7 Songs That Aren't Quite as Romantic as They Sound

iStock
iStock

by John Moore

There are thousands of classic love songs in the world. And then there are those songs that seem romantic—like, say, Dolly Parton's most famous breakup song, "I Will Always Love You," which skyrocketed as a top wedding choice after Whitney Houston's heartbreaking version was released in 1992—but when you really listen to the lyrics, they don't convey exactly the message you might have thought. Here are seven of them.

1. "More Than Words" // Extreme

Don't be fooled by the spare acoustics and subtle, soulful harmonies—the bros from Extreme didn't pen a love ballad, they penned a longing ballad. In 1991, just after the song had topped the Billboard charts, guitarist and singer-songwriter Nuno Bettencourt talked about how people too often think that saying "I love you" can work as a Band-Aid in relationships. "People use it so easily and so lightly that they think you can say that and fix everything, or you can say that and everything’s OK," he said. Basically, it’s about how actions speak louder than words.

2. "God Only Knows" // The Beach Boys

As lushly orchestrated as this song is, the lyrics are short on words but long on mixed messages. Brian Wilson’s proclamations that life wouldn’t be worth living without the song’s intended listener sound like the stuff of planning futures together and walking down the aisle, but only if you can get past the first line: "I may not always love you."

3. "Leaving on a Jet Plane" // John Denver

What sounds like a sweet, heartfelt farewell before a fairly long trip turns bittersweet when the singer admits that "so many times I’ve let you down / So many times I’ve played around," perhaps on one of these long trips. But then he promises to bring home a wedding ring? It seems hard to look forward to an engagement when you don’t know if your beloved will be faithful while he’s out of town.

4. "There She Goes" // The LA's

From the time The La’s released "There She Goes" in 1988, rumors of it being an ode to heroin abounded. Lead guitarist John Byrne, who co-wrote the song, denied it, saying "It’s just a love song about a girl that you like but never talk to," which, beyond the lyrics "There she blows … Pulsing through my vein," could be believed. The song later made a huge comeback in 1999 when Sixpence None the Richer covered it, introducing a whole new generation to the blurred lines between states of infatuation and intoxication.

5. "Here Comes Your Man" // The Pixies

You’d expect a band as discordant as the Pixies to have some pretty screwed up opinions on romance, but what’s admirable is that one of their most accessible songs is really a pretty twisted little tale. "Here Comes Your Man," replete with twanging riffage and cutesy backing purrs, is actually "about winos and hobos traveling on the trains, who die in the California Earthquake," as frontman Black Francis told NME in 1989. The repetitive chorus of "here comes your man" might sound sweet and moderately chivalrous, but then verses like "Big shake on the boxcar moving / Big shake to the land that's falling down / Is a wind makes a palm stop blowing / A big, big stone fall and break my crown" don’t exactly hold up as romantic mood-setters.

6. "Got to Get You Into My Life" // The Beatles

"It’s actually an ode to pot," Paul McCartney said of this 1966 song, though it could easily fool any square parents who might have heard it playing from the basement. And with lyrics like "Ooh, then I suddenly see you / Ooh, did I tell you I need you / Every single day of my life" coming from the "cute" Beatle, who could blame them for the confusion?

7. "Always" // Bon Jovi

This power ballad’s chorus screams everlasting love—"And I know when I die you’ll be on my mind / And I’ll love you, always"—but the rest of the lyrics tell the full story of a Romeo whose heart is bleeding after his lover left and moved on to someone else. Just another reminder to actively listen to the full meaning of a song before committing to a first dance.

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Queen Throws Its Support Behind a Breakthru-Inspired LEGO Set

Adam Hickey
Adam Hickey

A fan-made, motorized LEGO set that pays homage to the Queen song "Breakthru" just made its own breakthrough, so to speak. As WROR in Massachusetts reports, a LEGO version of the train that appeared in the 1989 music video—complete with minifigures of Freddie Mercury and the gang—has received a thumbs up from the band.

The official Queen Instagram page posted a photo of the LEGO-ized “Miracle Express” and urged fans to support the project on LEGO Ideas, where it currently has more than 2000 backers. Once a design reaches 10,000 supporters, it enters the review stage, at which point it can potentially be approved and mass-produced by LEGO. The online Ideas platform is how the Beatles-inspired Yellow Submarine set got produced in 2016.

The Breakthru set was created by Adam Hickey, an actor and creative writer from the UK (not to mention a big Queen fan). “'Breakthru' has always been one of my favorite Queen videos and songs,” Hickey tells Mental Floss. “I felt that the Queen Miracle Express is as iconic as the Yellow Submarine is for The Beatles.”

Hickey built the set from scratch using pieces he borrowed from various LEGO sets, as well as a few pieces he ordered specifically for the engine. Figuring out how to make the train move was one of the trickiest parts.

“It was the first time I had ever made a model from scratch which uses motors, so I had to do a lot of research about how to use them, including how to have the train move around corners without derailing, which meant rebuilding my model,” Hickey says. “The pistons, in particular, were incredibly difficult to build.”

Hickey has also been responding to feedback from fans, and plans to give Brian May's minifigure a slight hairdo makeover, per one person’s suggestion. There are five minifigures in total, including one of actress Debbie Lang, who appeared as the masked woman in the music video.

Check out some of the photos below, and visit the LEGO Ideas website to support the project. For more LEGO Ideas designs that have made it into production, explore the LEGO Shop.

Queen mini figures
Adam Hickey

The Miracle Express LEGO train
Adam Hickey

[h/t WROR]

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