But I look around me and I see it isn't so.
Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs.
And what's wrong with that, I'd like to know
'Cause here I go...again...
When you turn on the radio and hear music with lyrics, at least nine times out of ten, the song will be a love song of some sort, either praising love and one's lover (or wished-for lover) to the high heavens, or singing about how much angst or anger love gone sour has caused. (These songs are sometimes indistinguishable from songs about Intercourse with You.) For some reason, there's always a market for even the silliest of Silly Love Songs, making this an Undead Horse Trope.
Frank Zappa once noted that if popular music really could change or affect people, everyone would be in love.
Past music critics commonly referred to this sort of song as a "Moon-June song", sometimes with "spoon" added, after the (supposed) tendency for writers of these songs to rhyme the two words together. The originator of this name was likely the 1908 hit Shine On, Harvest Moon.
Some performers write Anti-Love Songs because they want to try something different. They never stop the deluge of Silly Love Songs that fill the airwaves. And what's wrong with that? (A lack of variety, of course, but Tropes Are Not Bad all the time.) If you want to hear an example, just turn on your radio to any popular music station. You'll find one soon enough. Listing them all would be pointless and time-consuming. Some of the sillier examples could be listed here, especially those that hang a lampshade on their triteness.
Particularly silly examples:
- "Do Fries Go With That Shake" from George Clinton's third solo album, R&B Skeletons In The Closet.
- Speaking of P-Funk related material, Zapp and the late Roger Troutman made quite a few in the 1980's with songs like "Computer Love" and "Itchin' For Your Twitchin" from Zapp IV, "I Want To Be Your Man" from Roger's solo album Unlimited!, and "Ooh Baby Baby" from Zapp V.
- Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." Never gonna giiiive you up, never gonna leeeet you down...
- Played with by Australian comic, Tim Minchin, at the 2008 Secret Policeman's Ball, where he sang a song that began by extolling the virtues of his lover, but then got to the chorus which went: "If I didn't have you... then I'd probably have somebody else..." Still played fairly straight, as the song says that although he might have somebody else without her, he does have her, and that's special. Also subverted by Tim Minchin (several times) with "Inflatable You;" a loving ode to an inflatable doll. And "You Grew on Me," which compares his love to his partner as quickly worsening diseases. And more. Tim seems to like his messed up love songs.
- The George Gershwin song "Blah, Blah, Blah."
- Paul McCartney's song "Silly Love Songs," as quoted above. It's technically by Wings, but the misattribution is not exactly wrong. He did invert this trope on at least a couple of occasions, with the haunting "Eleanor Rigby" and the raucous "Helter Skelter".
- Similar to McCartney's lampshading of this trope, Paul Williams' "An Old Fashioned Love Song," as well as Three Dog Night's cover:
Just an old-fashioned love song playin' on the radio
And wrapped around the music is the sound
Of someone promising they'll never go
- It isn't that silly — unless you watch him singing it with a trio of Muppet clones of himself.
- There's also a few levels of this trope working, as the song's about an actual love song playing on the radio as well as being a love song itself (since listening to the love song on the radio prompts the singer to muse about his own romance.)
- Most Broadway musicals include at least one Silly Love Song; Spamalot has one titled "The Song That Goes Like This," which explains how every Broadway musical contains at least one Silly Love Song.
- Probably one of the reasons why Robert Smith hates "Friday I'm in Love." Even their most straightforward love songs like "The Love Cats" aren't that simple.
- Air Supply, of course, made a whole career out of these songs.
- Don Johnson's "Heartbeat," while faring better than many actors-turned-singer albums, has been thoroughly roasted by the likes of The Agony Booth and legitimate music critics. Don sings well, but his lyricism and stage performance could've used a bit more polish.
Miles Antwiler: You can't help but chuckle at the repetitive nature of Don's songs. After all, we are "looking for a heartbeat," but we also learn "the last sound love makes is a heartbreak" and also "when looking for love, it is a heartache away." It is like filling out a MadLibs but replacing all nouns with either "love," "heartache" or "heartbreak."
- FM Static's song "My First Stereo." A line in the chorus goes "My first love was my first stereo." Yes, it's true.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- VeggieTales once replaced Larry's silly songs with "Love Songs by Mr. Lunt." It ended up being a song about a guy who really wants a cheeseburger, essentially falling in love with it.
Pizza Angel, please come to me
- Not to mention "Pizza Angel", where Larry performs a fifties ballad (complete with double-tracked voice, leather jacket, and backup singers) to his delivery dinner.
Tomato sauce and cheese so gooey
Pizza Angel I'm on my knees
You'll live forever in my me-e-emorieeees.
- Or "Barbara Manatee." Larry's love ballad to a manatee from a soap opera.
- There are a number of silly love songs in musicals:
- "Love Song" from Pippin.
- "Hitler/Khan Love Duet" from The Complete Millennium Musical (Abridged).
- Played with in My Fair Lady.
- Also subject to hilarity in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- "Mix Tape" and "Fantasies Come True" are more traditional, but Avenue Q parodies love songs in "The More You Ruv Someone."
- Subverted by Sara Bareilles with "Love Song." The story goes that her producer told her that she was doing pretty well as an up-and-coming artist, but she still needed a big hit. "You need to write me a love song," said the producer. Sara, not liking this idea, decided instead to write a song about how she's not gonna write him a love song. And now it's her Signature Song. And now it's probably stuck in your head.
- The Beautiful South's "One Last Love Song" is about these.
Those bloody great ballads we hated at first
Well I bought them all and now I'm writing worse.
And when you've gone upstairs I'll creep
- The Beautiful South also wrote "Song For Whoever," which subverts the trope; the musician is writing songs to keep him in money ("I love the PRS cheques that you bring") based on whoever his latest girlfriend is — whose name he has conveniently forgotten.
And write it all down
...Oh, Julie, oh Alison, oh Philippa, oh Sue...
- "Title of the Song" by Da Vincis Notebook is a meta "love song." The songwriter started out intending to write a parody of a Boy Band song, and ended up parodying ALL boy band songs. Ever.
- Older / Deader than you think: Back in the 1800's Ambrose Bierce commented:
'Tis this appalling stuff,
such miserable trash,
that makes us cry out, 'Hold! Enough!'
and use too oft a big, big—
- Much older than that, even. Medieval minstrels composed silly love songs up the ass. Basically the ancient equivalent of, "Tra la la, I love you, dee dah dah."
- "My Lovely Horse" from Father Ted, a very silly appreciation of a horse created in-universe by Ted and Dougal, and as a real B-side by The Divine Comedy.
- "Songs of Love" by The Divine Comedy (part of which, incidentally, was used as the theme for Father Ted), is about a boy who sits in his room writing love songs while his peers are out chasing girls.
- Mildly parodied in The Turtles' "Elenore," which randomly juxtaposes straight Silly Love Song material with parental opposition and Intercourse with You themes, and includes the famous lines:
Elenore, gee, I think you're swell
And you really do me well.
You're my pride and joy, et cetera.
- Word of God says that "Elenore" was written as a Take That! against the Executive Meddling of their record company, who wanted them to make more commercial hits like "Happy Together," when they wanted to move on to more progressive music and concept albums like Battle of the Bands. So they deliberately wrote the most banal bubblegum pop song they could, but it still was a big hit and a signature Turtles song.
- Noah And The Whale had a little hit among indie-folk fans with the song "Five Years' Time." Why it's silly?
"I no longer feel I have to be James Dean..."
- Subverted and quite possibly deconstructed by, of all people, Taylor Swift with the song "Fifteen." A freshman girl in High School meets a boy that she feels is her true love, and she's already planning to marry him... and then he dumps her for another girl, breaking her heart. The song was based on the experience of Taylor's longtime friend Abigail Anderson, who is mentioned by name in the song and appears in the video.
- The Michael Bublé song "Everything" seems to fit with this trope.
You're a mystery
You're from outer space.
- "Haven't Met You Yet" is a bit of a reconstruction, it's a silly love song to his future significant other, and he has no idea who it is. The whole thing is filled with hopes and promises to a woman he's never met.
- If we're talking Bublé, we have a whole plethora: "The Best is Yet to Come," "I've Got The World on a String," "Crazy Love," "All I Do is Dream of You," "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)," "How Sweet It Is," and "Moondance," just to name a few. Although all of those songs are covers.
- The tribute album I Miss Buffy The Vampire Slayer (three guesses what it's a tribute to, and the first two don't count) is pretty silly overall, so its love song, "Kinda Wish D'Hoffryn Was My Boyfriend" is exceptionally silly.
Bumpy and lumpy, I know it sounds corny,
I kinda like a guy who's a little bit horny.
He's a vengeance demon; don't wanna cross him.
His swingin' hell dimension is totally awesome!
- A common subject of parodies by "Weird Al" Yankovic, both specifically (e.g., "Addicted to Spuds" of "Addicted to Love") and generally (e.g., "I Was Only Kidding" and "You Make Me.") Some are silly love songs in their own right (very silly love songs), while others are actually about a Stalker with a Crush or outright hatred for the other party.
- The subject of the Paul and Storm song, I Will Sing a Lullabye (to your vagina).
- The Suicide Machines' "Sometimes I Don't Mind" gently parodies these: The first verse and the chorus both sound like a generic love song, which makes the second verse seem a little weird ("You lick my hands then I get a rash, but that's okay,") but in the third verse it becomes obvious that it's been about a pet dog the whole time ("You won't lay down, you'll hardly sit / I give you a bath when you smell like shit, but you don't mind..."). The joke is made more obvious by the music video, which follows the antics of a fursuited human behaving like a real dog.
- "Gitchee Gitchee Goo" from Phineas and Ferb is a parody of this. "Don't worry if you get lost, the lyrics are meaningless anyway."
- The Dutch group Jazzpolitie has the song Liefdesliedjes (Love Songs) in which they lampshade most love song clichés. But the refrain is still: "There's only one way to tell you [what I feel for you]... Love Songs... You should hear them..."
- Supertramp has a few. Notably, Give a little bit, Downstream, and Oh! Darling!
- The Magnetic Fields' album 69 Love Songs, which is not quite Exactly What It Says on the Tin by being 69 songs about love songs. In frontman Stephin Merritt's own words:
69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It's an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love.
- Brotherhood of Man's "Save All Your Kisses For Me" is a subversion, with the last line being 'even though you're only three'. This has been covered to make the song into a Last Note Nightmare shockfest about child rape.
- The Moldy Peaches song "Anyone Else But You" is an INCREDIBLY silly love duet including references to the Konami Code and shaking turds out of pants.
- "Baby" by Justin Bieber. All his other songs qualify, too.
- Delta Goodrem's Believe Again is this Up to Eleven, every possible instrument and happy musical quotation is in this song, so it may have lived in Narm almost entirely, if the verses didn't save it so much…The chorus for your reading pleasure:
I'd lost my faith in love, now I believe again
My heart was a broken place, now I feel whole again
You bring me honesty,and that's worth believing in
and I believe, I believe again
- Hugh Laurie sang the love song "Mystery" in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. It involved a girl he never met, whom he was almost completely incompatible with and that died over a decade ago. The mystery was why he was in love with her. And what tortured rhyme for "mystery" Hugh was going to come up with next. (Some examples: estuary, unsanitary, Port Authority.)
Dead since 1973
You've been dead now ... wait a minute, let me see...
Fifteen years come next January (jan-YOO-ary)
As a human being you are history
So why do I still long for you?
Why is my love so strong for you?
Why did I write this song for you?
Well, I guess it's just the mystery
- Tricia Yearwood's "How Do I Live", the closing theme to Con Air. It was later made even sillier with an intentionally cheesy, So Bad, It's Good cover by M.G. Bowman for Homestuck.
- The Axis of Awesome - How to write a Love Song
- The sketch show Hello Cheeky had one or two songs every episode, written and performed by the regular cast. All that were love songs were parodies, such as Moon Over Romford, in which all the exotic locations typically found in love songs have been replaced with less glamorous English locations — Carrots For My Lady, about giving a sweetheart vegetables so she can cook an Irish stew — and Your Third Leg, about a woman with three legs. Then there's Don't Say Goodbye...
Don't say goodbye, my dar-ling
Goodbye is a terrible word
Farewell and adieu
Are terrible too
And ta-ta is simply absurd
Don't say goodbye, my darling
Because it would make me feel low
So don't say goodbye, my darling...
Just pack up your suitcase and go!
- The opening lines of Selena Gomez and the Scene's "Love You Like A Love Song" deserve mention simply for lampshading the oversaturation.
It's been said and done
Every beautiful thought's already been sung
And I guess right now here's another one
So your melody will play on and on with the best of 'em
- Frank Zappa largely avoided writing love songs but when he did write them, he couldn't help parodying them. Freak Out! and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets contain perhaps the best examples. An outstandingly silly example is "Charva":
Charva, I loved you
I loved you through and through
I loved you since in grammar school
When we were sniffing glue
I loved you purty baby doll
And I don't know what in the world to do about it
- "Cadence and Cascade," from King Crimson's second album In The Wake of Poseidon. Not a place you'd expect one, but there you are.
- They Might Be Giants' "Pet Name" musically sounds like this, except that if you listen to the lyrics, you'll realize it's a song about a couple who are growing tired of each other and now have to put more effort into their relationship ("We've almost figured out how we'll get along / And given time we'll find it strange to be alone"). They do, however, have one straightforward example: "Another First Kiss". They themselves describe it as pretty much the only straight love song they've ever done, but in their typical style, it's a (their words) "Screw that" to the idea that you need to be young to be in love and instead depicts a happy couple with history.
- Jonathan Coulton's cover of "Baby Got Back". The Sir Mix-A-Lot original, not so much.
- Mitch Benn has written a few of these, as well as Anti Love Songs. "Disgustingly in Love" is positive for the couple, if not anyone around them; "My Girlfriend is an Alien" has the singer conclude that he doesn't mind; and "One of These Days" is so sincere it's barely funny at all.
- Chériefm, a French radio station, offering in its site, several webradio specialized in various musical genres dont chérie love song (its slogan "la webradio de l'amour" in English is "the webradio of the love") and periodically "cheriefm romantic" its slogan? "la webradio des amoureux" (in English: "the sweetheart's webradio)
- Extreme included Tragic Comic to keep their concept album "III Sides To Every Story" from getting too heavy (and bid for another pop hit). The accompanying video adds a cute nod to the Trope Namer, showing their bassist playing McCartney's signature guitar.
- "When I Decide" by My Terrible Friend somehow manages to be one of these while also being about planning to kill the object of the singer's affections. At no point does the song stop being earnestly romantic, even during the murder-plotting part.
- Taken Up to Eleven by Roy Orbison who wrote and performed dramatic and operatic Love Songs.
- The name of an episode of Glee wherein they perform the Trope Namer along with other love songs. Love songs become an annual Valentine's Day theme on the show.
- When The Aquabats! do silly love songs, the emphasis is usually on "silly", from the ska-punk love ballad "Red Sweater!" ("You're not fat, you don't smell bad / You're always smiling, never sad") to the pop-sounding "Lovers of Loving Love!" to the mock-epic "The Legend is True!"
- Inverted by Matt Fishel's "Radio-Friendly Pop Song". It tells the story of a young artist, whose producer tells him he was "a talented guy" who could be very successful... if only his songs weren't gay themed. (''But this is an industry where people make money, so your art has to sell/ And you should never seek to challenge an audience/ They buy what they're told and we never get it wrong/ Go write us a non-offensive, tasteful, conventional song...) This implies the taste of the audience is limited to silly love songs with very heterosexual pairings. The chorus is itself a parody to this concept, since these are the producers only requirements for a song. (Girls like boys and boys like girls/ And that's the way it should be/ Forever) The song inverts both: It's neither a love song to a specific person nor is it heterosexual themed, but instead addressing the pressure of gay (male) artists to remain closeted to be successful.
- The Beach Boys have done several, but "Little Deuce Coupe" is an oddball one, because it's a love song about a car.
- "Louisa" by Lord Huron comes pretty close to this.
- The trope is affectionately deconstructed in Imelda May's "Human", which is about being loved passionately but realistically — because that's better than being silly.
So come adore me, but know I'm gonna fall
Off of this pedestal that I hope you've put me on
And as God's above me, I swear I'll try to be
All that you ever want and I'll be the best of me
I wanna be your human...
- Caravan have surprisingly many examples for a prog group, including the aptly-named "Love Song with Flute":
I'm needing you - though it may not seem to be
I'm needing you - you're all I care to see
- Culture Club created "Love Is Love" for the film Electric Dreams, which also appears on a few of their Greatest Hits albums.