Love On Top Of Love: The Tough Stuff*


I’ve been thinking about love songs recently-the good, the bad, the wtf… Some of the best songs about love are the lovey-dovey feel good ones. Love involves work–or as Shalamar would say–an active, on-going investment. When it’s going well, love is all kinds of beautiful. When it’s not, the pain can wear you down and out.


What Have I Done To Deserve This – Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield (1987)

Lyric snippet:

Him: You always wanted me to be something I wasn’t.
Her: You always wanted too much.
Together: Now, I can do what I want to forever. How am I going to get through?

Fantastic song about breaking up. The relationship wasn’t going well, neither person was happy. The logical thing to do is break up, right? But that doesn’t make anybody happy either. Confusion, uncertainty, miscommunication, failed expectations, it’s all here.

Where Is The Love – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (1972)

Lyric snippet:

Oh, how I wish I never met you
I guess it must have been my fate
To fall in love with someone else’s love
All I can do is wait.

This song is a warning to anyone tempted to fall in love with someone already in a in some type of closed relationship. Stolen moments and promises of a future together can’t sustain an affair forever.

Hard_Habit_to_Break_coverHard Habit To Break – Chicago (1984)

Lyric Snippet:
I was acting as if you were lucky to have me
Doin’ you a favor I hardly knew you were there
But then you were gone and it all was wrong
Had no idea how much I cared

This dude was such a jerk. Years after a breakup, he’s still full of regret and longing. (Yet, for all of his caring feelings–he can’t actually bring himself to say that he loved his ex.)

These songs (and others) really resonated with me growing up because I noticed that the “happily ever after” idea that was promoted everywhere – wasn’t actually true.  I could see in the relationships of the adults around me that love was not a magical, infallible salve that cured everything. Falling in love doesn’t mean that the baggage a person has been carrying automatically falls away.

Bonus Song

acoAll Cried Out Redux – Jill Scott

Lyric snippet:
No more tears for you, no baby it’s all over
I’m moving on now, I’m taking over

The original All Cried Out by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam was a sad ballad full of heartbreak. Jill takes this ode to pain and reshapes it into a bouncy “I’m moving on” tune.

*The title Love On Top Of Love is taken from a Grace Jones song. It’s not really a love song–it’s an invitation to a killer kiss…

Published by Tawanna

Sometimes writer, most times editor. Lover of mysteries and 70s/80s horror movies. Author of The Next Girl (short story collection) and The Closet Case (mystery).

One thought on “Love On Top Of Love: The Tough Stuff*

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: