Song Dedications NOT to make to your love....

Radio DJ's have long fielded song dedications from listeners who want to send a message to someone the listener cares about deeply. Those of us who play live music in a virtual environment where audience members are able to make requests often receive requests to play/sing songs as dedications to the requestor's love interest.



While sometimes the song may be asked for because it's 'our song' or because the song genuinely expresses love, there are times that songs are dedicated based on the song's title, chorus, or perceived meaning - and the song itself does NOT send the message the person requesting it desires to send! While I have never refused to sing a song made as a dedication that has a questionable meaning, I have to admit I have often chuckled to myself or shook my head a bit in wonder as to why a song was requested/dedicated.


Here are a few of the songs which *I* have been asked to sing/dedicate to someone with glowing words such as "Please dedicate this to my beautiful <insert name here>, because I love her so!", but which have a different meaning that the message which was intended by the request/dedication!


"ANGEL" (AKA 'In the arms of the angel')- Sarah McLachlan

This song is most often dedicated by someone for their female partner/girlfriend/lover/love interest, because they want to let her know she is an angel and they love to be/want to be in her arms. However, Angel is not a love song, in any way, and its meaning is actually about the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996. In the context of this song, being "in the arms of an angel" is being dead! There's nothing in the song that even remotely sounds like a "love song", which features lyrics like


"So tired of the straight line


And everywhere you turn

There's vultures and thieves at your back

And the storm keeps on twisting

You keep on building the lies

That you make up for all that you lack"


It is a beautifully sad song about someone who has finally found his release from the depth of sadness he experienced in his life, because he died, and he is in the arms of the angel, but it's not an expression of love, passion or desire to be with someone in any way, so unless your desire is that your partner go *BECOME* an angel....then it might not communicate the message you intend!


"Best of My Love"- The Eagles

Based on the title of the song, and the line "But here in my heart

I give you the best of my love", which is repeated with slight variations throughout the song, this song is often requested by those who will ask for it to be dedicated to someone special "because I give her(or him) the best of my love"..


The problem with dedicating this song to someone you love is... it's a song about breaking up! The lyrics make it clear, throughout the song, that despite giving the 'best of my love', it wasn't enough to keep them together.


From the very beginning of the song, it's clear that it's not about a happy ending:

"Every night i'm lyin' in bed

Holdin' you close in my dreams

Thinkin' about all the things that we said

Comin' apart at the seams

We try to talk it over

But the words come out too rough"



And it goes on to say, a bit later:

"You see it your way I see it mine But we both see it slippin' away

You know we always had each other baby I guess that wasn't enough"


While the singer expresses love in this song, he makes it clear that the love wasn't enough to save their relationship. The message of this song is not a positive, optimistic one; it's that despite our love, we're not going to make it. Unless you're trying to send a message to your lover that it's over, this is probably not the song you want to send as a dedication!


"Every Breath You Take"- The Police

This song has been requested as a love song dedication many times and even asked to be sung at weddings, yet it is not, as it first appears, a song about a loving commitment for life; it is a song about a jilted lover who is obsessing about his ex and is bitterly dedicated to making her life a living hell. Sting, the writer of the song, offered this: "I think it's a nasty little song, really rather evil. It's about jealousy and surveillance and ownership."


Sting also went to describe watching Andy Gibb singing it with a girl on a TV program in a "very loving" manner and laughed " I could still hear the words, which aren't about love at all. I pissed myself laughing." This has been described by many as one of the greatest 'stalker' songs of the rock era, with lyrics like

"Every move you make


And every vow you break

Every smile you fake

Every claim you stake

I'll be watching you

Every move you make

Every step you take

I'll be watching you"


Unless you are trying to tell your significant other that you are going to stalk them as an obsessed, creepy ex, then you might not want to dedicate this song to him/her!


"Keep On Loving You"- REO Speedwagon

The song's title and hook that everyone belts out when they hear this song in their car expresses a desire and commitment to 'Keep on Loving you, cause it's the only thing I wanna do'.... Romantic, right? A great song dedication to your loved one, yes?


Yes.... if you totally ignore the verses. In the verses, the song basically calls the person he's going to 'keep on loving' self-absorbed, a snake in the grass, and a slut. And even admits in the first line that something was 'missing'.


"You should have seen by the look in my eyes, baby There was something missin' You should have known by the tone of my voice, maybe But you didn't listen

You played dead But you never bled Instead, you lay still in the grass All coiled up and hissin'

Though I know all about those men"


Now, to be fair, it IS a love song...and perhaps in certain circumstances, it might even be an appropriate song to sing to a lover... Kevin Cronin wrote this song after he found that

his wife had cheated on him while they were dating/engaged before they got married, and when those revelations came to light, he made the decision not to walk away but that he was going to 'Keep on loving' her. He said it was the most painful song he ever wrote. So the song comes out of a place of a sense of being betrayed by the one you love the most and deciding to stay with that person and continue loving him/her. In that sense, it is an admirable expression of love (it didn't work out for Cronin, however, as he and his wife did break up after a few more years of trying to make it work).


However, unless you are trying to tell your lover that you know he/she has been unfaithful but you're going to keep on loving him/her anyway, it might not be a great song dedication... And even if that IS your circumstance, it might not exactly cement their feelings of love for you to air your dirty laundry in public...just a thought!!


"Easy (Like Sunday Morning)" - Commodores

This smooth ballad with such a chill feel might seem like a happy-go-lucky expression of joy that would be a great tune to dedicate to your loved one. Right? Well, only if you are breaking up! This is a breakup song, as expressed in the first couple of lines, where Lionel sings "I'm leaving you tomorrow".



The upbeat, positive vibe of the song comes because he feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders by the decision to ditch his lover, and rather than being depressed, he is "easy, easy like Sunday morning."


Another reason it's not really a great love song dedication, the song indicates that his lover was trying to 'put chains' on him, and rather than allowing him to be himself, she had been wanting him to be what she wanted him to be, and he had been unhappy, and forced to 'fake' it with her!


"Why in the world would anybody put chains on me, yeah?

I've paid my dues to make it

Everybody wants me to be

What they want me to be

I'm not happy when I try to fake it, no, ooh"


So, this is a great dedication to someone you are breaking up with who you felt tried to fit you into his/her mold, but likely isn't a great dedication to someone you are happy with and want to tell him/her of your love and devotion!

 

Song dedications are often made rather quickly and without thinking through the lyrics of the song, but the song may have a radically different meaning than the intention of the dedication! I have never refused to sing a song but have often wondered as I sang a breakup song as a dedication from one person to another if they realized the song said that the relationship wasn't working out.. or if they even noticed as I sang it. Hopefully, in most cases the song's dedication is received in the spirit it was given. Still, to express your love to someone in the most meaningful way, it might be worth taking a moment to understand what the song is about!


-M-


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