They said what?
I, in my unending bid to overanalyze everything under the sun, have addressed the somewhat questionable lyrics of 70s songs before. Songs that, should you actually listen to them, made you go WTF? before WTF was even a thing. So let’s all WTF some more.
I won’t bother breaking down “Working My Way Back To You” , not as done originally by The Four Seasons or the 1980 remake by The Spinners. Wikipedia says it quite succinctly. “The song is about a man who cheated on his girlfriend and also emotionally abused her.” (‘I used to like to make you cry, it made me feel like a man inside.’) How romantic. How sweet. Yeah, take that guy back, I’m sure he’s changed. Who the hell was the target audience for this song?
Speaking of cheaters, let’s check in with Rod Stewart, the lyrical asshat who tells his lover Maggie how old she looks in the morning. “You’re In My Heart.” Wait, this actually sounds rather sweet..
“You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul, you’ll be my breath should I grow old, you are my lover, you’re my best friend, you’re in my soul…”
Wait…what was that other part?
“And there have been many affairs, many times I’ve thought to leave, but I bite my lip and turn around cuz you’re the warmest thing I’ve ever found..”
Also apparently she’s an emotional doormat that is okay with being his fallback position. Way to stay classy Rod.
Now we come to “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes.How the hell some people consider this song romantic is beyond me. This one is about two people who are both attempting to cheat on the other. Two people with such shitty communication that neither knows what the other likes to eat, drink, or do. Maybe it’s just about the sex? Noooo… he doesn’t even know she likes making love at midnight in the dunes of the Cape AND he’s bored. Getting even better, neither party has the integrity or enough respect for their partner to say “This just isn’t working, sorry.” Nope. They take out personal ads looking to cheat. Now, she DOES take out the first ad, but his response seems to indicate he intends to slink off and abandon his girlfriend without notice. Of course then it turns out that their attempted infidelity brought them to each other at a bar. D’oh! And it’s chuckles and smiles all around.
There’s no..“You were trying to cheat on me!” “Well you were trying to cheat on me too!” “Yeah, well you placed that ad!” “You answered that ad!” “Only because I knew you’d cheat on me first” “What?!” Nope. Despite their absolutely atrocious communication skills and willingness to betray each others trust they’re a headed on down to happily ever after town.
Seriously. Even as a kid I caught the fucked up messages in these songs. So whenever I hear one of them played at a wedding reception I always think “Welll good luck with this.”
Oh, no kidding. I can’t listen to Elvis sing “It’s Now Or Never,” because please. Or Gary Puckett, who should’ve known better, later on singing “Lady Willpower [it’s now or never, give your love to me].” Let’s go with never. He also sang the fairly atrocious “Young Girl [get out of my mind],” which hints if she doesn’t, bad things could happen. I will stop now. But yeah, lyrics…
No, one more thing: I heard Sting say once, in an MTV interview, that he had to wonder about people who told him “Every Breath You Take” was “their song.” “What kind of relationship have YOU got?” he said (and that’s verbatim, because I was so struck by it). He knew that song is stalkery.
“We Can Work It Out” by The Beatles is another one that has always pissed me off – sure it presents itself as this ‘hey, we need to work together to solve our problems,’ but that’s not how the lyrics read
“Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There’s a chance that we may fall apart before too long”
Yeah, so, what you’re really saying, Paul McCartney, is, I’ll only stick with you if you see things my way, got it. EFF THAT NOISE.
But let’s talk about “More than Words,” a mega-hit in the 90′s by Extreme. It’s a song that is blatantly pressuring his girl into sex when she’s said no. It can be summed up as “If you love me, you’d do it.”
Fuck right off, Extreme.