Lists

10 Greatest Love Songs (That Aren't Actually Love Songs)

Page 4 of 5

Green Day, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" [1997]

One of the most invigorating career moves for rock bands that are painted as two-dimensional tough guys or hapless goofballs is the soft-hearted four-chord ballad. Though rare is the "sentimental acoustic wedding song" that also cashes in big on graduation ceremony slideshows.

The seemingly fond recollections in Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" are assumed to be the stuff of nostalgia. In fact, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong has said he initially penned the song as a somber send-off for an ex, but then later decided it needed more of a fuck-off tone (thus the addition of a parenthesized title).

It's also rumored the song is aimed at Green Day's early Berkeley punk scene following that abandoned the group after it achieved massive mainstream success. It's one thing to know that a slow-dance classic is actually a bitter breakup song, but I can taste the betrayal felt by late '90s Hot Topic loiterers knowing that one of the most overused prom finales of all time is also a straight-faced kiss off to self-satisfied punk ideology.

Whereas Blink-182 ad-libbed spoof lyrics in place of the most emotionally raw lines in their suicide ballad "Adam's Song" when I saw them open for Green Day as a teenager, Armstrong played "Good Riddance" an hour later without flinching. Very misleading, but some would say very mature as well. -- Chase Kamp

See also:

-Green Day's New Song "Epic as Fuck"? Not Even Close. -Throwback Thursday: Green Day's Dookie

Al Green, "Still in Love With You" [1972]

Look -- there's no going wrong with Al Green. The guy could sing about taking out the trash and make it sound sexy. The guy could sing about running to the grocery store for some two-percent and make it sound sexy. The guy could sing about Jesus and make it sound sexy.

So don't mistake it: "Still in Love With You" is sexy, and it's totally romantic. But if you listen closely, what's Al saying here?

And if you let me know how you feel/Let me know if this love is really real But it seems to me/That I'm wrapped up in your love

Green's certainly smitten, but what does his would be lover think of him? "If you want me to be," he sings, "I'm still in love with you." Green's got plenty of odes to fidelity, but here his affection is not quite requited, though chances are that the lady isn't going to be able to resist when he hits that high note. -- Jason P. Woodbury

See also:

-President Obama's Sexy Al Green Croon, Plus Four Other Presidents That Won Over the Country With Music -Review: Al Green, I Can't Stop (Blue Note)

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Phoenix New Times