ARE heartfelt, fervent love songs a bit too passionate for your string of underwhelming relationships? These are the huge hits you just can’t relate to:
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Bryan Adams, 1991
You’re nice enough to your partner, but you’re mainly motivated by self-interest. ‘I would fight for you, yeah, I’d lie for you/ Walk the wire for you, yeah, I’d die for you.’ Nope, sorry. You’re prepared to listen to overlong work stories and buy decent presents, but you didn’t sign up for any ‘die for you’ shit.
Something, The Beatles, 1969
‘Something in the way she moves/ Attracts me like no other lover.’ Apart from quite a long list of women including Kate Beckinsale and the blonde woman in Sainsbury’s. ‘I don’t want to leave her now’ is only true because Lucy at work’s not interested.
Africa, Toto, 1982
A love song to both a person and a continent with these troubling lines: ‘It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you/ There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.’ Sure, you like her, but fighting 100 men – or more – is a big ask. And once you were in hospital, beaten to a pulp, she’d probably give you a hard time for being macho.
How Deep Is Your Love, The Bee Gees, 1977
‘Not very’ is your honest answer in many relationships. By contrast, the woman in the song is coming to him ‘on a summer breeze’ and is ‘the light in my deepest, darkest hour’ so they sound pretty loved-up as a couple. They wouldn’t split after one bad citybreak.
I Will Always Love You, Dolly Parton, 1974
‘Always’ is a big word. Even if you’re really in love, maintaining it until death, through diminishing physical attractiveness and repetitive conversation, is a stretch. Considering it’s a classic wedding songs and the UK has a divorce rate of 42 per cent, we live in a nation of liars. You may be a bit lukewarm romantically, but you’re not a hypocrite.
Is This Love?, Whitesnake, 1987
David Coverdale repeats the question so many f**king times that yes, it clearly is. Apart from being shit, the song suggests a depth of feeling you rarely experience. ‘Is This Mainly A Desire To Get My Leg Over Combined With You Having A Tolerable Personality?’ would be more accurate.
The Power of Love, Huey Lewis and the News, 1985
Huey claims love to be ‘tougher than diamonds, rich like cream’ and can ‘change a hawk to a little white dove’. Whereas if you’re actively looking forward to seeing your long-term partner that’s sufficient, frankly.
Sunday Girl, Blondie, 1979
The lead character of Sunday Girl is enigmatic, adorable and synonymous with Debbie Harry, so that’s a very high level of smitten. No actual relationship could live up to that so set your sights lower, like avoiding blazing rows during a weekend in the Cotswolds.
Wonderful World, Sam Cooke, 1960
Actually quite restrained in lovey-dovey terms, but ‘Don’t know much about history/ Don’t know much biology/ Don’t know much about a science book/ Don’t know much about the French I took,’ makes little sense. A person’s capacity for love is not inversely related to their academic qualifications. You’ve got a 2:1 in history and you’re not emotionally stunted, much.
Take My Breath Away, Berlin, 1986
Written specifically for Top Gun, so has the intensity of that high-risk fighter pilot career. ‘Haunted by the notion somewhere there’s a love in flames’ isn’t metaphorical in that case. Your relationship is nowhere near as ardent, because you both work in teaching.