It’s time for another look at the charts. Since I haven’t done the music video version in a while (and only once), I decided to do that again but this also look at the lyrics. My selection comes from the current German charts again since by now all the songs I have written about before have at least moved out of the top 10. So here we go!
#1 Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do
I can’t be the only one really tired by anything Fifty Shades of Grey-related. I never cared about the book and I don’t care about the movie. I don’t even think about if it’s bad, it just seems so not interesting to me and the oversaturation that is happening right now is bumming me out. And it’s only the first movie!
Anyway, the craze finds itself in the charts too as this song is featured on the soundtrack. The lyrics feature the familiar love song trope of focusing on one person and nothing else, which I can understand from a purely romantic standpoint, but always worries me if looking at it independently. I’m also starting to think that this romantic notion of this one person being the answer to everything might be appealing but actually harmful when looking at relationships. Love songs, then, seem mostly be written for the first weeks of being crazy in love and not for the part where reality sets in. Granted, if you still feel love that much, those lyrics might be fine.
You're the light, you're the night
You're the color of my blood
You're the cure, you're the pain
You're the only thing I wanna touch
Every inch of your skin is a holy grail I've got to find
Only you can set my heart on fire, on fire
Yeah, I'll let you set the pace
'Cause I'm not thinking straight
My head spinning around I can't see clear no more
What are you waiting for?
The problem with this thinking (which I’m certainly not immune to) is, what happens if it doesn’t work out? If those words above are true, then that means you cannot really live on your own. Additionally, there is something submissive to the lyrics here, which obviously fits the movie, but, again, this should not be the basis for a relationship. I think there is something specific for our culture about the way we view romance (which I will not get into now), which makes me skeptical and I’m saying as someone who still considers himself a hopeless romantic, despite, well, many things.
The video is one of those horrible movie compilation affairs that has Ellie Goulding wander around dark mansions singing by herself while we have to watch sleep-inducing clips of the movie. When I hear lyrics like “I’ll let you set the pace, cause I’m not thinking straight” there is a certain despair but in the video those lyrics are all happiness and sunshine.
The video still ends with her walking alone through a dark parking garage, head hanging low, so maybe this was more a rush of adrenaline than a solid relationship.
#2 Omi – Cheerleader
Oh man, this is some love song. I’m sorry but the idea of viewing your loved one as a “cheerleader” seems really odd to me. In an even relationship, one partner shouldn’t be cheering on the sidelines but this is all this song is about, her being a support for him, no matter what. Well, it’s also about her being able to keep him from the temptations of other girls, which again, doesn’t seem to imply a rock-solid foundation for a partnership.
When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
'cause she' stay strong
She is always in my corner
Right there when I want her
All these other girls are tempting
But maybe you can’t expect a lot from a song that features the following lyrics
She walks like a model
She grants my wishes like a genie in a bottle
Cause I'm the wizard of love
And I got the magic wand
It’s not the most progressive song, no. Although, aren’t those next lines really cute?
Mama loves you too, she thinks I made the right selection
Now all that's left to do
Is just for me to pop the question
Well, no, not really.
The video is not as sexist as I would have expected. It features a silly story where she uses her sexy charms to help him rob a bank. It’s pretty stupid (and the song’s extremely annoying), but the worst part is the repeated shot of her standing behind him, as the cheerleader.
And the shot of “mama” nodding approval with her dog is a little upsetting. Oh dear.
#4 Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk
I really don’t want to get too deep into the stupidity of this song’s lyrics, just some examples.
This one for them hood girls
Them good girls straight masterpieces
I'm too hot (hot damn)
Called a police and a fireman
I'm too hot (hot damn)
Make a dragon wanna retire man
I'm too hot (hot damn)
Say my name you know who I am
I'm too hot (hot damn)
Am I bad 'bout that money
Break it down
Not many 5-year-olds could have written better lyrics, I guess. That bit with the dragon? Wow, that takes real talent.
Am I surprised that the video opens with exploitative shots of legs and cleavage of a faceless girl?
No, I am not.
#5 Rihanna feat. Kanye West & Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds
This is a nice little song that doesn’t annoy me and gives us a little impression of living in our culture.
I think I've had enough, I might get a little drunk
I say what's on my mind, I might do a little time
Cause all of my kindness, is taken for weakness
This culture stresses you out, makes you want to drink and in it, kindness is a weakness.
Now I'm FourFiveSeconds from wildin'
And we got three more days 'til Friday
Going through the motions is really tough and so, be it school or a working a job, the only freedom seems to come from the weekend. “Living for the weekend” is a terribly sad expression, if you ask me and maybe the simplest incentive to want a change.
I like the simple video too, despite the weird looking Paul McCartney, but it’s hard to find a clean version of it (why? why protect music videos???), but there’s nothing to really show about it anyway.
#6 Kygo feat. Conrad - Firestone
Well, another song with desperate, self-sacrificial love lyrics, nothing special, just keep on walking.
I'm a flame
You're a fire
I'm the dark in need of light
When we touch
Feel the change in me tonight
So take me up
Take me higher
There's a war not far from here
We can dance
Or we can burn in love tonight
The video, though, is a terrible mixture of DJing and showing girls dancing, the more skin they show, the better. I’m so tired of this, especially the casualness of it, like this is just how things work.
#7 Charli XCX - Break the Rules
I mentioned my weak spot for female pop songs before and I have a really weak spot for Charli XCX and this song. It’s silly and childish, but I love the chorus for exactly those adolescent rebellion qualities.
I don't wanna go to school
I just wanna break the rules
The following part I don’t like so much
Boys and girls across the world
Putting on our dancing shoes
Going to the discotheque
Getting high and getting wrecked
But it doesn’t stop me from loving the song.
The video, though… man, I don’t know. Charli XCX seems more or less to know what she is doing, but I’m aware I’m giving her more of a benefit of the doubt because I like her music. But I’m not sure if it’s better if it’s your decision to run around in mini-skirts and “trashy lingerie” than being forced to by a male-dominated culture. I just never found this convincing as a rebellious act of protest, but what do I know?
#8 Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding - Outside
I’ve expressed my love for Calvin Harris before, so I’m excited what to encounter this time.
I can’t say much about the lyrics, as they’re pretty vague “relationship falling apart” kind of lyrics. I do look at the video, though and see men sitting around on sofas or working on motorcycles, fully dressed and women running around in bras throughout the video, including Ellie Goulding. Make what you will of it.
#9 Hozier - Take Me to Church
This song is rather old already (2013) and its background is probably well known by now, but still, I want to finish with something positive. A song that on superficial hearing seems religious but expresses frustration with the church, especially, as the music video shows clearly, with its stance on homosexuality. The video features lots of gay kissing and homophobic attacks. I like the song anyway, the video is great, angry and strong, so this is a nice exceptional win in the end.