This month our own Stacey Hardy, Outreach Kahuna and Matchmaking Apprentice, shares her thoughts on rock and roll and relationships. Have fun reading!
Everybody loves a good love song, right? Like those songs that seems to perfectly express every relatable emotion of the heart. You know... those songs that make us swoon and yearn and set up our fledgling framework for the kind of relationship we all aspire to. Yet, if you really think about it, there is often an underbelly to those catchy little tunes. Those heartbreaking ballads and tales of desperate desires can set us up for unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. Virtually every genre of music is littered with good examples of bad relationships. Let’s turn the radio on and see what we can find.
Back in 1970, Eric Clapton wrote the song, Layla, as he pined for Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s wife. The song was inspired by a 12th century Persian poem about a desperate, unreciprocated love. Boyd might have faired better had she not mistaken unhealthy obsession for romantic desire.
“ Let’s make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain.
Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.”
Their eventual marriage was fraught with unhappiness, infidelity and addiction, which is often the case when built on a base of dysfunction. They later divorced.
The best-selling single in 1983 in the U.S. was the Police’s, Every Breath You Take. The song won numerous Grammys and MTV awards. Yet, if you listen to the lyrics, the song is about control and stalking...hardly a love song.
“Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you”
Perhaps the darkness reflected here was due to Sting’s pending divorce. Scratch this one from the wedding playlists!
Rihanna’s relationships have certainly been tabloid fodder over the years, and who can be surprised with lyrics like:
“Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie”.
A relationship whose foundation is built on mistrust and abuse, isn’t just unhealthy, it’s downright dangerous. There’s nothing sexy or romantic about an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.
Joan Jett has maintained her tough chick status in rock n’ roll for 4 decades, but even she’s not above falling for the wrong person:
“I think of you every night and day
You took my heart, then you took my pride away
I hate myself for loving you
Can’t break free from the things that you do
I want to walk but I run back to you
I hate myself for loving you.”
Yet another relationship about desperation and obsession. If you’re not being valued or respected in a relationship, its time to hit the road. Let’s hope Joan jumped on her motorcycle and left this relationship in the dust.
What does a happy, healthy relationship sound like in a song? Look no further than this little ditty written by George Harrison, for his then wife, Pattie Boyd. That’s right Pattie had not one, but two famous love songs written for her! Something was hailed as one of the greatest love songs of the era by Ole Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra...
“Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how”
Boyd would have been better served to have headed these lyrics, instead of being swayed by Clapton’s desperate pleas thru verse.
Unfortunately, many unhealthy lyrics have woven their way through our pop culture psyche. Though these songs may be catchy, they are also cautionary tales. Love should never inspire suffering. Here’s to embracing both the songs and relationships that inspire our best and healthiest selves, and healthy, lasting love. And remember, if your new love presents you with a playlist of desperate love songs, you can always follow the advice of Paul Simon:
“There must be fifty ways to leave your lover, fifty ways to leave your lover.
Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan.
Don't need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me.
Hop on the bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much.
Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free.”
Signing off with fondness and affection on that musical note,