Love Stinks (song)

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"Love Stinks"
Love Stinks single cover.jpg
Single by The J. Geils Band
from the album Love Stinks
B-side "Till the Walls Come Tumblin' Down"
Released April 1980
Format Vinyl record (7")
Recorded 1979 at Long View Farm,
North Brookfield, Massachusetts
Genre Rock, power pop, new wave
Length 3:44
Label EMI Records
Songwriter(s) Peter Wolf, Seth Justman
Producer(s) Seth Justman
The J. Geils Band singles chronology
"Come Back"
(1980)
"Love Stinks"
(1980)
"Just Can't Wait"
(1980)
"Come Back"
(1980)
"Love Stinks"
(1980)
"Just Can't Wait"
(1980)

"Love Stinks" is a song written by Peter Wolf and Seth Justman that was the title track of the J. Geils Band's 1980 album Love Stinks. The song was released as a single and peaked in the US at #38, spending three weeks in the Top 40.[1][2][3] In Canada, the song reached number 15.[4] Joan Jett covered the song for the soundtrack of the 1996 movie Mr. Wrong.[5] The song was also featured in the film Opie Gets Laid.[6] It was also covered by Adam Sandler in the movie The Wedding Singer and by Himalayaz with Ms. Toi for the movie Love Stinks.[7][8][9]

The lyrics describe a love triangle in which two participants experience unrequited love, before segueing into a description of love gone sour in general. The lyrics may have been inspired by J. Geils Band lead singer Peter Wolf's marriage to actress Faye Dunaway, which ended in a 1979 divorce.[2] Author Maury Dean describes the opening of the song as "ponderous Power Metal."[2] Dean describes the bands playing in the refrain as generating "wild waves of flame," the guitars as "fire-breathing" and Wolf's vocals in the "yeah yeah" portion of the chorus as snarling with "heavy metal glee."[2] Justman provides extensive keyboards, which Associated Press critic James Simon feels gives the song "a little extra zing."[10] Viglione describes the riff as "Lou Reed's 'Vicious' as performed by his Rock & Roll Animal band on Lou Reed Live at half-speed," also noting that it is a hard rock version of the riff from "Louie, Louie."[5] Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield notes that the riff was later used by Nirvana in the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit."[11]

Viglione finds such a "simple riff rocker" a departure for the J. Geils Band who were then known for blues and R&B, but admits the results are fun to listen to and acknowledges that this and some other songs from the Love Stinks album pointed the way towards their pop-oriented 1981 platinum hit album Freeze Frame.[5] Allmusic critic John Franck describes the song as "infectious," noting that it was "one of the band's most recognizable FM songs ever."[12] Music critic Robert Christgau describes the song "broad" and "uproarious."[13] Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh considers it one of the J. Geils Band's greatest songs, considering its lyrics to be "a hilarious spoof on new-wave nihilism as well as soul cliche."[14] Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield calls it "one of the great trash-rock singles of the '80's."[11]

"Till the Walls Come Tumblin' Down"[edit]

The B-side of the "Love Stinks" single was "Till the Walls Come Tumblin' Down", also a track from the Love Stinks album. Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield praised the song, describing it as "rollicking".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Love Stinks Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d Dean, M. (2003). Rock N Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. Algora. p. 330. ISBN 9780875862071. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, J. (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (9th ed.). Random House. p. 263. ISBN 9780823085545. 
  4. ^ http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/films-videos-sound-recordings/rpm/Pages/image.aspx?Image=nlc008388.0194a&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fwww.collectionscanada.gc.ca%2fobj%2f028020%2ff4%2fnlc008388.0194a.gif&Ecopy=nlc008388.0194a
  5. ^ a b c Viglione, J. "Love Stinks". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  6. ^ "Opie Gets Laid soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  7. ^ "The Wedding Singer soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  8. ^ "Love Stinks soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  9. ^ Phares, H. "Love Stinks". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  10. ^ Simon, J. (April 1, 1980). "Geils has hit with 'Love Stinks'". The Daily News. p. 14-B. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  11. ^ a b c Sheffield, R. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, C., eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Fireside. p. 327. ISBN 0743201698. 
  12. ^ Franck, J. "Love Stinks". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  13. ^ Christgau, R. "The J. Geils Band: Love Stinks". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  14. ^ Marsh, D. (1983). Marsh, D.; Swenson, J., eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2nd ed.). Rolling Stone Press. p. 196. ISBN 0394721071. 

External links[edit]