I love music, especially love songs. I’m not ashamed to get all in my feelings and let the music take me wherever it wants… which is why, several times in my life, I have opened my eyes and found myself in a stupid place. The kind of place that makes you blink repeatedly, inspecting your clothes and wondering, “how did I get here?”
It seems that for every great song that is about real, healthy, authentic love, there are ten songs written for the sole purpose of replacing a girl’s brain with butter. Even as a grown woman, if you’re not listening very carefully, you too can get carried away with the melody of folly. Apart from stellar vocals and tunes, the reason why these songs get away with the madness is the presence of lines that actually sound sensible. You know how they say falsehood is never as dangerous as when it baits its hook with truth? This is very true of love songs. Until you listen to women in unhealthy relationships talk, you don’t realise how big a problem we have.
If you don’t believe me, consider some of the ones that have had me stopping mid-sentence and running to the tap to rinse my mouth out:
- The one where heroism is not about making the world a better place or rising above obstacles, but about the lover’s words. If he doesn’t say he loves you, nko? Okay now, keep him safe, bring him everything he asks for (nothing is above you), move heaven and earth just to hear him say “I love you” so that you can shine like a candle in the dark. Do you know how many women have died in this life of living and breathing for a man’s approval to make them feel like heroes? Even Diana Ross herself doesn’t live like this.
The bait: I wanna hold you close under the rain, I wanna kiss your smile…
The poison: In a world without you, I would always hunger, all I need is your love to make me stronger…
Cringe. How about getting an actual life, woman? You know, “having sumtin doing”?
- You see, in this ministry of mumu love songs, you need to have that harmless sounding refrain that is so catchy it drowns out the absurdity in the lyrics. The man is married, but you’re dating him. You only have him for a few stolen moments before he goes back to his wife and children who need him. He has told you tales about divorcing her and running away with you but you acknowledge nothing will ever come of that “old fantasy”. You admit you are last on his list, but you are willing to manage it because you’ve tried dating single, available men and none of them measures up. And we should clap for you. This song won a Grammy for Whitney Houston’s performance, not for the actual song please.
The bait: I’m saving all my love for yoooooooou!
The poison: Every other word in this song.
- It is good to be proud of your man, take care of him, and be sensitive to his needs. I love this song, it’s the kind you listen to with eyes closed, only opening one eye when you hear “My life would be purposeless without you…” Then you close your eyes again until you hear “I put my life in your hands…” This song is pure love and devotion that crosses over into idiocy every couple of lines. Grammy award winner, all the same. Well done, Destiny’s Child.
The bait: Baby I see you working hard, I want to let you know I’m proud, let you know that I admire what you do…
The poison: equal parts stones and rice so we can’t be bothered.
- Your life was a mess and this angel of a man came and saved you, so now you owe him everything. He is the reason you sleep through the night, the reason you wake up every day. You’re also up in the middle of the night just to adore him. You know, if these were just lyrics it wouldn’t be so bad. People actually take these songs seriously, and they influence the behaviour of girls and the women they become.
The bait: Celine Dion’s voice
The poison: the entire song.
No human being ever can, or should, be the reason.
There are countless other mumu songs of course, most of them award winners. Not being able to move on was never so deliciously pathetic as it was in Adele’s Someone Like You. Whitney Houston’s I have nothing, nothing, nothing, if I don’t have you remains the motto of many women to this day.
The road is far…