into a fluff-jazz instrumental break that might put even Katy Perry to sleep. As midday hook-up anthems go, give us "Afternoon Delight" any day.


"My life is brilliant," declares James Blunt. Good for you, man – but your song is wack. When it comes to the squishiest unrequited love ballad of the 21st century, it's tough say what's more annoying: the drama-queen stalker lyrics, the whiney vocal tone, or the syrupy melody. And that's not to mention the ridiculous beefcake video, where Blunt strips in the snow and then jumps off a cliff---an act that might feel more tragic if it wasn't shot like an underwear ad.


On this acoustic valentine (written by Fiona Bevan and Ed Sheeran), the teen-pop gods congratulate themselves for loving you despite your manifest imperfections. Harry Stiles sings: "You never want/To know how much you weigh/You still have to squeeze into your jeans/But you're perfect to me." Well, not perfect perfect. More like, ya know, fat. Harry, your depth frightens us.


Dave Matthews has always had kind of had a sex-panther side, and there's nothing wrong with that. But his most popular love song obliterates the fine line between sexy and icky. The melody is pretty, the passion undeniable, the vocals fragile and hopeful. But when he sings, "hike up your skirt a little more and show your world to me," he suddenly flips from sweet singer-songwriter to pervy happy hour stalker.

What other songs belong on this list?

(See the rest here, which include songs from Elton John, Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Jewel, 'N Sync, and more)


  1. My Sharona by The Knack
    Kinda catchy melody and the lyrics are definately off-color but when you realize that it's a 25 year old Doug Fieger singing about his 17 year old girlfriend Sharona Alperin then the line "Always get it up for the touch
    of the younger kind." starts to make your skin crawl.

    Plus I had to listen to the band geeks in high school play this every freakin day for 2 years.

    1. Good point. Now Dougie sleeps with the fishes. From pedophile to dead-o-phile.

  2. "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. I risk a multi-car pileup every time it comes on XM/Sirius in my haste to change the channel.

    1. Thank you for saying that. My husband wants me to believe that I am the coldest and most heartless being ever to walk the earth for hating this song. It skeeves me out just thinking about it. Plus, it's 20 minutes long.

      The only thing worse is Hero by Enrique Iglesias. If you are trying this hard to convince me that you can be my hero, baby, the whole idea is invalid. So whiny.

  3. "Bop" by Dan Seals. I want to bop with you baby, all night long. I want to bebop with you baby til the break of dawn... Somebody shoot me please

    1. I'm not familiar with that one. I'm serious. Never heard it.

  4. Anything by Michael Bolton.
    "Even the Nights are Better" by Air Supply.
    "You're Having My Baby" by Paul Anka. Creepy x 200.

    1. Paul Anka is creep anyway. THE GUYS GET SHIRTS! Okay, jackass.

      Anything by Michael Bolton OR Air Supply.

  5. Dave Matthews is the True Face of Evil.

  6. CELINE. Everyone else, I can pretty much stomach. In fact, I don't do karaoke (shocker) but I gotta admit- when those power ballads come on the radio and my children are trapped in a car with me, it's fun to roll down the window, crank that shit to eleven and belt it out. The kids just love it.

  7. I have hated More Than Words since the day it first came on the radio. Seriously? That's what we want a teenage girl listening to, that the only way to prove her love is through sex?

    Have to agree with Dave Matthews and Celine-they make my skin crawl.

  8. I have to disagree with "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time On You," "I Swear," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" '90s baby here.

    "More Than Words" is awful to begin with and the cover version in Rock of Ages is even worse.

    I would add in:
    -Michael Bolton
    -anything by Taylor Swift (I loathe that woman)
    -Backstreet Boys "As Long As You Love Me"
    -"Mesmerized" by Ashanti and Ja Rule
    -Mandy, Angie, Rosanna...basically any song named after a woman

  9. How about the weird stalker song that EVERYONE seems to play at weddings?!? Every Breathe You Take is not a love song. I wish people would realize tat. I've had couples tell me it's "their" song... Shutter



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