I, like many of you, am guilty of basing a song in terms of production, vocal delivery, and overall mood. But recently, a friend mentioned wanting a certain song to be included in their would-be wedding. My response was swift: “Have you ever actually listened to that damn song? You might as well play Z-Ro’s ‘I Hate You Bitch’ instead, since it’s a lot sweeter.” That got me thinking of other seemingly romantic songs that are more like cries for help, kiss-offs, backhanded compliments, or “Damn, girl, I guess we can get married if you’re going to keep nagging me.”
Beyoncé – “Love On Top”
I love this song so much. It legitimately makes me happy whenever I turn it on. I love its subtle odes to artists like Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, and courtesy of the video, New Edition. However, when you look at just the lyrics, “Love On Top” sounds more like the glee of a woman who is happy that her man stopped being such a f–kboy.
Seriously, “Nothing’s perfect, but it’s worth it after fighting through my fears and finally you put me first.” And Beyoncé puts such emphasis on finally that she says it numerous times throughout the song. So, if think romanticism is getting the treatment you should’ve long gotten in a relationship after years of microaggressions, Mazel Tov to you and s–t. For the rest of us, we can still shimmy to this, but let’s not pretend the dude in the song was the kind of partner any of us needed.
Jagged Edge – “Let’s Get Married”
People love the hell out of this Jagged Edge single, but the song sings about marriage in the context of, “We ain’t getting no younger, we might as well do it.” That’s an actual line from the chorus. If you watched Martin, you can recall the first time Martin proposed to Gina. “Gina, you schemed, you plotted, and clank-clank, you got me. Yes, Gina, I will marry you. Damn, are you happy now?” This is the musical version of that proposal. Note that Martin ultimately had to call Brian McKnight for a favor for the second marriage proposal.
Bruno Mars – “Marry You”
Don’t let this short, handsome man with a nice voice fool you. This song is worse than “Let’s Get Married” because at least Jagged Edge realizes it’s the right thing to do, even if it seems like the singer is tired of getting asked, “When are you going to marry that girl already?”
By contrast, Bruno Mars sings, “We’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby. I think I wanna marry you.” Run, girl. Run.
Usher – “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)”
Here’s the thing about a man who wants to be referred to as “Daddy.” I understand the appeal of it, but at the same time, it often sounds creepy if not flat out corny. To that end, I’m sure Usher thought this song was a mix of romance, sexiness, and just the right amount of mush. No, it just reminds me of the bottom of a popcorn bag.
Look at these lyrics and then repeat after me, “EWWWWWWW”:
Is you say daddy’s home, home for me And I know you’ve been waiting for this love in your day You know your daddy’s home and it’s time to play So you ain’t got to give my loving away
So all my ladies say hey, hey, hey, daddy Hey, hey, hey, daddy
Chris Brown – “Wet The Bed”
I see what you did there, Christopher Maurice, but there is nothing remotely sexy about bedwetting. Honorable Mention to “No Bullshit,” where he’s essentially singing to his girl that he’s coming over after the club to have sex, thus, don’t be on that bullshit. Be still, my THOT.
SWV – “I’m So Into You”
This song sounds so sweet, but it’s about crushing on and having relations with someone else’s man. That’s the subject matter of many of SWV’s classic songs. Not that I’m complaining. But, to be fair, unless you’re Olivia and Fitz, you probably don’t find this romantic when you really think about it.
Keith Sweat – “Make You Sweat”
In the song, Sweat sings, “You say no, I say yes, girl, I bet I can make you sweat.” And he repeats this several times throughout the song. ‘Round these parts we call that rape, sir.