It's not only that Valentine's Day is a greeting-card-industry-created holiday. What makes the lovers' day so difficult for many single people and couples alike is sitting through all the craptacular love songs that go along with it. And it's not just on Feb. 14 that music lovers have to wade through the crap sap; it's in the days leading up to V-day, too.
In honor of this very special occasion, here's a list of some of the worst love songs ever recorded. By no means is it THE definitive list. But let's be honest: Not only would all of the melodies have a spot on the definitive list, but somewhere — right now, in this country — they're on a mix tape or playlist that is about to be given as a show of affection.
Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out.
R. Kelly: 'You Remind Me of Something'
Maybe the "something" the pied piper of R&B sang about wouldn't be so bad if it was a flower, a sunrise or a classic poem. But it's not.
Instead, whenever he sees one particular gas guzzling SUV rolling down the street, he's thinking of you. Awww ... how unsweet.
And it's not just that you remind him of a Jeep; it's all the things he wants to DO to the jeep that makes this one of the worst love songs ever.
Remember the days when singers and songwriters used to cleverly mask their sexual intentions? Think "Afternoon Delight." Clearly, before he penned this masterpiece, R. Kelly wasn't privy to the subtlety class previous generations of musicians followed when singing about making love.
Part of what makes this so awesomely awful is that Kelly uses a smooth rhythm to trick you. You're thinking, "Man, this is a silky beat. Surely, It's all uphill from here." Then you hear:
Please believe that if you play this for your special someone on Valentine's Day, that extra "baby" at the end of the chorus is not going to save you from the impending breakup you're about to receive — partly because the song is so bad and partly because he or she will have no idea what it means to be spent like a bank account.
Jimmy Buffett: 'Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw'
Doesn't the name just say it all? What's not to love in this explicit token of affection Jimmy Buffett wrote? I guess you could argue that Buffett should get bonus points for being direct and honest. (That's plus two for Buffett.) There's no wasting time here. But, there's also no cuddling afterward.
Yeah, we heard you the first time and so the repetition makes this overt come-on more lame and lackluster — if that's possible. Once again, Buffett gets a point for calling his lady "honey," but it's minus 1,000 for referring to her as a possible snub queen and bringing up a waterbed.
First, if she has a bad back, a waterbed is the last place she'll want to be. Second, a waterbed — seriously? How 1970s gross of you. She'll love it so much, she'll probably close out her tab and go home — to her bed — alone.
The Police: 'Every Breath You Take'
You know your love song is in trouble when the lyrics are dangerous and even the beat is haunting. Valentine's is a good day for QT (quality time), but it's not such a good day for stalking — even if it sounds poetic coming from Sting.
OK, you could argue that songwriter and frontman Sting may be a little needy until you hear:
Now, this officially has crossed over into "Unsolved Mysteries" territory. We've all seen this episode. It doesn't end well. Hint: It's criminal.
If your cutie is whispering these not-so sweet lyrics into your ear, you may want to ask for some space, preferably with a restraining order. Sure, he or she could mean well. But do you really want to take that chance?
Meatloaf: 'I Would Do Anything for Love'
Meatloaf SAYS he'd do anything for love, but then he specifies that "I won't do that." So, what you're really saying is that you won't do anything for love.
Your love has prerequisites and conditions. Not only does that not sound promising, it probably will have the both of you sitting on a therapist's couch.
You: "You said you'd do anything." (sobbing)
Him/Her: "Yeah, but you know, I wasn't being literal and I sure as heck didn't mean that."
Therapist: "Hmm ... maybe it's best you go your separate ways."
Meatloaf tells you what he would do using lyrics written by Jim Steinman.
And it sounds great until you recognize what's most frustrating about Meatloaf's lyrics is that he never specifies what "that" is. Is it being a vegan, or visiting your mother? Perhaps it's going to mass every Sunday or making your relationship exclusive. You'll never know.
Bad Love Songs Countdown
Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow: 'Picture'
The No. 1 reason why this is a bad love song is that no long-lasting couple would ever use this trailer park serenade as "their song." The fact that Kid Rock was able to write a song with a successful mix of country and pop musical influences doesn't override the fact he put your picture away because he's feeling guilty.
Living my life in a slow hell
Different girl every night at the hotel
I ain't seen the sun shine in three damn days
Been fuelin' up on cocaine and whiskey
Wish I had a good girl to miss me
But I wonder if I'll ever change my ways
I put your picture away
And — to make things worse — he's on drugs. Just ask Amy Winehouse if you want to know how this story ends. Besides, just because Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow agree that they want to reconcile at the tune's end doesn't mean they should.
They did put each other's pictures away, which in those days was like having your cell phone number deleted. It's over.
Celine Dion: 'My Heart Will Go On'
Needy, clingy and power ballad don't even begin to describe Celine Dion's mega hit "My Heart Will Go On." The wedding and prom night staple is perfect for interpretive dance, but less than perfect if you're trying to express your undying love.
It's everyone's song, and yet, no one's song. So it can't be your song too. It's too easy to use this tune by James Horner and Will Jennings as a love song, which is what makes this song bad.
You'll have to come up with more originality to impress your sweetie. Just remember, if it works for the middle school crowd, it probably won't work for you.
If you're are between the 6th and 12th grades and are reading this, then you've found your perfect song for Valentine's Day.
Bonnie Tyler: 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'
Songwriter Jim Steinman gave listeners a musical arrangement with the perfect combination of big hair, big sound and big vocals, which makes this 1983 chart topper a guilty pleasure. Cheese is written all over every aspect of this song. Literally, you probably are smelling it even as you read about how bad it is.
At more than five minutes long for just the radio version and seven minutes on the full album — by the time you finish expressing your feelings, your partner will be fast asleep. Forever will really start tonight, like when you hit play.
And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Just reading (and writing) that took forever. Imagine listening to it.
Usher: 'You Make Me Wanna'
This could have been a great love song if you made him want to sing, dance, bring you home to meet the parents. But, that's not what he's crooning about.
So really, what you're saying, Usher, is that you're already involved with someone else. But wait, if I love sloppy seconds, you'll be all mine. Awesome! That's just Mmm ... mmm ... good.
It may sound tempting to some until someone else makes him want to leave you. Somehow, it just doesn't seem to go with the whole "I love and appreciate you" mood of Valentine's Day.
It took the combined forces of Darryl McDaniels, Usher, Rick Rubin, Manuel Seal, Joseph Simmons, Jermaine Dupri, Adam Horovitz and Douglas Davis to come up with this gem.
Britney Spears: 'Sometimes'
She may a pop princess-turned-diva, but the one thing the often-sultry Britney Spears isn't known for is her love songs. "Sometimes," which was written by Jörgen Elofsson, is probably the reason why. Already, the title tells you that you're about to deal with a very finicky lover.
If your goal is to show how schizophrenic your affection can be, then this may be the perfect love song for you. However, your admirer may not approve of the hot-cold-hot scenario and may run for another.
In addition to having lyrics that convey a multiple personality disorder, the actual composition of the music is too lame, even for a fifth-grader.
Use Britney for fun (i.e. Halloween and theme parties), not for love.
Poison: 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn'
The first problem is that you're using a band called Poison — as in venom, toxic, fatal and destructive — to be emotive. The next problem is that you're using an 80s hair metal band to say "I love you."
If you're expecting to get anything but a slap in the face, a breakup or a dinner alone, then you clearly haven't been paying attention.
While the premise of lead singer Bret Michaels' lyrics may be true — love does have its ups and downs — you're only supposed to focus on the bright side of things for Valentine's Day. Save the reality for Feb. 15.
Ultimate Pop Favorites
Any Song by Lionel Richie
There's no doubt Lionel Richie has been a hit maker. The bread and butter of his popularity was penning love songs for the Commodores and later for himself as a solo artist.
And while songs like "Three Times a Lady," "Hello" and "Truly" garnered him much success, do you really want to take your love cues from a man who's twice divorced? Richie once admitted on "Oprah" that he was great at writing about love, but not so great about having it in his personal life.
Also, it seems like Richie isn't always so sure of himself in his songs.
Hello, is it me you're looking for?
'Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying ... I love you
If Richie isn't even sure how to get his woman, what makes you think he knows how to rope in yours?
Boyz II Men: 'I'll Make Love to You'
This song reads like an instruction manual for lovemaking, and not in the Kama Sutra kind of way. The Boyz' step-by-step algorithm leaves nothing to the imagination, which takes all the romance out of the situation.
Close your eyes, make a wish
And blow out the candlelight
For tonight is just your night
We're gonna celebrate, all thru the night
Pour the wine, light the fire
Girl your wish is my command
I submit to your demands
I'll do anything, girl you need only ask
And sure, they and songwriter Babyface say they'll do anything you ask, but we've already learned from Meatloaf that's likely not true.
Savage Garden: 'Truly Madly Deeply'
A falsetto, like a tune, may sound good in theory, but often, in practice, the application isn't as good as the vision. That's probably what happened to Savage Garden. The lyrics, melody and vocals make this song by Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones one of cheesiest songs on the list.
Plus, that last line sounds dangerous. You would hope your loved one would alert you of any jeopardy and at least be active enough to get off the coach and into a safe space. Sometimes love should know bounds, like impending trouble.
Any Michael Bolton Song
It's easiest just to list why this is true.
It's a good rule of thumb that if you hear it in an elevator or the dentist's office, the song isn't sexy and therefore not a good love song.
While Bolton has since cropped his locks, his biggest love songs came during an extensive period where he sported a long, frizzy mullet with a receding hairline. You can't entrust your love life to a mullet.
All the songs are soft rock — SOFT ROCK. That's an oxymoron.
If you need more reasons than that, then you probably should be in a relationship, anyway. (And you won't be once you play, "How Can We Be Lovers," or "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.")
Paul Anka: 'You're Having My Baby'
This Anka-written track could be the theme to every paternity test segment ever featured on "The Maury Povich Show;" therefore, it's not a good option to show your innermost feelings.
Didn't have to keep it
Wouldn't put ya through it
You could have swept it from your life
But you wouldn't do it
No, you wouldn't do it
As television and movies have often shown, a baby isn't always the best gift. Sometimes you can just go for a watch or that DVD collection your lover has been eyeing.
This song also is horrible because Anka comes off as a little smug, so you're not sure if he's really happy about the addition or if he's being sarcastic.
Havin' my baby
What a lovely way of sayin'
How much you love me
Havin' my baby
What a lovely way of sayin'
What you're thinkin' of me
I can see it, face is glowin'
I can see in your eyes
I'm happy you know it
Sarcasm will ruin any Valentine's Day.
LFO: 'Summer Girls'
What is this one-hit-wonder, late-1990s band talking about?
New Kids On The block had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick
And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer
I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch
I'd take her if I had one wish
But she's been gone since that summer
Since that summer
What? It gets so much worse.
Hip-hop marmalade spic and span,
Met you one summer and it all began
You're the best girl that I ever did see
The great Larry Bird jersey 33
When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets
Call me Willy Whistle cause I can't speak baby
No one cares, partly because they don't understand. All this gibberish and then they have the nerve to compare you to Scooby snacks. Seriously, this won't even work for the elementary school set. Just pretend Brad Young, Dow Brain and Rich Cronin never wrote this song and you should be able to keep your sanity on V-Day.
Michael Jackson: 'You Are Not Alone'
This song slips in not because of its lyrics or musicality. It's actually a pretty nice song written by R. Kelly.
The sentiment isn't bad, but the music video is. No one wants images of a naked Michael Jackson cavorting with then-wife Lisa Marie Presley while he or she is trying to woo a partner. That really will put the kibosh on any romantic intentions.
Love Ballads by Rock and Boy Bands
Chicago: 'You're the Inspiration'
Part of what draws people together romantically is a shared interest in one another's drive and ambition. So, when you become the inspiration and meaning of life, your relationship could be in trouble.
Peter Cetera still owes fans and music lovers an apology for this cavity-inducing Top 40 hit.
Whitesnake: 'Is This Love'
If you have to question it, then it's probably not love. It could be lust, heartburn or even a heart attack. Either way, it's not something your sweetie thinks you should be pondering on a lovers' holiday.
Whitesnake didn't even begin to ponder this question until it already let the girl go. David Coverdale and John Sykes, who wrote the song, are probably just lonely.
N'Sync: 'God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You'
Odds are you probably shouldn't rely on a love song by any boy band. So, if "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You" is on the playlist you're about to give, you should dump it.
Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it's true
God must have spent
A little more time
(A little more time, yes he did baby)
This pre-fab, manufactured pop hit is so lame because it's anemic. Carl Sturken's and Evan Rogers' lyrics just don't ring true because N'Sync doesn't seriously sell them. They're too simple. Simple sometimes works, but in this case, the uncomplicated rendition falls flat.
Dan Hill: 'Sometimes When We Touch'
If the full beard and mustache don't give it away, then you're already in trouble. This commitment-phobe wants to love you and does, but it's just too much. There's too much love. I'm drowning. Translation: He or she is just not that into you.
Hill, who wrote the song, may be in need of a serious therapist and has booked you for the job. Whose idea of a romantic date is sitting around talking about how they should, but can't be a couple while crying? Answer: the lonely person without a date on Valentine's.
Pity party table for one, please.
Billy Ocean: 'Get Outta of My Dreams, Get Into My Car'
This list already has demonstrated why vehicular and feminine comparisons are so bad. But long before R. Kelly could rev his engine, singer Billy Ocean was burning rubber up the charts with his hit song, "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car."
Besides comparing you to an inanimate object that gets replaced — excuse me — upgraded every five to 10 years, songwriters Ocean and Mutt Lange found it imperative to imply all the dirty things they want to do with you in a car.
Get outta my dreams
Get in to my car
Get outta my dream
Get in to the back seat baby
Get in to my car
Beep beep, yeah
Get outta my mind
Get in to my life
Oh I said hey (Hey) you (You)
Get in to my car
Nothing says, "Be mine," quite like making out in the back seat of a Camino. Nice. Once you add his obsessive nature — he's dreaming about you all the time — to the song's bubble-gum like pop beat, the combination is too much for any love bird. The fowl just may drown in the ocean.
Add this information to the fact that the American auto industry is in the tank right now and you've produced the perfect anti-love song.
Hall and Oates: 'Your Kiss Is On My List'
In a nutshell: the thing your lover appreciates most is your kiss, which is what all long-lasting loves are built on. Look at Tinsletown titans. They love to kiss and their relationship success rate is among the best in the world.
Plus, can you really ever trust a guy with a mustache singing a love song? If you answered yes, you probably will spend Feb. 14 alone this year.
A special mention goes out to Richard Marx, Air Supply for "I'm All Out of Love," 98 Degrees for "I Do" and Debbie Gibson for "Lost in Your Eyes."