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Old 01-19-2011, 01:09 PM
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Why are there so many songs about love and relationships?

And when I say relationships, I mean the typical man/woman kind. No cite here but like 95% of songs I hear on the radio are about guys singing about girls, girls singing about guys, getting the opposite sex, losing them, longing for them, trying to forget them, etc. Can't humanity think of other things to sing about?
Old 01-19-2011, 01:14 PM
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People sing about what moves them. We are moved by each other. Nothing more to it, really.
Old 01-19-2011, 01:16 PM
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Relationships are visions, but only illusions...

Okay, it's a combination of two things IMO. One is the Dead Poets Society theory that language (and by extension, song) was invented to woo women (and by extension, men)

The other is the lowest common denominator. Artists make, and companies sell, songs about relationships because most people have had relationships, and so have a higher chance of relating to any one song about relationships. Any one person, even those with no musical taste, might like a song that's not about a relationship, but only if they like the subject matter!

ETA but of course those with no taste mainly like songs about relationships because that's all they're exposed to because they don't care enough about music to find anything else and are satisfied with their current selection of music.

Last edited by Ludovic; 01-19-2011 at 01:17 PM.
Old 01-19-2011, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
People sing about what moves them. We are moved by each other. Nothing more to it, really.
That's indeed it, as simple as that - even though I'd like to add to that that not only the feelings of the singer, but also those of the audience matter. Love and relationship is a topic that's important to people, particularly young people towards which many of these songs are geared.
Old 01-19-2011, 01:38 PM
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:03 PM
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I asked my mother this very same question, back when I was around 7 or 8. Strange to hear it from an adult.
Old 01-19-2011, 05:39 PM
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Let's not also forget that some songs ostensibly about love and relationships are only using relationships as a metaphor for something else. I've been thinking about that as I've been relistening to Matthew Sweet's Kimi Ga Suki Raifu album, which on the surface is composed of 12 songs about love and relationships...but in actuality all 12 are about his relationships with Japanese culture and fans and how they affected his songwriting.

And it's little secret that a lot of other artists have used "breakup songs" to vent about how they feel about other band members, or their record company...
Old 01-19-2011, 05:54 PM
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You try writing a three-minute catchy pop song about the role dialectic materialism has had in shaping human history and get that thing to #1 on the charts.

Even though I would argue that most songs aren't about love and relationships... they're about sex, plain pure and simple. When the woman sings in Lady Antebellum's duet "Need You Now"....

Quote:
It's a quarter after one
I'm a little drunk,
And I need you now.
The impulse driving the song is her looking for happysexyfuntime, not a deep committed relationship resulting in marriage and grandkids.

Last edited by JohnT; 01-19-2011 at 05:54 PM.
Old 01-19-2011, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Can't humanity think of other things to sing about?
Hit songs are what they are, but it doesn't take much digging to find actually interesting song lyrics. One of my favourite bands CMX did a whole CD filled with one extended scifi-story for example. The first song starts with (and this is my poor translation from Finnish into English):

"Sky starts to redden, it knows what to wait
when on the docks glow the prows of ships.
They lie like wounded animals, so tired
so wakes up a city surrounded to its morning day last.
Soon from the night of times march figures of winged bulls
from the night gloom of ancients, twilight of nightmares.
Soon open the skies, rush down hosts of angels
laps filled with lightning, eyes shining of justice."

Here's a song from the same CD, if anybody wants to take a look.
Old 01-19-2011, 07:10 PM
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This is a pet peeve of mine and has been since the 4th grade. I relish any song that isn't about men and women and their sexiness and love and pain and (unhealthy, IMO) obsession with each other. Bo-ring.

I've been in a relationship for 6 years, I love the man and would be very sad were we to part, but honestly I can think of 100 things other than our love I would write a song about if I ever got the urge. Love and break-ups songs are all about the exact same feelings and situations, so dull. I am interested in the human condition like anybody but I don't feel that love and sex are so profound that they need to be crooned about constantly.

ETA: It probably doesn't help that I don't really relate to most songs about romance and sex, not having much of a 'need' for other people and never having gone through a painful breakup, unhealthy relationship, betrayal or obsessive crush...

Last edited by rhubarbarin; 01-19-2011 at 07:13 PM.
Old 01-19-2011, 07:30 PM
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You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. But I look around me and I see it isn't so.
Old 01-19-2011, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. But I look around me and I see it isn't so.
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. What's wrong with that?
Old 01-19-2011, 08:26 PM
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Check out some Rush sometime. Very low quantity of love songs. And some damn good music. Not all music has to be about sex, love and relationships.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:16 PM
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I agree, the love theme is way overdone. I write lyrics, quite a few of them, but I try to avoid that topic. When I do attempt it (as when we needed some love lyrics for background in a movie script) here's the sort of thing I end up coming up with:

LOVE DEEP DOWN
COPYRIGHT MR 2010 by Sam A. Robrin or whoever the hell it is who writes these things. Go ahead and use it, but if you make a little money on it, I want some!

Every time I hold her hand,
I'll be reminded of
That little gold-and-diamond band--
The symbol of our love.

My love for you
Goes deep down, too--
Way deep down, and all the way through.
The path of love may twist and bend,
But things come out right in the end.

I wanted to ask her to marry me,
And planned out a little surprise.
It always warms up my heart to see
That look of delight in her eyes.
It occurred to me that it might be nice
To freeze the ring in a cube of ice.

I asked her to come to my house that night.
Cooked a dinner to please a king.
Served cocktails for two by candlelight,
And gave her the one with the ring.
"For a special lady: a special drink."
And she did--exactly what you think.

My love for you
Goes deep down, too--
Way deep down, and all the way through.
The path of love may twist and bend,
But things come out right in the end.

"I like to eat ice cubes," she said with a pout,
And the perfect date went ka-boom.
I hadn't planned upon going out--
Not to the emergency room!
Nurses, X-rays, exams, technicians--
Love thrives under the worst conditions.

The doc called us in and had this to say:
"It's not sharp, like a thumbtack or glass.
With a couple of pills, you should be okay.
Don't worry--this, too, shall pass."
And though I expected to take the blame,
That sweet girl married me just the same.

My love for you
Goes deep down, too--
Way deep down, and all the way through.
The path of love may twist and bend
But things come out right in the end.

You don't need to know exactly how,
But we managed to retrieve it.
That ring is on her finger now,
Never again to leave it.

Every time I hold her hand,
I'll be reminded of
That little gold-and-diamond band--
The symbol of our love.

My love for you
Goes deep down, too--
Way deep down, and all the way through.
The path of love may twist and bend,
But things come out right in the end.


I should really be ashamed of myself. I try to be. But somehow, I just never am....
Old 01-21-2011, 01:32 PM
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At work we have the radio on all day and quite honestly I'm bored stupid with love songs.

I think adolescents, being permamently randy, as a result of hormones and frustration, lap them up so that the rest of us are forced to endure them, hour after hour, day after day.

Apart from the boredom factor the words are often very silly, people rushing off to pray because they've fallen in love with a pretty face, people who are going to die if their love is unrequited, men bursting into tears etc.

It reminds me of the lines we used to spring on girls when I was a nipper, we'd say anything, no matter how absurd if there was a chance of us getting some sort of sex at the end of it.

And by sex I mean even a grope.

For ogs sake lets have some more original and imaginative themes instead of the multitudes of dross we seem fated to endure for what is probably eternally.......

And now I have to get down on my knees to pray, because I've burst into tears and think that I'm going to die of a broken brain.
Old 01-21-2011, 01:55 PM
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Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society:

Quote:
John Keating: Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is - Mr. Anderson? Come on, are you a man or an amoeba?
[pause]
John Keating: Mr. Perry?
Neil: To communicate.
John Keating: No! To woo women!
There's another factor as well. Consider the career of songwriter/musician Al Stewart. He wrote a song about Murmansk convoys in World War II; he filled his lyrics with references to important and dramatic events in history. He had some successes, but never had smashing top-tier commercial success until he wrote In the Year of the Cat, about a man who spends the night with a free-spirited woman.

People write this stuff because it makes them famous and rich, and the public doesn't tend to be hungry for songs about Murmansk convoys.
Old 01-21-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
You try writing a three-minute catchy pop song about the role dialectic materialism has had in shaping human history and get that thing to #1 on the charts.
Unless you're Billy Bragg. (I guess The World Turned Upside Down didn't quite make #1).
Old 01-21-2011, 04:36 PM
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Most of my friends' favorite music (the stuff considered most cool and cutting edge) has been a relationship-free zone... There's definitely a huge crowd that thinks love songs are for wimps.

Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, Metallica, even most of early Springsteen, on and on... it's all about struggle, war, madness and death.
Old 01-21-2011, 05:28 PM
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'Cause love'll get you like a case of anthrax! (Gang of Four)

CMC fnord!
Old 01-21-2011, 06:43 PM
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There's always The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Old 01-21-2011, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Relationships are visions, but only illusions...
Then why are there so many songs about rainbows?
Old 01-22-2011, 05:45 AM
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I am with you on that. Where are all the songs about identity crises and aspirations and death?
Old 01-22-2011, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Then why are there so many songs about rainbows?
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing?
Old 01-22-2011, 08:01 AM
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There are genres that do not rely so heavily on love- Gangsta rap, for example.
Old 01-22-2011, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
There are genres that do not rely so heavily on love- Gangsta rap, for example.
Sort of the yin & yang of lyrics, eh?
Old 01-22-2011, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
There are genres that do not rely so heavily on love- Gangsta rap, for example.
2Pac's song, Me and my Girlfriend, is an extended metaphor about his gun, in the form of a love song.

Last edited by Lucky 13; 01-22-2011 at 01:17 PM.
Old 01-22-2011, 01:28 PM
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I think that love/relationship songs are more a staple of commercial pop and dance music than as lyrical content for more serious or deeper genre-based music. As has been mentioned. love songs are not much a staple of metal (discounting hair bands, which were pop), or gangster rap or several other genres unconcerned with pop success. Love songs are a hackneyed component of pop and dance music because that kind of music makes its money off of melodic hooks, not lyrical content. The lyrics are just sounds to put to the hooks, and love songs are easy and light and don't step on the hooks.
Old 01-22-2011, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
I think that love/relationship songs are more a staple of commercial pop and dance music than as lyrical content for more serious or deeper genre-based music.
It depends, and this may be something that has to do with language, I don't know. But in some genres in other languages, this is not the case. For example in Spanish, Silvio Rodríguez, Mercedes Sosa, Víctor Heredia, León Gieco, and other members of the "nueva canción" style, which usually sings protest songs, have written and recorded some of the best love songs I know. In fact, they blend the political with the romantic, as they describe their partner as someone whose love and companionship leads them to continue in their political struggles (short summary).
Old 01-22-2011, 08:36 PM
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What else is the hipster-generation-Y-crowd going to sing about?

Once we hit 40 you should expect slew of songs about divorce, depression, and midlife crises.
Old 01-22-2011, 09:49 PM
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Professional songwriters and musicians are rarely also professional historians or scientists. So it's pretty unusual to come across a song about the battle of Hastings or curved space-time.

But everyone has their heart broken sooner or later.
Old 01-22-2011, 11:01 PM
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I suspect that the prevailing attitude in the music industry (at least among execs, managers, and PR & marketing types) is that there's basically two categories of song subjects: love/sex, and the quirky topics.

The lion's share of my favorite bands and songs fall in the latter camp.

Shall we start rattling off a few of the quirky-topic specialists? Let's do, but in a new thread.... [to be set up in a moment]
Old 01-22-2011, 11:36 PM
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Other thread set up, as promised.
Old 01-23-2011, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
There's always The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
So that song isn't a metaphor for erectile dysfunction?
Old 01-23-2011, 01:45 AM
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No, it's The Rack of the Edmond Fitzgerald, about the breast implants of a transsexual.
Old 01-23-2011, 02:00 AM
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folks dig fucking. me too, i s'pose.
Old 01-23-2011, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
No, it's The Rack of the Edmond Fitzgerald, about the breast implants of a transsexual.
Theres just got to be a song about Haem..Hemah .......fuck it piles.

That and weak bladders at night.
Old 01-23-2011, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
There's always The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Or Sink the Bismark.

Last edited by Icerigger; 01-23-2011 at 11:44 AM.
Old 01-23-2011, 11:54 AM
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Back in the days when Tipper Gore and them wanted violent lyrics censored (parentel advisory labels stuck on rap CDs), Frank Zappa said something along the lines of, "if violent X-rated lyrics are going to incite violence and suicide among the young who listen to them, how come 95% of popular songs are all about love and relationships, and how come we aren't all walking around in love thinking about our relationships?" Cause and effect. Well, maybe we all ARE as well off as we are because of sappy love songs? I don't pay much attention to lyrics, sappy or not, but if the default is lovelovelove, I'd rather hear that than 'worship the devil/beat up your ho/jump off a bridge' when I DO hear the words.

Back in olden days, like with folk songs, there was more variety in lyrics because these songs told stories, like fairy tales or legends. People knew of these stories by listening to popular ballads of the day, that was their entertainment and a way of passing on the stories. Now when I drive the car, an innocuous I-love-you-girl song as background noise suits the purpose, I don't have to ponder the meaning of The Long Black Veil or who 'she' is in She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes.
Old 01-23-2011, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes.
But that's totally about a relationship.
Old 01-23-2011, 12:13 PM
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Because love is all around us, and it will not only keep us alive but lift us up where we belong. Love is all that matters; it's the answer - it's not only the greatest thing, it's also the oldest yet the latest thing. They also say it's a blessing and a gift. Basically, all you need is love.

Quote:
Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
Back in olden days, like with folk songs, there was more variety in lyrics because these songs told stories, like fairy tales or legends. People knew of these stories by listening to popular ballads of the day, that was their entertainment and a way of passing on the stories. Now when I drive the car, an innocuous I-love-you-girl song as background noise suits the purpose, I don't have to ponder the meaning of The Long Black Veil or who 'she' is in She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes.
(My bolding). I've known a few women like that.
Old 01-23-2011, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
Back in the days when Tipper Gore and them wanted violent lyrics censored (parentel advisory labels stuck on rap CDs), Frank Zappa said something along the lines of, "if violent X-rated lyrics are going to incite violence and suicide among the young who listen to them, how come 95% of popular songs are all about love and relationships, and how come we aren't all walking around in love thinking about our relationships?" Cause and effect. Well, maybe we all ARE as well off as we are because of sappy love songs? I don't pay much attention to lyrics, sappy or not, but if the default is lovelovelove, I'd rather hear that than 'worship the devil/beat up your ho/jump off a bridge' when I DO hear the words.
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" - High Fidelity
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