In his book Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, the great Rolling Stone rock critic Rob Sheffield blames Morrissey for doling out some of the worst romantic advice ever set to music. In particular, he cites the Smiths song “I Don’t Owe You Anything,” which contains the lines, “You should never go to them / Let them come to you / just like I do.” This is truly bad advice — especially for the gawky, desperate teenage boys that once made up the bulk of the Smiths’ audience — but the Mozzer wasn’t the first pop star to lead listeners astray.
Here are five classic examples of terrible love advice espoused in song.
“Rappers Delight” Sugar Hill Gang
“Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn/ If your girl starts acting up, then you take her friend.”
If you’re looking to turn your life into a Maury segment, then yes, by all means, do as Big Bank Hank says. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid skeevy trysts with your boo’s BFF.
“If You Wanna Be Happy” Jimmy Soul
Yeah, what a nightmare it would be to spend the rest of your life with a beautiful lady. The jealousy would eat you alive, and you’d forever be watching out to catch her cheating … if you’re a total insecure asshole.
“Runaround Sue” Dion
Wait, let me get this straight, Dion. Sue is fast, foxy, and not looking for a serious relationship. I’m a red-blooded teenage male in 1961. I shouldn’t date her why?
“Tell Her No” The Zombies
Just because she broke this one chap’s heart, it doesn’t mean she’s relationship poison. Maybe he had bad breath or, you know, looked like one of the dorky guys in the Zombies. Also, a single “no” would suffice. Saying it over and over again just makes you sound crazy.
“Stand By Your Man” Tammy Wynette
This song has been interpreted different ways over the years — some hear the line “after all, he’s just a man” as a proto-feminist dig against men — but the grandmammy of all bad-advice songs still makes us a little queasy. The narrator of this song should check out Morrissey’s “I’m OK By Myself.” He’s not wrong all the time.