"When I said you oughta marry me, when I said that we should settle down,
—I Was Only Kidding, Weird Al Yankovic
Ah, the love song. About my lovely baby and my heart going out for you. About the pain of having lost you. About the fear that I can never have you. About ninety-nine percent of all songs in existence, and their lyrics all sound the same, and you just can't stand it any more!
Sure, there are subcategories of love song—passionate R & B, broken-hearted ballads, and so on. But there are so many of each that each subcategory can feel overdone.
For anyone who has burned out after one love song that Tastes Like Diabetes too many, the cure is obvious: the Anti Love Song. This medicine comes in several flavors:
- The hate song, where you croon about your heart-breaking desire to kill somebody.
- The overdone song, where the lyrics get so purple you have to laugh.
- The subliminal message song, which sounds like a love song... at first.
- The weird context song, where you sing a straight love song, in circumstances that really don't fit.
Of course, for the truly jaded, the Anti Love Song has become as formulaic as the love song.
It is practically guaranteed that the subliminal song will be misunderstood by at least half of the people who hear it, who will think it's a straight love song. This is especially true of advertisers, who will often use it without realizing what the lyrics mean.
On the other hand, some people get the joke and love it so much that they still use it unironically.
Normal breakup songs do not belong here. They have their own entry. Look at Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone": it's a breakup song, and it talks about how happy and free she is now, so it must go here, right? Wrong. It's not humorous, and it's not a parody of a love song. This is about music with some humor about it, even if it's black humor.
Comedy / Parody
- Tom Lehrer was the pioneer and undisputed master of the Anti-Love Song. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he traumatized generations with songs like "When You Are Old and Grey" (see the quotes page), "I Hold Your Hand In Mine" (My joy would be complete, dear, if you were only here -- but still I keep your hand as a precious souvenir) and of course, "The Masochism Tango".
- Although "The Masochism Tango" is more about a genuinely loving relationship among a very kinky couple.
- The Deadpan Diva of 1940's MGM musical comedy, Virgina O'Brien, provides a torch song Ur Example with "Say We'll Be Sweethearts Again
- "Weird Al" Yankovic does at least one of these on every album, such as "I Was Only Kidding" and "I'm So Sick of You". He's parodied every sub-genre, too, from Prince's leers in "Wanna Be Ur Lover" (I don't have a library card, but do you mind if I check you out?) to break-up songs in "You Don't Love Me Anymore" (I still remember the way that you laughed / when you threw me down the elevator shaft), "One More Minute" (I'd rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue / Than spend one more minute with you), and "Since You've Been Gone" (I feel almost as bad as I did / when you were still here). He also wrote a mild-affection-song, "You're Good Enough For Now."
- Possibly the funniest one of these is "Do I Creep You Out?", a stalker-related parody of overblown love songs (and specifically American Idol-winner Taylor Hick's song "Do I Make You Proud?"):
I like to feel the warm spot on your chair
- From the same album Confessions Part 3 continues the theme of confessions by being way too honest with his significant other.
- "Melanie" was an earlier Stalker with a Crush style love ballad that ends with him jumping out of the 16th story window above her apartment to get her attention. He may be dead but he still loves her.
- "Pancreas", about...well...a guy who loves his pancreas.
- The Arrogant Worms wrote the weird context "Log Into You," about a computer geek with pick-up lines like I gotta open up your motherboard -- put my Pentium inside.
- Motley Crue wrote a song called "This Ain't A Love Song" in their Saints of Los Angeles album
- The Capitol Steps did exactly the same joke as the Arrogant Worms in "Nerd Perfect Blues" and "Yuppie Love".
- Da Vinci's Notebook has the weird-context "Window-Washing Cowboy," which is by far the most tragic tale about doomed love you will ever hear, if you only hear songs about window washers. They also wrote "Title Of The Song," the perfect generic love song for all occasions.
- There's a good reason Stephen Lynch rebuffs enthusiastic female applause when he announces he's going to sing a "song for the ladies..."
- Mitch Benn does a lot of these. In "Imagine You Were Mine" the singer is a Stalker with a Crush, and the final verse reveals he's composing this in prison, having broken the restraining order. "Now He's Gone" is a parody of 1950s "dead boyfriend" songs like "The Leader of the Pack", about a girl who kills her boyfriends before they can cheat on her. "These Ghoulish Things" is a gothic song with a man describing somebody as various horrible things in a complementary way, and then getting confused when she takes offense.
- Sam Kinison's infamous "You Fucking Whore" (preceded by his equally infamous "emotional tampon" rant) expresses how every guy has felt after a bad break-up, but wouldn't admit for fear of seeming like a Jerkass.
- Bill Bailey's love ballad, which "encompasses all aspects of love; betrayal, hatred and depression." It shifts from a traditional ballad to a vitrolic parody halfway through, (and the cute moment of watching a duck in the park comes back):
The duck lies shredded in a pancake
- The works of P.D.Q. Bach include a few such songs, such as "My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth", "The Queen To Me A Royal Pain Doth Give", and "Jane, My Jane" (For your hair is your crown (which you remove when you retire) / and your breath is like down (wind of a compost heap on fire)...)
- Also in the classical genre is Paul Sjolund's "Love Lost," settings of four great(?) anti-love poems.
When you're away
- On the album for A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, there's the song "A Cold, Cold Christmas". Colbert sings about a breakup wishing death upon the girl who broke up on him to extreme degrees. Sample lyrics:
You hung up my heart like a stocking/Then went and stuffed it with coal
- There's also Stephen and the Colbert's famous 80s hit "Charlene (I'm Right Behind You)", which has the subtext of being a song about a girl Colbert is stalking.
- Wilco's "Via Chicago" begins: "I dreamed about killing you again last night/ and it felt alright to me."
- Robby Roadsteamer's "I Hope You Get Ugly In Heaven" is a power-ballad duet where Robby offers up some already skewed romantic sentiment ("I hope you get ugly in heaven/ 'cause you might love someone, someone like me"), which guest vocalist Heidi Lee bluntly rebuffs:
I hope you don't call me in heaven
- Even his complete non-sequitur reference to Pee-wee Herman is followed by her impassioned cry of "I love Pee-wee Herman/ but I doooooonnnn't love yooooooooouuuuu!"
- Lily Tomlin and Barry Manilow released the appropriately titled "Last Duet" as seen by the introductory lines:
Lily: You creep
- "Jizz In My Pants". Anybody?
- The Lonely Island also have "Dreamgirl", which starts out as a love song about an ugly, insane girl with bad fashion sense ("Yo, you're a vision in sweats with the neon pouch, half-eaten squirrel hanging out of your mouth"), and by the end suddenly becomes a love song about Chex Mix.
- "Dick In A Box" may also be an example.
- "Happy Birthday Fungus Face" by Da Yoopers.
- Tim Minchin assures his love that if he didn't have her, he'd probably have someone else.
- Although this one is less "anti-love" (he's at pains to express that he does love his wife, to whom the song's addressed) as it is "anti-stupid ideas about love like that everyone has exactly one soulmate with whom they fall in love instantly and permanently instead of forging a powerful connection over time with shared experience".
- Minchin himself insists that the song is not about love at all, but about math. The lyrics are based on statistics, not cynicism.
- Then of course there's his very genuine love song to an inflatable sex doll. And two-thirds of his other songs...
- "Nothing Can Stop Us Now" is particularly effective thanks to the refreshingly realistic final line.
- "You Grew On Me" might seem like this, but gets subverted, and you have to listen to it to see how comparing love to a tumor can describe true love and not come over as an Anti-Love Song.
- The German artist Farin Urlaub has a song titled "Phänomenal Egal", which narrates the singer's phenomenal indifference the singer feels towards his girlfriend.
- Though if you read between the lines, it becomes clear that this is actually a true-blue love song in disguise. Word of God says Farin wanted to write a straightforward love ballad, but thought he couldn't make it sound cool enough, hence the denying lyrics.
- It's the one-semester-of-Spanish, Spanish love song!
- This song compares a boy's laugh to a "constipated monkey".
- On SCTV, Dave Thomas and Catherine O'Hara do a brilliantly caustic, chipper impression of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.
- Amy Rigby's "Cynically Yours", pretty much what it sounds like: "At the end of the day / I've got nothing good to say / But you don't suck / So I'm cynically yours".
- A possible Ur Example of this type of song was written in 1913, "And The Green Grass Grew All Around", not to be confused with the similarly titled nursery rhyme "The Green Grass Grew All Around", although it's also somewhat a spoof of the latter, which was written just a year before. The song involves little Johnny Green and little Sally Brown, starting out all innocently enough like a cute little Edwardian era love song before we see hints of what's to come. Wealthy little Johnny promises to take care of Sally and share his wealth, seeing as how he already gave her a lot of gold. The second verse is a Non Sequitur Scene discussing Johnny and Sally buying a "Ford machine" and getting into a violent hit and run accident with a butcher cart. Instead of "green grass grew all around" it's "lamb chops/spare ribs flew all around", and the accident injured the poor butcher quite graphically possibly even killed him, apparently they heard his kidneys rupture, and his ribs were broken and his heart was physically damaged (although "broke his ribs and heart" could have been a heartbreak metaphor, although in the context it's unlikely). Third verse rejoins our lovebirds after marriage, and we find out that the meal they cook together isn't so tender of a moment when she poisoned his biscuits which kills him. The end is a sad version of the chorus with the last line an inappropriately happy version. So we have gold digging black widows, vehicular homocide, and graphic deaths described in great detail.Yeah, that's really a clean, wholesome innocent song about the 1910s.
Electronica / Techno
- Future Bible Heroes, "I'm Lonely (And I Love It)." I'm lonely and I love it / If only I'd dreamed of it / I'd have broken up with you so long ago...
- "Only This Moment" by Röyksopp can be interpreted in many ways, but these lyrics stand out:
I know I might lose you by taking the chance
- Frou Frou, "Close Up"
- IAMX's song 'Missile' is about a destructive relationship.
- The Crystalline Effect, "When You're Asleep".
- The Flemish folk group Laïs had the very upbeat song "'t Smidje" (The Blacksmith) that chronicles the memories of a blacksmith who wants to get married but ends up with a worse deal than being alone:
She's the most beautiful of all women
I've had it with being married
- Ben Taylor's "Wicked Way"
- Surprisingly averted by Tom Waits with the song "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You" about a lonely bar patron who falls for a woman who is also there alone.
- Many of Waits' songs from his early years skit the edge between this trope and tender or touching love songs. His songs are often sad or gritty, depicting couples in rough points in their relationships, sadness after a relationship has ended, or lamenting what could have been.
Hip-Hop / Rap
- The Insane Clown Posse can arguably be said to have never done a straight-up love song. One rather notable example is "Another Love Song", which features Violent J singing, in full "romantic" style, about how he plans to murder his girlfriend because she cheats on him.
- The Rondo Brothers' "Still Your Ghost" features a sultry female vocalist and an up-tempo beat. Only a few lines in, it's clear that the singer is an obsessed Stalker with a Crush for a guy she didn't mean anything to.
- Eminem's "Superman" certainly sounds like a love song until you listen to those words. "Crazy In Love" fits too.
- "If Your Heart Isn't In It" by Atlantic Starr. Here's the chorus:
If your heart isn't in it,
I wanna tie her body up and throw her in my basement
- Likewise, Cee Lo Green's Fuck You has a similar vibe.
- Cage's "I Never Knew You", about a man who falls in love with a woman he sees across the street and proceeds to stalk and murder her.
- Reggae rapper Snow has a song called "Anti-Love Song".
- Skyclad's "Little Miss Take":
You can't be accused of procrastination,
- Type O Negative has a fair amount of these, the best known of them being "Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity".
- Sonata Arctica have done four songs that tell the tale of a stalker, 3 of which are straight examples. "The End of This Chapter" is the original one, explaining why in "Caleb" he's stalking the woman and exploring his feelings. In "Don't Say a Word" he finally decides to kill his former love. In "Juliet" he has killed her, rejoices and takes a poison so that they can be together in the afterlife, only to find that she is Not Quite Dead.
- Dream Theater's "Light Fuse and Get Away" portrays a cynical man who has been dumped so many times that he considers relationships a waste of time and one-night stands a more attractive option ("No gain no pain / When it's lust to dust you can crawl from the wreckage").
- Apocalyptica's "Anything But Love" doesn't even pretend for a moment to be a love song. lyrically the song details a female character talking to the man who is going to rape her. She essentially tells him to be as cruel and evil as he wants ("Go on infect me, go on and scare me to death.") and make sure she is traumatized and scared. Because she'd rather that than have him love her.
- Does Avenged Sevenfold's "A Little Piece of Heaven" count (certainly a case of Love Makes You Evil anyways)? Considering it's about a necrophiliac that kills his girlfriend, eats her heart and then gets killed by her resurrected corpse. Includes such lovely lines as
She was never this good in bed even when she was sleeping
- Anthrax did a mock love-ballad, "dallabnikufesin", complete with the twelve-string acoustic and the tortured bridge that were stereotypical of the hair bands of the time. There was a line in there about "I didn't mean to hurt you / or sleep with all your friends..." and it ends with the couple reunited just before she gets hit by a truck, to which the singers start mock-sobbing and asking for tissues.
- Within Temptation: "What Have You Done Now" is both a Love Song and an Anti-Love Song, about two lovers who are now mortal enemies, but still in love with each other.
- Overkill wrote a song called "I Hate" about a disgruntled worker's utter contempt for his colleagues, bosses, and customers, and anyone else he comes into contact with.
Think I know how you got this far
- Testament cranks this up to eleven and beyond with their song, "Leave Me Forever." The lyrics end on possibly one of the most venomous and hate filled rants against an ex-girlfriend ever.
I can't get away
- "Love?" by Strapping Young Lad all but states that love is just a way to avoid loneliness and get sex.
- Where to start with Avantasia? The Scarecrow Saga has tons of these, such as "What Kind of Love" about rejection and "Your Love is Evil". A dominating theme in the trilogy is the inability of the protagonist to find love or acceptance.
- Psychostick has a couple of these, Throwin' Down is about an obsessive girlfriend, and Orgasm = Love is pretty self explanatory.
- Megadeth's song "The Hardest Part Of Letting Go" according to Dave Mustaine ""While everyone writes cheesy love songs, mine are a little different....boy meets girl, girl doesn't like boy, boy kills girl."
- "One More Fucking Time" by Motorhead is about a man who is left bitter and cynical after being dumped by his woman.
- The Reduced Shakespeare Company's Millennium Musical had "The Hitler/Khan Duet", a spoof of the obligatory Broadway love song by, well, Adolf Hitler and Ghengis Khan.
Hitler: I guess that every show needs a song like this.
- In the musical version of Wicked, Elphaba and Glinda sing a song about one another (titled "What is This Feeling?" but frequently referred to as "Loathing") which could almost be a love song if only a few words were tweaked.
- Subverted, weirdly enough, by "Yesterday I Loved You" from Once Upon A Mattress:
Yesterday you seemed as lovely to me
- Similar to a line from the Renaissance poet John Donne: Methinks I lied all winter when I swore / My love was infinite, if spring makes it more. He also wrote some Anti Love Poems, such as "The Apparition".
- Another subversion is Jonathan Coulton's "You Ruined Everything", which sounds like it's going to be one of these for the first verse or so, except that it's an unironic song of parental love.
- In the musical Out Of This World, "Cherry Pies Ought To Be You" is first sung by Mercury and Chloe as a perky love duet in List Song format. It is soon reprised by Nikki and Juno, but with lyrics of a different mood:
Nikki: Shooting pains ought to be you.
- ThouShaltNot's "True Love" is initially a Gothic cabaret-style depiction of former flames meeting for what would appear to be innocent drinks and reminiscences for old times' sake, picks up into a drunken, menacing waltz, and then, well, it gets worse.
I'll burn with your love like I was Birkenau,
- The Cut Song "Happily Ever After" from Company.
Someone to hold you too close
- "Love Song" from the musical Love Life. (Key line: "But nobody listens to my song.")
- Leonard Bernstein's Candide has "Ring-Around-A-Rosy" (incorporated into the "Auto-Da-Fé" number in the Final Revised Version), a song for the syphilis-stricken Pangloss. Its lyrics are along the same lines as Tom Lehrer's "I Got It From Agnes," only with a refrain saying love makes the world go round.
- Rodgers and Hart's "To Keep My Love Alive" is not the sentimental torch song one might infer from its title (and that it was one of the last song lyrics Hart wrote before he died), but a List Song sung by a lady about the many, many husbands of hers she's murdered.
- Rodgers and Hart wrote a few other Anti Love Songs, one being the duet "Ev'rything I Got" from By Jupiter, which has lines like "I'm not yours for better but for worse." (The reprise is a more standard sort of love song, though a highly martyred one.)
- Avenue Q's "The More You Love Someone (The More You Want To Kill Them)"
- In Spanish language, Paquita la del Barrio seems to be the embodiment of this trope. "Rata de dos patas" is the most notorious example.
- Subverted in The Bible (no, really), though you have to know the context. The Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5 speaks of a vineyard that's just no good, even though its owner does everything he's supposed to, so he's advised to just ditch it. Apparently, the people of Jerusalem were supposed to understand this as an ironic metaphor with the vineyard being a wife. When the metaphor is explained in the end, it turns out that the man is actually God and the vineyard is the nation of Israel. Oops.
Pop / Punk
- NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" is a rare example of an anti-love song sung by a boy band:
I don't wanna be a fool for you
- "Bye Bye Bye" was the first single from the band's first album after an acrimonious breakup with their previous manager and record label. Whether there is real-life subtext to the song is debatable, but if there is the video makes it really obvious, with a woman playing with the boys as marionettes.
- Pet Shop Boys' "I'm With Stupid"—on the surface, a fun little pop song about being in love with someone perceived as a dim bulb. The hidden meaning (cheerfully admitted by the Boys)? A satire of the relationship between Tony Blair and George Bush, sung from Blair's point of view. Contains the gem "Is stupid really stupid, or a different kind of smart?"
- Mika's "Lollipop" is a happy little pop song about how love will ruin your life. "Erase" sounds like a regretful breakup song until you realize he's actually taunting his former lover, and suggesting they they kill themselves in order to get over him:
When the pain won't go away
- Ludo's "Good Will Hunting By Myself" starts as a standard whiny breakup song and quickly devolves into a spiteful rant about how awful the ex-girlfriend in question actually was. The spoken-word climax must be heard to be believed, but the final chorus is pretty great as well:
You can watch Good Will Hunting by yourself (you bitch, please die)
- Arguably, everything Fall Out Boy have ever written, or at least about 90% of it.
- An example from Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying:
I used to obsess over living
- Belle and Sebastian's "You Don't Send Me" is upbeat and peppy, but is all about how happy the singer is that his girlfriend broke up with him:
Since you went away, everything is looking great
- So despite the suggestion that "the key is change, getting over all your problems", we're left thinking that he's maybe protesting a little too much.
- Most of what Reel Big Fish writes, when they're not mad at their label.
- Perhaps the best example is "Your Guts (I Hate 'Em)"; The opening lines say it all:
I wrote this song about you
- A lot of Hello! Project songs.
- The Dropkick Murphys song "The Dirty Glass" starts out sounding like a "lost love" song, but before the guitars even kick in Darcy gives herself away.
"Murphy, Murphy, darling dear, I long for you now night and day./Your pain was my pleasure, your sorrow my joy./I fear now I've lost you health and good cheer."
- Except that as the song goes on, it becomes apparent that it's not even a breakup song at all; "Darcy" is the Anthropomorphic Personification of a pub.
- The Offspring's rewrite of the song "Feelings", changing it from a sappy love song to someone singing about another person they absolutely hate.
- The Magnetic Fields. Examples include "I Don't Really Love You Any More" (self-explanatory) and "I Don't Believe You", which contains the lyric "You seemed to be / In love with me / Which isn't very realistic."
- Much, if not all, of their three-album set 69 Love Songs falls under this trope.
- In fact, it includes all four of the sub-categories listed in the trope description, and probably makes up a few more.
- "I Don't Believe You" strikes me more of a song about someone with such low self-esteem that they can't believe the person actually loves them. It's what I get from quotes like
- Much, if not all, of their three-album set 69 Love Songs falls under this trope.
You say you quote unquote love me
- And don't forget 'I Can't Touch You Anymore', with lines like
I can't touch you anymore
- Also, "You Must Be Out Of Your Mind" - A hate song about an ex including the lines:
I want you crawling back to me
- "100,000 Fireflies" is, for the most part, an earnest (if bleak) love song, but then you get to the coda:
You won't be happy with me
- Lit - "Miserable" has a series of lyrics which suggest this.
"You make me come."
- And of course, Good Charlotte's "
I Don't Want to Be in LoveDance Floor Anthem".
- Feargal Sharkey of The Undertones has a good one: "You Little Thief". With lyrics like, "How does it feel to make a grown man wanna die", it definitely qualifies.
- "Gunning Down Romance" by Savage Garden.
- "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend" by The Mr. T Experience.
- Before writing the many romantic hit songs of ABBA, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus wrote "Det Dar Med Karlek" ("That Thing With Romance"), mocking the amount of love songs dominating the top ten list. (A bad translation of the chorus follows.)
That thing with romance
- "Goodbye Good Guy" by Frente starts off sounding like the typical pining-for-a-lost-lover-please-take-me-back number, but by the end of the song the singer has realised they've been tricked all along.
Something was hovering over you boy, just then
- "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan. An intense, highly erotic song... based on mash notes from an insane stalker fan. (Who tried to sue her for plagiarism, then killed himself when he lost the case.)
- Zombina and the Skeletones' "Counting On Your Suicide."
Baby, I hate you, I hate to tell you that I hate you
- "Don't Bother" by Shakira. The video has her destroying her boyfriend's Ford Mustang.
- Many Only Ones songs fall under this, particularly "No Solution": "Some girls say they're loving ya/but love is just destruction disguised under another name...you stand for everything I despise, but when you hold me and look in my eyes I know I can't let you go..."
- Fiona Apple's "Get Him Back" is pretty much a hate song in its first two verses, then ricochets into an upbeat love song in verse #3.
- "Polly" by Captain Dangerous is an Anti-Love Song in which the singer gleefully describes how utterly unenamoured he is with the titular young lady. It features the classic line "By the way: I'm gonna kill you", as well as the chorus:
I've got condiments in my kitchen
- We can't mention Captain Dangerous in this section without mentioning "Boozehounds" either.
- 20 Fingers' "Short Dick Man" (also known as "Short Short Man" due to censorship) is a song about a woman turning down a man with micropenis.
Isn't that cute an extra belly button
- "Where Is The Love" by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway - a song about a couple having an affair with each other, each demanding to know when they were going to have the other to themselves, and both refusing to answer.
- How Kirk Thatcher's "I Hate You" took so long to be mentioned
- The Divine Comedy had one called 'Frog Princess', in which the singer recounts on a girl from his past who didn't actually believe in love, and drifted from partner to partner. His true feelings for her shine the most in these lines:
And now I'm rid of her, I must confess
- "Love Fool" by The Cardigans. A sweet sounding song about how a women cannot get over a former boyfriend.
Love me, love me, say that you love me
- "Wind It Up" by the Barenaked Ladies:
I can't believe that you'd believe that I would fake it...
- "I Hate Love Songs" by Gwar. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Madonna and Prince's "Love Song" in Like A Prayer has it right in the words that it isn't a love song.
- Sara Bareille's "Love Song" falls under this trope with her saying that "I'm not gonna write you a love song/Cause you asked for it/Cause you need one". It is reportedly in response to her record label asking her to write a love song in order to become more successful, which she did not want to do. Ironically, it is her biggest-selling single to date.
- Space's approach to songwriting was summed up by one of their members as 'boy kills girl, falls in love'. 'The Ballad Of Tom Jones' (couple keep trying to kill each other), 'Bastard Me Bastard You' (boy loves girl so much he wants to kill her), 'Me And You Versus The World' (boy meets girl, they wind up dead), 'Begin Again' (boy keeps getting dumped), 'Influenza' (boy compares girl to various diseases), 'Drop Dead' (boys stalks girl), 'A Liddle Biddy Help From Elvis' (boy meets girl, Elvis Presley accidentally shoots them), 'I Love You More Than Football' (boy abuses girl), Pretty Suicide' (couple kill themselves), 'Kill Me' (boy wants girl to kill him), 'Diary Of A Wimp' (Dogged Nice Guy can't move on)...the list goes on.
- Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears
It's just a crush
- Little Voice by Hilary Duff is this
I know I sound insane
say the word forever more
- Bright Eyes' "I've Been Eating (For You)":
Yeah, you were just some song I wrote
- Devo loves these kinds of tropes, and evokes this one pretty well on "Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mammy)" from their debut album:
Something about the way you taste makes me want to clear my throat
- Placebo's "A Song to Say Goodbye":
You are one of God's mistakes
- The Killers has a few, namely "Forget About What I Said":
We used to tear it down
- "For Reasons Unknown":
But my heart, it don't beat, it don't beat the way it used to
- "All the Pretty Faces" (though, to be honest, he seems bothered by it)
Help me out, I need it
- They also have the Murder Trilogy, inspired by the real story of a man who killed the girl he was having an affair with. It starts with "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf", that tells the man's reaction to his lover leaving:
Jennifer, tell me where I stand
- "Midnight Show" has him killing her:
I took my baby's breath under a chandelier
- And "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" is him lying to the police about her murder (Ain't no motive for this crime / Jenny was a friend of mine) with the lines 'She couldn't scream when I held her close' being changed to 'She kicked and screamed while I held her throat' in live performances.
- "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is a classic subliminal Anti-Love Song, which was written during Sting's divorce—but lots of people only listened to the chorus and thought it was a love song, when it's actually about a guy stalking the woman who scorned him.
- British parody group The Barron Knights did a version of this with the same lyrics but with the delivery altered, to turn it into a song about the KGB watching someone.
- Motley Crue wrote "You're All I Need" in Girls, Girls, Girls, that sounds like a typical love ballad, but in reality is about obsessively killing a woman and ending in jail.
- They also wrote "Too Young to Fall in Love" which describes a bitter relationship (This song would be mention in their song "Don't Go Away Mad")
- For all of their straight-up love songs, Queen wrote a surprising number of these, ranging from "I'm in Love with My Car" to "You Don't Fool Me".
- "Heavy In Your Arms" by Florence + the Machine is a pretty vicious Anti-Love Song about how the narrator is a dead weight around her lover's neck, always dragging him down until he decides to just let her drown in a river. It contains this lyric:
This will be my last confession: "I love you" never felt like any blessing
- "Up The Hill Backwards" by David Bowie, immediately after leaving Angela.
- Who could forget Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"?
- "I swore that I would love you to the end of time! [...] So now I'm praying for the end of time!"
- How about another Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman contribution:
How do you abuse me - let me count the ways
- We also seem to be missing Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
I want you, I need you
- Frank Zappa's first album, Freak Out, is almost fifty percent Anti Love Songs, with each one parodying a different sub-genre of doo-wop.
- Paul McCartney actually made fun of this, possibly to the point of subversion, in "Silly Love Songs":
You'd think that people would have had enough of Silly Love Songs
- "Every Day I Love You Less and Less" by the Kaiser Chiefs. The title is pretty self-explanatory, really.
- Even the Beach Boys did this. "Here Today" starts off sounding like a conventional love song, but the lyrics take a turn for the worse real fast, with lines like:
- "A brand new love affair is such a beautiful thing / But if you're not careful think about the pain it can bring..."
- And more relevantly: "Right now you think that she's perfection / This time is really an exception / You know I hate to be a downer / But I'm the guy she left before you found her..."
- Well, it was from Pet Sounds, the album where their subject matter got Darker and Edgier.
- Pulp seem to have at least one of these on each of their albums.
- 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" messes with the listener's head - on the surface it sounds like an anti-love song, but on another level it sounds as if the narrator is unsuccessfully trying to convince himself that he isn't in love.
- About half of the band's output was "weird love"/stalker songs, very often featuring extremely odd symbolism
- One up-and-coming genius in this field is Jonathan Coulton. For example, from his evil-genius-in-love song Skullcrusher Mountain:
I made this half-pony half-monkey monster to please you
- There's also "A Laptop Like You," which is a country ballad-style love song sung to...a MacBook Pro.
- And "Someone is Crazy":
The world's against you so you think or maybe wish it was
- The Beautiful South song "Song For Whoever" sure sounds like a love song, but it's actually a parody; the song is about a songwriter gleefully describing how he uses his relationships with women -- good and bad—as inspiration, and how this brings him loads and loads of cash and critical acclaim.
- This hits its peak where it becomes clear that he loves making his girlfriends cry, because that always leads to great materials for songs. ("Deep, so deep, the number one I hope to reap/Depends upon the tears you weep, so cry, lover, cry...")
- So it really was about that? I had taken it at face value, the songwriter fondly recalling past relationships that were so brief and numerous he couldn't place any of their names.
- They've done a fair few. "I'll Sail This Ship Alone" is essentially about a man accepting his ex-partner's decision to leave him, while still trying to win her back. However, the song ends with the line "Well they said if I burned myself alive/That you'd come running back." Another is "We Are Each Other", which sounds, on the surface, like a song about an intensely close lyrics, until it becomes clear that the relationship was suffocating for them and is now over.
- Their most straightforward anti love song is probably "Something That You Said":
The perfect love song it has no words; it only has death threats.
- A part of the reason why REM's "The One I Love" became the band's first hit was because many people saw it as a love song: "this one goes out to the one I love". Their ears didn't pick that not only the particular loved one has been left behind, but the narrator also calls her "a simple/another prop to occupy my time".
- "Used To Love Her" by Guns N' Roses is a fairly blatant and obvious example. Sure is fun to sing after a breakup, though.
- "Locomotive", and how!
- Also "Back Off Bitch".
- The Pogues, "Fairytale of New York" (also an Anti-Christmas Song, of course):
You're a bum
- "My Michelle" is this because Axl thought a straight-up ballad was not an homage that fit the titular Michelle (in fact, she loved the song because it was honest!).
- Sara Bareilles has become famous for songs of this nature. Her portfolio includes "Bottle It Up", about the downside of love and obsession; "Gravity", about destructive love; and the ironically titled "Love Song", which was heavily influenced by her label trying to force her into writing a peppy love song.
I'm not gonna write you a love song
- Also "Fairytale", about fairytale love and how it doesn't work.
- The Sisters of Mercy did this one in "I Was Wrong".
I was wrong
- And "Ribbons", too, depending on how you interpret it.
- The Cardigans "Lovefool" (of Romeo + Juliet fame) is mistaken for a love song because of the upbeat tempo but the song is actually a woman begging her boyfriend to just pretend that he loves her even if he doesn't because she can't stand to be alone. There is the line
I don't care if you really care as long as you don't go
and of course the chorus
So I cry and I pray and I beg
- Most of their songs actually tend to come under this heading, if you look at the lyrics more closely. And even the ones that look like straightforward lovesongs lyrically tend to be undermined by Nina Persson's delivery, e.g. the snarky monotone in which she sings "And now I've found a partner, no one could be happier than I am" (it doesn't help that the song is called "Happy Meal", which suggests less the anticipation of a romantic dinner the lyrics overtly deal in than cheap fast food)
- Maroon 5 songs fall victims to this sometimes. "If I Never See Your Face Again" is about an unhealthy relationship about two that kind of hate each other but have sexual chemistry that keeps them coming back to each other.
- Songs About Jane and Hands All Over have heaps of these types of songs.
- Linkin Park's second album Meteora has as a common lyrical theme which links psychological damage to staying in an unhealthy relationship.
- Played more straight in Minutes to Midnight with the song "In Pieces", which could be a description of Chester Bennington's divorce. It's essentially the speaker telling his partner to do her worst, because he will endure and not "be the one" to abandon his vows before she does.
- I wonder whether the song "Love To Love You" by the Corrs would qualify, basically the singer is saying she somehow can't love the other person.
- "Where Were You When I Needed You", by the Grassroots (also done by the Bangles).
- Richard Thompson's "Shane and Dixie" seems to be fairly sweet love song about a Bonnie and Clyde-type bank robbing couple- until the guy in the couple decides to perpetrate a murder-suicide with the girl so he can get his name in the paper. He dies and is quickly forgotten, she lives and marries the reporter who comes to cover the incident.
- Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain": the "fool" is stood up and stands in the rain wondering where he went wrong...other than waiting on the wrong block.
- Another anti-love song by Led Zeppelin is "Your Time Is Gonna Come", in which the singer tells his lying and cheating ex-girlfriend that one day she's going to reap what she sows.
- We've gotten a long way down this list without Ludo's "Love Me Dead":
You suck so passionately
- Their "The Horror of Our Love" fits a different part of this trope, being a completely serious love song... from a murderous stalker to a girl he kills midway through the song.
- The Turtles' "Elenore" is an example of the overdone sort of parody, complete with a line in the chorus lampshading how cliched everything is ("You're my pride and joy, et cetera"), though it's often mistaken for a straight silly love song. The band felt they were being forced to churn out simple pop songs by their record company when they wanted to go in a more progressive direction, and intentionally wrote the lyrics to be as cliched, cheesy, and behind the times as possible, hoping the result would point out how out-of-fashion this kind of song was. Of course, this backfired spectacularly: The record company loved it, and it became one of their biggest hit singles.
- Also, Good Charlotte's song "Bloody Valentine" is about a man who kills a girl's boyfriend to show that he loves her. It has to be heard to be believed.
- The beginning of the song:
Oh my love
- The Mountain Goats' "No Children:"
I hope I lie
- The Smiths' bitter song "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" features this memorable lyric:
- The Who had "The Kids Are Alright," which is a fairly catchy, upbeat song about a man leaving his girlfriend. In a similar vein (and on the same album) there's "A Legal Matter", about a man who's been forced into marriage now that his girlfriend is knocked up.
- "Anthrax" by Gang of Four features two vocal tracks. One is a typical set of anti love lyrics. The other is (largely) this monologue:
Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about, most groups make most of their songs about falling in love or how happy they are to be in love, you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time - it's because these groups think there's something very special about it either that or else it's because everybody else sings about it and always has, you know to burst into song you have to be inspired and nothing inspires quite like love. These groups and singers think that they appeal to everyone by singing about love because apparently everyone has or can love or so they would have you believe anyway but these groups seem to go along with the belief that love is deep in everyone's personality and I don't think we're saying there's anything wrong with love, we just don't think that what goes on between two people should be shrouded with mystery.
- And it doesn't get much better in "Damaged Goods" or "We Live as We Dream, Alone", though at least the latter is marginally less caustic.
- Rammstein revels in songs like these. Most of their lyrics have hidden meanings and most of those tend to be cynical or sadistic in the extreme.
- "Du Hast", literally, is about a woman asking a man to marry her, with the man refusing to reply. However, the chorus is a pun - "Du hast, du hasst mich, du hast mich gefragt" should be translated "you have, you hate me, you've asked me".
- "Stein um Stein" is about possessive love of the worst kind. It seems sweet enough at times, with lyrics like "I will build us a home with a garden outside" and "I will always be with you" - but then the details of the house are described... "No windows, no door, inside will be darkness", "with your feet in the concrete, you will beautify the foundations" - "Stone by stone I wall you in, and no one will hear you scream."
- "Amour Amour" is an outright damnation of love itself, likening the feeling to a predator who cannot be tamed. At the end of the song the singer begs for a way out:
Please, please. Give me poison!
- "All Sparks" by the Editors:
Be careful angel, this life is just too long, all sparks will burn out in the end...
- "Die, Die My Darling" by The Misfits.
Die die die my darling
- Many of their songs are pretty anti-love (like "Angelfuck") and pro...erm...old horror movies, really.
- GWAR has a few songs like this: "Sick of You" ("It's just your luck/You really suck/That's all--I'm sick of you") and "Hate Love Songs, which is about, well, hating love songs, among other things.
- Elvis Costello:
Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking when I hear the crazy things that you say
- Pretty much every other song he wrote for the first ten years or so after that first album was this.
- "Telephone Line" by Electric Light Orchestra
- Bowling for Soup's "A Friendly Goodbye" fits this trope perfectly, along with another.
Ain't that a "B" with an itch
- As does "Here's Your Freakin' Song"
- The Coasters "Poison Ivy" is also about STDs, and the song was released in the 50's.
- Steely Dan: to name a few, "Dirty Work", "Reeling In The Years", "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", "Hey Nineteen".
- Breaking Benjamin's song "Topless" is a sexually-charged hate song. "I love your face/Just Get away/ I'm on my knees/ fuck you fuck me"
- Faith No More's album closer on The Real Thing, called "Edge of the World." It starts out sounding lounge-swing romantic and heartfelt right up until "Come here little girl, would you like some candy . . ."
- Andrew Jackson Jihad has a lot of songs like this, most notably "I Love You" off of the album Candy Cigarettes and Capguns, which contains lyrics such as "I love you like the moon and stars, when little kids get hit by cars, girl you know its true," and "but I'll take anything, and I'll take anyone. I'll take an angry lesbian with a loaded gun. I'll take a whore with syphilis and gonorrhea too. But darling, I love you."
- Most Arab Strap songs.
- Jonathan Coulton is known for this enough that Paul and Storm imitated him for a competition (and doing so very well) by writing a song ("Live") about a mad scientist trying to create the perfect girl by making a female Frankenstein's monster.
- Will she be friendly? / Or will she break free? / Will she terrorize the villagers? / -- Will she notice me?
- Paul and Storm also wrote a song called "Your Love Is (Love Song With Metaphor)" featuring a really demented view of unrequited love.
- Your love is Christopher Walken...
- "My Future Ex Girl Friend" by Voltaire.
- Voltaire also has "Stuck With You," about a married couple complaining about how their vows force them to stay together despite the fact they can't stand each other. Though after they die, they decide they prefer moldering in the ground together to alone.
- As a non-American example: a Ukrainian band Skryabin made a song in 2008 that started as a love song... until its third line, then for the remainder of the song the singer threatened to mutilate his girl if she even disobeys him or cheats on him (basically a creepy song about domestic violence).
- "Taxidermy" by Erin Murray starts out as a normal lost-love ballad, until the singer starts explaining how she's going to keep him.
- Just about any song about relationships, sex or romance by The Buzzcocks.
- "Love comes in spurts" by Richard Hell and the Voidoids ("and it murders your heart/they didn't tell you that part")
- Psychobilly/Gothabilly bands seem particularly fond of singing terms of endearment at corpses, zombies, vampires, and other nasties, with tongues planted firmly in cheeks.
- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals' "Ah, Mary," which sounds enough like a normal love song, albeit a conflicted one to a terrifyingly disturbed woman, except is that the name is only used in the chorus, where it's always "Ah, Mary"... that's right. It's made clear in the last refrain:
"Ah, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary-kaaa!"
- The Beatles have a soft, lilting ballad called "Norwegian Wood" about burning down a girl's apartment for being a cocktease. Apparently John Lennon was writing about an affair while trying not to let his wife know he was having one, and Paul McCartney thought it was a laugh to burn the place down at the end.
- No My Chemical Romance? For shame. Who could forget "I Don't Love You"?
- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have "Where the Wild Roses Grow", which is about a tragic love affair. Of course, it's tragic because Nick Cave's character in the duet bashes Kylie Minogue's head in... Adding to the weirdness is the duet he and PJ Harvey recorded on the same album, "Henry Lee", where Harvey's character slits Cave's throat and dumps the corpse down a well mostly for spite. Depending on who you ask, this fits their brief relationship rather too well.
- "Fool" by Everything Else is a good example. What makes it better is that it's a Sequel Song to "If You Loved Her".
- "The Final Cut" by Coheed and Cambria:
In the final curtain call, / You left me here with the coldest of feelings,
- A large portion of Xiu Xiu's back catalogue has made great use of this trope, covering many, if not all, of the various angles mentioned above.
- Jennifer Lopez is a sort of open letter to the eponymous singer, asking if she ever gets upset about the fact that her music soundtracks so many mens broken hearts and sexual frustration in (presumably gay) bars around the world every Friday night.
- Sad Pony Guerilla Girl is surely in the running for "creepiest love song ever". Best case scenario is it's about a woman having a one sided affair with a married man, and being unhappy with the arrangement, but too in love with him to break it off. The song also alludes to him beating her up, and the line "I am your little girl" may or may not be intended literally.
- Perhaps the ultimate example is Fabulous Muscles. It's about a young gay man with a muscle fetish who unromantically fellates a closeted jock, who then freaks out and kills him. However, the song is delivered in a tone that suggests he's relatively ok with this scenario. Sample lyrics: "cremate me after you cum on my lips, honey boy. Place my ashes in a vase beneath your workout bench".
- The Cult's "Love Removal Machine" is about the protagonist finding a quick hookup as a way of purging himself of his former SO.
- "The Truth Is...", the 2011 album by Theory Of A Deadman, is about 3/4 this. Mostly songs that are rather explicitly either "I hate my girlfriend I wish she'd leave" or "I hate that bitch, why did she treat me so bad before she left?"
- Subverted by Trace Adkins' "This Ain't No Love Song". Although he says that he's driving by her house and can't sleep at night but isn't in love, the song's tone and lyrics make it obvious that he knows he's in love, and she knows he knows, and he knows she knows he knows.
- "You're the Hangnail in My Life" by Hoyt Axton.
- Johnny Cash sang a touching lost love ballad titled "Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart" (written by his producer Jack Clement). You can hear the convicts laughing during the song.
- Roy Clark's "Thank God and Grayhound (You're Gone)" starts as if the singer is sorry to see his former love leave. The lyrics soon make it clear that he's anything but.
- Alan Jackson's "Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love Song" is a parody of... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Jaron and the Long Road to Love (really Jaron Lowenstein of Evan and Jaron) wrote a country song called "Pray for You". Though very few would mistake its meaning once the chorus starts.
I haven't been to church since I don't remember when
- You might think just from the title that Jack Ingram's "Love You" is a love song, but the first verse makes it plain that it's not ("the heck with this, the heck with us"), and then the chorus starts: "Love you, love this town / Love this motherlovin' truck that keeps breakin' lovin' down."
- Jessica Lea Mayfield's song, "For Today" is a subliminal anti love song:
And while these words may sound so sweet
- "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks, which is a lighthearted, peppy song about an abusive husband and his deservedly unpleasant end.
- "Icky Vicky" from The Fairly OddParents.
- Wizard Rock band Split Seven Ways has a song called "Sour Grapes" which may or may not fit into this. In it, Draco Malfoy complains about Harry with lines like: It takes more to win the war than sheer dumb luck / If he's not got his friends around to think for him then he's stuck. But the song's full title is "Sour grapes, or a Passive-aggressive Love Song".
- Harley Quinn does a truly demented one in the Batman the Animated Series episode "Harlequinade", called "Say That We're Sweethearts Again" from a 1944 movie called Meet The People.
- Bart writes a quick one in The Simpsons episode "Stark Raving Dad", quoted above.
- To the music of the "Colonel Bogey March" (AKA "The song from Bridge Over The River Kwai")
- Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus have sung multiple songs about their Foe Yay relationship.
- Doofenshmirtz also did a song (called "Evil Love") about falling in love with another supervillain.
- In the Space Ghost Coast to Coast spinoff The Brak Show, Zorak suddenly acquires a singing voice in the episode "War Next Door". He uses it to croon out such tender ballads as "I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass" and "My Heart Is Full Of Hatred And Loathing". And the audience loves it. After the former song, he even tells the audience outright that "I mean it! I hate you all!"... and they still eat it up!
- "Free Love Freeway" by Ricky Gervais (or possibly David Brent, his character on the British version of The Office) is a bona fide and incredibly enthusiastic love song... and also an incredibly silly one.
- Adam Sandler's character in The Wedding Singer explains that he wrote the first half of this song when he was with his ex, and the second half after she left him at the altar:
You don't know how much I need you.
- Not to mention "Casualties of Love" in the musical version.
'Cause, trust me, love always ends
- In the South Park episode "Christian Rock Hard" Cartman embarks on a quest to get rich writing Christian Rock songs, using the formula of taking ordinary pop songs and replacing the word "Baby" with the word "Jesus". The result is a series of creepy songs that make it sound like the singer is physically in love with Jesus, with lyrics like "Crawl into my bed, Jesus, and let's keep each other warm tonight."
- Jason once wrote one of these to his sister Paige in FoxTrot. Hilarity Ensues when it gets mixed up with a love poem his father wrote to his wife.
- On Metalocalypse, Pickles the Drummer's old band Snakes 'n Barrels recorded the song "Don't Make Me Kill You", which is on the special edition Dethalbum. The lyrics make it sound like it's about a guy who is horribly, horribly abusive, and is constantly this close to straight up killing his girlfriend. The music, however, makes it sound like your typical 80s-Early 90s love ballad.
- How I Met Your Mother has a tie-in website here with one of these on the home page. The singer alternates between seething hatred and being Barney's [who was masquerading as Ted] Stalker with a Crush. Oh, and it goes for twenty minutes, getting progressively crazier as it goes along.
- In That '70s Show Hyde tells Jackie and Anti Love Haiku:
My heart aches with pain.
- Most of the songs in Xenosaga are like this, which is quite appropriate, given that pretty much every member of the main cast has had their lives royally screwed up by love in the past one way or another.
- The film Team America: World Police features the song "The End of an Act". It's half love song, half dissing of Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor.
- "Still Alive," the now-famous ending theme of Portal, is an unusually passive-aggressive example.
- Played With in Aladdin: Return of Jafar. Iago sings "Forget About Love," but it's actually a ploy to get Jasmine to forgive Aladdin for lying to her. Naturally, it's transformed into a legitimate love song between the couple by the end.
- Inverted in Disney's Hercules, where Meg's song "I Won't Say (I'm In Love)" is meant to angrily indicate she's not only not interested in Hercules, but in men in general, but naturally by the end of the song she finally admits to herself she is.
At least out loud
- The Villain Song "Don't Fall in Love from the Beauty and the Beast The Enchanted Christmas.
- In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the protagonist sings one to himself.
Everybody hates you...
- The title song for Diamonds Are Forever is a Fetish Fuel-tacular ode to love sucking and jewelry being awesome.
- The J. Giles Band's "Love Stinks" is a clear example. It was even sung by Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, mentioned above!
- In Saki's short story, "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope," the protagonist writes the following:
How you bore me, Florrie,
- In one Dick Van Dyke Show episode when his usually-shy brother performed songs while sleepwalking, one of his personas was the teen rock 'n roll singing sensation Skid Row. One of his "ballads" was this song:
My heart told me that I should get a wife
- "Dumped Over a Text Message" from Look a Vlog.
- Rock and Rule features Omar's band singing one of these at a talent night.
- Fern Gully features a lizard singing a highly sexualised song about devouring a shrunken man. With no reason. And it never comes up again.
- In Kingdom of Loathing the Libram of Love Songs allows you to create love songs of Disturbing Obsession, Icy Revenge, Naughty Innuendo, etc.