It’s that day. Valentine’s Day. It comes every year, no matter how much we dread it. Valentine’s Day has always left a bad taste in my mouth, kind of like stale candy hearts or February fifteenth chocolates. So a song that fit the mood seemed appropriate. “Love Stinks” by The J. Geils Band is a classic anti-love song. It’s the song that’s playing when your girlfriend dumps you on prom night, or when Brad chooses your best friend over you. This song hated Valentine’s Day before it was cool.
Beyond its value as an anti-love anthem, it’s actually not a bad song. A gritty guitar and angry drumbeat push the song through its verses, paired with pessimistic lyrics like, “You love her/But she loves him/And he loves somebody else/You just can’t win.” In a burst of more pessimism layered with cynicism and even more pessimism, whines the pre-chorus, “I’ve had the blues/The reds and the pinks/One thing for sure.” Then the music cuts out and the lead singer speaks a universal truth, “Love stinks.”
Whether you’re in a relationship or single as can be, the J. Geils Band knows what they’re talking about when they say, “Love stinks.”