Love is the type of topic and emotion that evokes such silliness because of the strong feelings it elicits. It certainly lends itself to excess. I’ve written my own share of odes to the ecstatic sickness. In fact “All Mixed Up in Love” speaks to the contradictions and confusion associated with the blissful condition.
Hearing the old Wings song got me thinking about what others considered the silliest love songs of all time. There are several lists online and, because of the subjectiveness of the subject, not a lot of agreement.
A few songs, however, do seem to get a concensus.
Chicago’s “You’re The Inspiration” landed on at least two lists, VH1’s – 40 Awesomely Bad Love Songs … Ever, and on a Top 10 Worst by ABC News.
“There’s no mistake with this pick,” writes VH1’s Michal Szyska (D.Jkruliq).
ABC adds, “Peter Cetera still owes fans and music lovers an apology for this cavity-inducing Top 40 Hit.”
Full disclosure here, Chicago has always been one of my favorite groups. But even I agree that there was a time period that a new Grammy-laden producer pushed Cetera toward this genre. Yes, listeners ate it up, but this is one case where you can argue with success.
On the other hand it doesn’t negate all the great singing, musicianship and song-writing that Cetera produced with Chicago and as a solo artist.
Another song that made both lists was “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)" by Meat Loaf.
Quibbles include that it’s too long, and frustrates the listener by never stating what it is he won’t do. I dismiss both complaints out of hand.
Maybe it was that my musical coming of age was in the 60s and 70s, but I have no problem with lengthy, drawn-out songs. (Anybody game for an eleven-minute Allmam Brothers jam?) That’s the kind of stuff for which long-playing record albums were made.
As for the mystery of what he won’t do, I long for the days when cryptic lyrics led to hours of fun speculation about just what the artist was saying. Why can’t we challenge the listener a little bit?
Then there are what I consider the clear misses.
“Eternal Flame” by the Bangles was included on VH1’s list of 40. But I think the melody is brilliant and very catchy. I haven't heard the song in years, but I can still whistle the tune from memory.
VH1 also trashes “Key Largo,” saying the Bertie Higgins composition is “one of the corniest and cheese-ridden songs ever written.” One of the complaints is that the songwriter lifted lines from the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name.
I don’t see the problem with borrowing themes from a classic film. Would the critic rather the song be based on “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
Other head-scratchers on the list are:
- “Rosanna” by Toto, which the reviewer even admits being a “good song.”
- “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry. Hold on now. Perry can make any song a soaring success.
- “Every Breath You Take” by The Police was on ABC’s list. Yes, it does suggest that Sting is stalking his subject, or he is in the CIA or NSA. But come on, this is some of the artist's finest work.
- “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler (written by Jim Steinman). The critic concedes that this hit is a “guilty pleasure” and I believe the least you can expect from music is to be pleasing. This rocker builds to a very satisfying climax indeed.
As songs go, I would say an overwhelming percent of those written are about love and there are bound to be a multitude of clunkers.
In the end I have to agree with Paul’s lyric about people who rail against filling the world with silly love songs.
“What’s wrong with that?”