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

Page 5 of 5

LL Cool J, "Hey Lover" [1995]

LL Cool J is the undisputed champion of making sexy hip-hop love songs for the ladies. Let's be clear: no one does it better. From "I Need Love" to "Doin' It," Uncle L has dominated with hits for decades. In fact, one could argue that the entire last half of LL's career has been propelled entirely by sultry cuts designed to get the ladies worked up. It's his bread and butter and he's really good at it. But upon closer examination of one of Cool J's most popular songs, "Hey Lover", I've realized that this song displays a much darker version of the 45-year-old New York rapper: as a creepy stalker, following a woman he's interested in with an almost obsessive manner.

The first thing that stood out to me about this song, is LL's opening line about seeing the girl he is obsessing over...with her actual boyfriend. Not only is she smiling, but she's holding a Coach bag indicating that she seems pretty happy in her relationship. However, the moment that LL makes eye contact with the lovely lady, he immediately makes it entire life's goal to make this woman his. This propels LL into super-stalker status, including driving past her every morning at the bus stop, fantasizing about the various sexual things he would do to her, and stalking her at the mall. The Boyz II Men chorus even indicates that "this is more than a crush," which is very strange considering that it seems that LL hasn't even had a conversation with this woman.

It's pretty clear that LL doesn't need help getting play, but on "Hey Lover", LL takes it to the new level by considering breaking up a seemingly decent relationship for the sake of fulfilling his carnal urges. Not even all the lip licking in the world can hide how shady that is. -- Jaron Ikner

See also:

-The Phoenix Tale Behind LL Cool J and Z-Trip's "Super Baller" (Free Download)

Rilo Kiley, "Does He Love You?" [2004]

"All the immediate unknowns are better than knowing this tired and lonely fate," belts out Jenny Lewis in the beginning of "Does He Love You?," the now-infamous melodramatic high school anthem of 2004. Casually listening to the song in the car while driving with friends, it's easy to miss the subtle, bitter tone of Lewis' vocals outside of the chorus: "Does he love you? Does he love you? Will he hold your tiny face in his hands?"

The narrative of the song features a love triangle involving the speaker, who's visited by the same married man who writes her letters twice a week. The speaker is hesitant to admit his love, "I think he loves me," but yet is convinced, "when he leaves her [his wife], he's coming out to California." Yet, the husband gives his wife a ring, and she's pregnant, and by all accounts leads the "perfect" life: they share a place by the park and run a shop for antiques downtown; he loves her, Lewis broodingly admits, and the two of them will soon become three.

The speaker picks up the phone late at night to a confession by the wife who admits through her tears that she only married her husband because she felt "her time was running out," but now she does love him, and with their child they are "complete." Then the husband calls her in denial to insist he will leave his wife and come out to California, yet the speaker knows this isn't true because he's "distant," and addressing directly to the wife, she sings, "your husband will never leave you, he will never leave you for me..."

Happy Valentine's Day, right? -- Yezmin Villarreal

See also:

-Rilo Kiley: New Indie Upstarts Are All the Rage [2004] -Jenny & Johnny: I'm Having Fun Now

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