It’s said in politics that “If you’re young but not liberal, you have no heart. If you’re old and not conservative, you have no brain.”, true or not, what happens if we take this quote and turn it into a variation applying to popular love songs? I love ballads, what kind of person doesn’t? If you are human and don’t like ballads, you have probably never risked getting your heart broken, if you’ve been in a relationship that saw a turbulent end and still think love songs are realistic, you’ve conversely never used your head.

The disturbing truth is that ballads, however swiftly they may send your heart into a whirling maroon cascade, are the picture of sheer vulnerability when applied practically. However naive you would like to be along the lines of, “Oh but they describe life and somewhere out there, there is true love for everyone!”, the fact is that each love song tells the tale of a person who is one break up away from pure emotional destruction. For the themes are more often than not, something to the tune of “I can’t be me unless you love me” or “unless you keep loving me”. Just look and some lyrics of a couple of them to see for yourself:

From Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds”:

How can you just walk away from me,
when all I can do is watch you leave
Cos we’ve shared the laughter and the pain and even shared the tears
You’re the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now, oh there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me,
just the memory of your face
Ooh take a look at me now, well there’s just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against all odds and that’s what I’ve got to face



From Trisha Yearwood/LeeAnn Rimes “How Do I Live Without You”

If you ever leave,
Baby you would take away everything
good in my life
And tell me now,
How do I live without you?
I want to know,
How do I breathe without you?
If you ever go,
How do I ever, ever survive,
How do I, how do I, oh, how do I live?
From J Holiday’s “Suffocate”
Don’t ever leave me girl
I need you inside my world
I can’t go a day without you
And see nobody else will ever do
I’ll never feel like I feel with you
If you have any sense of ironic detachment in you, you can’t help but laugh at this a little bit. Do these sound like the words of an emotionally stable person, or a deranged, codependent maniac? Sure, you call them good art, good poetry, and they are. In fact there’s something to be said about romance from a poetic point of view. But from a strategic one?? You may as well destroy your heart now. At least doing so by eating lots of fatty foods would be more fun.

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