Non-Love Songs

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Mary Rose Somarriba
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Art Credit: Nima Salimi

Pop music is experiencing a rise in a new subcategory of love song. I call it the "non-love song." It's the kind of song that pretends to be about love but is in fact describing something very far from it. You hear these everyday on the Top 40 Radio stations. Each pretends to be about love but in fact points to one of many different false imitations. Here are just a few examples.

"True Love" by Pink

"You're an a****** but I love you / And you make me so mad I ask myself / Why I'm still here, or where could I go / You're the only love I've ever known / But I hate you, I really hate you, / . . . It must be true love / Nothing else can break my heart like / True love."

Although this can seem like a familiar feeling for many people, it's not about love. In place of love, this song's message is, "it hurts to think of breaking up with you so therefore we must really have true love." But breakups always come with some degree of hurt, so that logic doesn't work. Sometimes the most hurtful relationships are the ones that need to break and not be confused as love. Suffice it to say, if half the time your significant other makes you think of expletives and hate, it's not love.

All relationships come with challenges, but by and large there shouldn't be more discord than peace. Pink's duet with Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me A Reason" comes much closer to describing challenges of an actually loving relationship.

"What Now" by Rihanna

"I found the one, he changed my life / But was it me that changed / And he just happened to come at the right time / I'm supposed to be in love / But I'm numb again. / Whatever it is, it feels like / It's laughing at me through the glass of a two-sided mirror / Whatever it is, it's just laughing at me / And I just wanna scream / What now? I just can't figure it out / What now? I guess I'll just wait it out . . . "

This is a powerful lament, but it's not a love song. Still, throughout her Diamonds World Tour, Rihanna prefaced the song by asking audiences, "Have you ever been in love? This song is about that."

Except it's not. It's actually a song about the very confusing feelings of attachment that can come once you've shared intimacy with a significant other. The false logic goes like this: "I feel attached to you, therefore we're in love." Sadly it isn't that easy. Unfortunately, emotional or sexual intimacy is easy to rush into these days, while love takes friendship, time, and commitment.

"Come and Get it" by Selena Gomez

"This love will be the death of me / But I know I'll die happily / Because you loved me so."

This is the kind of non-love song that basically makes no sense. In my view, the lyrics were chosen for no other reason than be filler for a catchy tune. In fact, Selena Gomez has a long repertoire of nonsensical lyrics. Just consider the myriad mixed metaphors in her other radio hit "Slow Down"--"Mr. TSA, I'm ready for inspection . . . If you want me I'm accepting applications . . . You know I'm good with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation . . ." Really, you just chose all those words for no other reason except that they rhyme, right? Right. Then again Selena Gomez is the one responsible for the song lyric "I love you like a love song, baby."

It just goes to show that while there's a lot of imitation crap out there, when it comes to love, the only thing that satisfies is the real thing.