Friday Essay – Love Songs; Creepy, Pathetic or Both?

Broken HeartFirst, I am a sappy romantic sap.  Romantic movies and songs make me tear up.  I might be the biggest Sappy McSapperson you ever meet.  And, yet a few weeks ago I was listening to some of my favourites by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and thought, “Are humans in love all creepy stalkers or pathetic losers?”  The lyrics all of a sudden just sounded like the most pathetic drivel in some instances and like creepy stalker talk in others.  Take this classic for example:

“I’d sacrifice anything come what might
For the sake of havin’ you near
In spite of a warnin’ voice that comes in the night
And repeats, repeats in my ear:
Don’t you know, you fool, you never can win?
Use your mentality, wake up to reality.
But each time that I do just the thought of you
Makes me stop before I begin
‘Cause I’ve got you under my skin.”

Pathetic, right?  I mean, c’mon, you’d sacrifice anything?  Anything? Just to be with this person?  That just doesn’t seem healthy.  And, yet, “Under My Skin” is one of my favourite songs.  It must be the tune.

This next one is easy.  Even the fellow who wrote it (Sting from the Police) says it’s about a creepy stalker, yet people have used this as the first dance at their wedding!

“Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace.
I dream at night, I can only see your face.
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace.
I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace.
I keep crying baby, baby please…
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you.”

Gross!  This fruitcake is watching everything you do!  This is not appropriate.  This is not a love song, people.  Do not mistake this for a love song.  Still. these are the kinds of sentiments we are told show others our love. Though I have noticed that there are no more ‘secret admirers’ only creepy stalkers.

One of my favourites is an Irving Berlin song from one of my favourite holiday movies, 1941’s Holiday Inn.  The film is rather silly and I’m sure it took Mr. Berlin all of seven minutes to write this song.  Still it is kind of disturbing.

“Sweetheart of mine, I’ve sent you a Valentine
Sweetheart of mine, it’s more than a Valentine
Be careful, it’s my heart
It’s not my watch you’re holding, it’s my heart
It’s not the note I sent you
That you quickly burned
It’s not the book I lent you
That you never returned
Remember, it’s my heart
The heart with which so willingly I part
It’s yours to take, to keep or break
But please, before you start
Be careful, it’s my heart”

Seriously?  She burned your letter and never returned your book?  Why are you letting this woman keep your heart?  She does not love you.  Again, a love song written about a pathetic loser.

I’m sure you can think of plenty of other lyrics.  I’m not exactly certain what the moral of this story is, but I expect it is something like: Love makes humans behave in completely irrational and strange ways.  It has been this way since the beginning of human emotions.  So, not much we can do except be Sappy McSappersons together.  And, try not to be creepy stalkers.

Be Lovely to Each Other,