Toxic Lovesong Watch: Blue October Edition

(I’ve decide to start a series where we analyze how creepy, needy, possessive, or just plain weird some popular lovesongs can be. The goal is not to shame the songwriters or call for banning of the songs in question, just to think a little bit more carefully about the messages in some of our favorite songs.)

I first heard this song because when I was in Mexico, our band was hired to do a wedding, and this was the couple’s special song for their first dance. Because I had to learn it right away, the first thing I did was look at the lyrics, which is different from how most people experience a song. And boy, what lyrics! I was blown away by the creepy neediness.

The verse starts out harmlessly enough (although I suppose we could read a thinly veiled threat into the words “You’ll never take that away”):
It’s something I can’t quite explain
I’m so in love with you
You’ll never take that away
And if I’ve said a hundred times before
Expect a thousand more
You’ll never take that away
But then the pre-chorus just kicks it into crazy territory:
So expect me to be
Calling you to see
If you’re okay when I’m not around
Asking “if you love me”
I love the way you make it sound
Calling you to see
Do I try too hard to make you smile?
To make a smile
Wow! Can you imagine what a guy would do if he had a girlfriend who wouldn’t stop calling him to see if he’s okay when she’s not around? Constantly asking “Do you love me?” (Side-note: only ask that question repeatedly if you’re hoping the answer will turn into a “No”).

“Do I try too hard to make you smile?” Yes, dude. I know nothing about your relationship, but I think it’s safe to say that you’re trying too hard to make her smile.

Now the chorus, which gets even creepier:
Well I will keep calling you to see
If you’re sleeping are you’re dreaming
If you’re dreaming, are you dreaming of me
I can’t believe you actually picked me
Can you imagine your partner calling you in the middle of the night to see if you’re sleeping?
“Hey, honey it’s me”
“It’s the middle of the night. Why are you calling me? Is everything okay?”
“Were you sleeping?”
“Well, yeah! It’s 3am”
“Were you dreaming of me?”
“No, I was dreaming about how great it would be to have a boyfriend who doesn’t call me in the middle of the night to ask what I was dreaming about!”

And then, as if that weren’t enough, he ends it with “I can’t believe you actually picked me.” There’s so much self-loathing and insecurity in this statement. It’s normal to feel lucky when you land someone really special, but for goodness’ sake, try to express it with a little more confidence. When we were rehearsing this song, I changed this line to “I can’t believe you actually picked this song!”

I do have to admit that this song has a really good melody and a terrific chord progression, but the lyrics are completely fucking nuts! I want to believe that the guy who wrote it is not actually this insecure and was making an ironic statement about how needy people can get when they’re in love, but the melody is just so sincere it’s hard for me to interpret it that way. Let’s hope he’s grown out of this desperate young insecure love style since then.