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On the approach to Valentine’s Day, here is a quick list of good and bad love songs to both encourage romance and also completely remove it from the room. To start off with, here are some examples of very bad love songs.

Breakfast Can Wait – Prince

Prince is known for his sexy demeanor and racy lyrics but this time he has clearly lost his mind. This song is about him wanting to extend a night of passion and delay breakfast until later in the morning. However for some strange reason he just starts listing breakfast ingredients in a sexy manner.

“Grits and gravy, cheese, eggs and jam

Can nobody cook it like you girl”

For those who aren’t sure, grits is a kind of corn-based porridge – Prince, you old romantic. “Nobody cook it like you girl”, that’s because nobody cooks eggs with jam, Prince, you seem to be dating a pensioner. Later in the song he goes on to discuss hotcakes and honey but at least those foods are vaguely sexual, there’s nothing sexy about cheese and gravy. Breakfast isn’t the only thing that can wait; his next album could probably be indefinitely postponed as well.

Fix You – Coldplay

People get so distracted with the soppiness of the song that they seem to forget that its whole premise revolves around Chris Martin berating his love for her shortcomings and essentially calling her broken. You don’t have to be Casanova to know that the best way to a girl’s heart doesn’t include exposing her character flaws and insulting her. If you listen very hard you can just make out the sound of a well-deserved slap at the end of the song.

Wake Me Up – Ed Sheeran

The reason why this song is on the list can be summed up by the following lyrics (brace yourself):

“I know you love Shrek 

‘Cause we’ve watched it twelve times

But maybe you’re hoping for a fairy tale too

And if your DVD breaks today

You should’ve got a VCR

Because I’ve never owned a Blue ray”

Powerful stuff. Nothing spells love like a Scottish ogre and a list of various video formats. With embarrassing lyrics like these, it’s hard to understand why Ed Sheeran hasn’t been laughed out of the music industry by angry villagers armed with pitchforks, torches, and a sincere distaste for terrible music.

Ending on a more positive note, here are some examples of very good love songs whose presence in this section is fairly obvious just from a quick listen. Whether it’s the thoughtful lyrics, the well-constructed composition, or the soulful expression in which they’re sung, these songs represent pure manifestations of pleasure and pain with a caliber that all musicians should strive towards. This is what love sounds like:

Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley

“It’s never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder

It’s never over, all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her

It’s never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter

It’s never over, she’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever”

At last – Etta James

“I found a dream that I can speak to

A dream that I could call my own

I found a thrill to press my cheek to

A thrill I’ve never known”

The Way You Look Tonight – Tony Bennett

“Someday, when I’m awfully low

When the world is cold

I will feel a glow 
just thinking of you

And the way you look tonight”


Alex Olesen