When a Song Drives You Crazy

Apropos of nothing, I recently got an earworm, that piece of music that continuously, uncontrollably runs through your mind.  I can’t even remember when I last heard this particular song. Yet — all day, for several days — I’ve had the Backstreet Boys singing “As Long As You Love Me” in my head on repeat.  Annoying, right?  But worse than that, without their cute faces and stylish dance moves, the lyrics of the chorus strike me as quite problematic, if not ridiculous, in almost every context.

In case you don’t remember the words, like Siri, I found them on the web (feel free to sing along):

I don’t care who you are (who you are)
Where you’re from (where you’re from)
What you did, as long as you love me (I know)
Who you are (who you are)
Where you’re from (where you’re from)
Don’t care what you did
As long as you love me
As long as you love me

Fun facts: The song was first released by the Backstreet Boys in 1997 and was one of their biggest hits, spending 56 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. Justin Bieber released it again in 2012. Some bad ideas never go away.

Whether it was nine years or twenty-four years ago, taken literally, I think these lyrics were as objectionable back then as they are now. OK, OK, maybe they were supposed to be taken figuratively (rather than literally) as a metaphor for true love…for teen-agers.  I just can’t get there. The more I hear them, the more I keep thinking unhealthy, desperate, wrong …over and over. Going further with this current obsession, I have entertained myself by imagining several scenarios where a person could possibly sing this song as their rationalization for something unacceptable.

Scenario one

You connect with this dude on the internet, meet for coffee, then dinner, and things really take off.  He dotes on you, treats you like a queen.  You’ve never had this kind of attention before. He quickly starts talking about a future together and wants to move in. Your son wisely suggests a background check and you discover that Mr. Dream Boat is listed as a sex offender. Yikes! You pretend it doesn’t matter and you sing to yourself, “I don’t care who you are (sex offender?) as long as you love me.”

Scenario two

You’ve been dating someone for almost a year but never met their parents.  You fly across the country to spend a few days with the old folks.  Over the course of the weekend, you hear some scary conversations and believe they are gun-toting neo-Nazis, possibly QAnon followers. Your partner defends these beliefs as an acceptable point of view, a “cultural” thing.  Ugh. You ignore it and sing to yourself, “I don’t care where you’re from (another planet?) as long as you love me.

Scenario three

Your husband or wife has been gone all week on a business trip but doesn’t call home often. Afterward, you find some overtly sexual texts from a co-worker and suspect their affair has been going on for a l-o-n-g time.  When confronted with the evidence, your spouse first lies, then admits it, apologizes, and follows up with a big bouquet of flowers. Awww. Flowers are the clincher. You forgive the lying cheat and sing to yourself, “I don’t care what you did (blatant adultery?) as long you love me.”

Can these lyrics be useful?

While these examples are extreme, I am sure you can imagine (or know of) something similar.  We’re human.  We all make lame excuses from time to time and conveniently ignore red flags, especially if the consequences are difficult.  But now, the next time it happens, you can remind yourself (or your friend ) of this catchy tune, recognize the satire, and, hopefully, face the reality.  Just don’t let it become your annoying earworm.

One thought on “When a Song Drives You Crazy

  1. accidental goddess August 7, 2021 / 11:12 pm

    Glad you liked it! We have all been there, in big and small ways, in both romantic relationships and friendships. Let’s keep “singing ourselves” to a healthier place.

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.