Based on the dearth of legitimate love songs in today’s music, I fear for the future. I mean, have you heard what millennials try to pass off as love songs? Listen to the current mega-hit “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth and featuring Selena Gomez, for an example. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” is a proud demonstration of the current view of love that believes physical and emotional distance as well as being served by someone else are normal attributes in a relationship. If that’s representative of what millennials think, and it almost certainly is, the only possible conclusion is that Gen X may be the last generation to truly understand love.
Thankfully, the love songs of Gen X have survived (so far) the ongoing hurt feelings purge conducted by the tyrannically sensitive millennials. Following are the ten best Gen X love songs that prove that being loved by a Gen Xer means more than being “loved” by a millennial. Enjoy the following songs, while you still can.
10. “I’d Do Anything for Love”
Meatloaf spoke for all of us in 1993 when he confessed to his paramour that he’d do anything for love but THAT. That “that” confused Gen Xers because our selfless spirit found it difficult to comprehend not doing something for our significant others. Once we figured out what Meatloaf meant by that “that,” we concurred.
There was a time when Mariah Carey was everyone’s sweetheart. During that time, we believed that she was singing directly to us, because she was. Unfortunately, a Mariah Carey then and now comparison reveals the steep slide society took from celebrating love to celebrating self-absorption. To that end, listen to the heartfelt “Forever” and then compare it with just the title of Carey’s latest album, Me, I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse. America’s sweetheart no more. Thanks, millennials.
8. “Fade Into You”
Even Gen Xers’ indie artists had a romantic streak. And it will be difficult to think of a more romantic song from any artist, much less an indie artist, than Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You.”
7. “More Than Words”
During Gen Xers’ peak as cultural tastemakers, every self-respecting metal and hard rock band produced a love ballad. Following suit and allowing their sensitive side to peek through, Extreme released “More Than Words,” and an entire generation learned that it was perfectly acceptable to be sweet and sappy while wearing leather pants, sporting long greasy hair, and with multiple piercings.
6. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”
Gen X had “event movies,” too. Prior to the release of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 1991 was all abuzz about the Costner star vehicle. But even without its connection to the movie, Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” would’ve still made this list. The gravelly voiced Canadian gave us a song that dominated early ’90s radio stations’ request and dedication hours.
5. “You’re the Inspiration”
In ninth grade, I gave a girl the lyrics from this brilliant love song by Chicago and told her that I’d written her a poem. My ruse worked until her brother ratted me out. Setting aside snitching brothers, if millennials were to try that same trick with today’s “love” songs, there’s a good chance they’d be charged with sexual harassment (either because of the lyrical content or the fragility of millennials, or both).
4. “Never Tear Us Apart”
Many of today’s “love” songs celebrate selfish individualism. Gen X, however, via INXS, celebrated the loving solidarity that’s necessary for true romance with the hauntingly beautiful “Never Tear Us Apart.”
3. “Open Arms”
Thanks to the TV show Glee, millennials are aware of the awesomeness of Journey. What they may not be aware of, however, is that “Open Arms” dominated ’80s and early ’90s mix-tapes. And for good reason. It’s been over three decades since the song’s release, and middle-aged men are still using “Open Arms” to curry favor with their significant other.
2. “I Will Always Love You”
It’s not easy for a cover to supplant the original. Whitney Houston not only accomplished that with “I Will Always Love You,” but she also managed to mostly erase Dolly Parton’s original version from our collective memories. In other words, the song is powerful, but Whitney Houston’s performance is transcendent. Are millennials producing any transcendent love songs? Nope.
1. “I’ll Make Love to You”
I have a confession to make — I let my wife pick the number one song. She didn’t even hesitate. My memory of the response from females in 1994 to Boyz II Men’s masterful love song supports my wife’s pick. In reference to the construct of this entire article, “I’ll Make Love to You” stands in stark contrast to the self-serving themes that dominate millennials’ “love” songs.