Extreme were geniuses.
There. I said it out loud, and I meant it. These guys were *geniuses.*
Every girl I knew back in 1991 swooned over this song. It was sensitive, in touch with its feminine side. The good-looking long-haired guys in the video soulfully pondered the meaning of love and life in two-part harmony, the acoustic guitar and falsetto implying sincerity with every quiet chord. It was a teenage girl’s ultimate fantasy of a mature adult relationship.
And then you listen to the words.
“Saying ‘I love you’ is not the words I want to hear from you.
It’s not that I want you not to say ’em but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you loved me
‘Cause I’d already know.”
So, basically, if you love the guy, words are great and all, but in reality it doesn’t mean anything unless you’re getting down? Sweet nothings are nice but you have to prove you mean it? Man! Who knew? Not I. Took me a while to get over the secret heartbreak of thinking that my teenaged romantic dream-bubble had been popped and the objectification gnome came crawling out, ready to love ’em and leave ’em.
Fortunately, I did a little investigating into exactly what Extreme had to say for themselves. Were they just angling for women on tour? Because, seriously, geniuses. Apparently not, though. According to the horse’s mouth(s), they said that the song was meant to represent the fact that the words “I love you” were taken for granted, and that they were bandied about in ways that belittled their meaning. More than just a simple “I love you” should be said (or done), so that the recipient is clear on what is intended. Now, that seems genuine enough. Fits the lyrical content. In short, I buy it. Mostly because it allows me to place this song very firmly back into its designated teenaged romantic dream-bubble. Carry on, Extreme. Carry on.