2870: Love Songs

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Love Songs
The Piña Colada song carves a trajectory across the chart over the course of the song.
Title text: The Piña Colada song carves a trajectory across the chart over the course of the song.


The comic shows an xy-chart of various love songs, graphed according to how the subjects of the song feel. The x-axis represents the narrator/singer's feelings for whomever they are singing to or about, from "No!!" to "Yes!!", while the y-axis represents the other person's feelings for the one singing the song.

The songs can be found in Spotify playlists ([1],[2], [3]).

Song Artist(s) Year Explanation Do I like you? Do you like me?
No Scrubs TLC 1999 The narrator is the target of another person's affections but considers that person completely undesirable as a romantic partner. No!! Yes!!
That Don't Impress Me Much Shania Twain 1998 The song says the person singing doesn't find certain things impressive in a potential partner, and having nice things alone won't make them like that person. It shows the singer cares about being independent and wants someone special. This song was referenced in 984: Space Launch System. Unclear or Neutral Yes!
Cry Me a River Justin Timberlake
(or London / Knight / Cocker / Wilson / Welch / Bublé / Aerosmith)
2002 (or 1953 onwards) The lyrics describe a relationship that has ended, and the singer expresses a sense of betrayal and heartbreak. The title phrase "Cry me a river" is a metaphorical way of telling the other person to go ahead and cry as much as they want because the singer has moved on and is no longer affected by the breakup. No! Yes!
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Taylor Swift 2012 At the start of the song, the narrator has spent a prolonged time in an on-and-off relationship with someone, repeatedly getting close to them before they distance themselves. As the song progresses, the narrator expresses their frustration with their partner and makes it clear that this time, they are the one leaving, and they're never coming back, no matter what their now-former lover says or does. Note that the chart has recorded the title of the song incorrectly as "never ever ever" rather than "never ever". This is because the lyrics of the song have multiple 'ever's in a row. No!! Yes?
You're So Vain Carly Simon 1972 The song talks about someone who is very self-centered and vain, with the lyrics describing various instances of their narcissistic behavior. The narrator expresses frustration with this person's attitude, but there's a sense of mystery about their identity. This song has been mentioned before in xkcd. No! Unclear or Neutral
I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor 1978 The narrator's partner left her to hurt her emotionally, only for her to eventually realize the abusive nature of their relationship and decide she doesn't need him anymore. As he tries to come back to her, she refuses to take him back and tells him to leave. No! No!
Somebody That I Used to Know Gotye feat. Kimbra 2011 The narrator's relationship with his partner has ended, but he is upset that his former partner has since then broken off all contact with him. The third verse is from the former partner's point of view, and she claims she ended the relationship because he was emotionally abusive, instead of the narrator's claim in the second verse that they simply drifted apart. Unclear or Neutral No!
You Oughta Know Alanis Morissette 1995 The song describes the intense emotions and pain experienced after a breakup, expressing feelings of betrayal, anger, and confusion toward the former partner. No!! No!!
Thank U, Next Ariana Grande 2018 The song reflects on past relationships. It expresses gratitude to former partners for the lessons learned, but she is still moving on. Unclear or Neutral Unclear or Neutral
Teenage Dream Katy Perry
(or T. Rex
 or others)
2010 (or 1974 or others) The song is about teenage romance. Yes!! Yes!!
Shape of You Ed Sheeran
(or Beverly Knight)
2017 (or 2003) This song is about being in love physically, and to a lesser extent, emotionally, to another person. The verses indicate that the love is reciprocated. Yes!! Yes!!
I Will Always Love You Dolly Parton,
 cover: Whitney Houston
1974, 1995 Expressing deep love and gratitude, the lyrics convey a heartfelt farewell while emphasizing the enduring commitment to cherish memories and maintain love despite the separation. Unclear or Neutral Yes
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen 2011 The lyrics describe an encounter where the narrator gives their number to someone they find attractive. (Although, in the music video, the guy turns out to be gay.) This song/Carly in general has been mentioned lots of times in xkcd. Yes! Unclear or Neutral
Killing Me Softly Lori Lieberman,
 covers: Roberta Flack,
  The Fugees
1971, 1973, 1996 The singer recounts the experience of hearing a song that seems to reflect their own life story. Yes!! Unclear or Neutral
Girlfriend Avril Lavigne
(or many others)
2007 (or many others) The narrator is in love with a boy who already has a girlfriend, and spends the song trying to convince him to dump her so she herself can go out with him. Yes Unclear or Neutral
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' The Righteous Brothers 1964 The song expresses the pain and sorrow of a fading romantic connection, capturing the emotional toll of lost love and the desire to rekindle the passion that once defined the relationship. This song was featured in 317: That Lovin' Feelin'. Unclear or Neutral No?
You Belong with Me Taylor Swift 2009 The narrator has a crush on someone already in a relationship (implied throughout the song to be a toxic one), and lists various reasons why they would make a better partner. It's also worth noting that in the music video, the narrator's crush is actually on decent terms with them, rather than flat-out disliking them as the chart suggests. Yes No!
Creep Radiohead
(or others)
1992 (or others) Expressing feelings of inadequacy and unrequited love, the song conveys the narrator's sense of not belonging and yearning for someone who appears out of reach. Yes!! No!!
The Piña Colada Song (title text) Rupert Holmes 1979 The narrator is bored with his relationship (and apparently his life in general), when he reads a personal ad from someone expressing a desire to find an adventurous romance. He makes plans to meet this person, only to discover that it was placed by his partner. This seems to spark the realization that they have more in common than they realized, and the decision to pursue a more adventurous life together, resulting in a trajectory from the lower left to the middle or upper right. varies varies


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Y-axis label:]
Do you like me?
[X-axis label:]
Do I like you?
[X- and Y-axis values (from bottom left):]
NO!!; No; Unclear or Neutral; Yes; YES!!
[Top left quarter:]
No Scrubs
That Don't Impress Me Much
Cry Me a River
We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together
[Middle left:]
You're So Vain
[Bottom left quarter:]
I Will Survive
Somebody That I Used to Know
You Oughta Know
Thank U, Next
[Top right quarter:]
Teenage Dream
Shape of You
I Will Always Love You
Call Me Maybe
[Middle right:]
Killing Me Softly
[Bottom right quarter:]
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
You Belong with Me

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I need to know which axis means “does the ‘me’ like them” because I fail to understand it.-- 23:53, 20 December 2023 (UTC)

Pick a song you know that isn't near the (X=Y) line, and it should explain it.
e.g. "That don't impress me much", at centre-top. Clearly the other party is trying to impress (likes the 'me') but Shania is ambivalent in response (she doesn't actually love their being a rocket-scientist, nor hate it).
"Killing me softly..." is from 'me' having love, whilst "You're so vain..." is actively insulting the other party (but indifference by the target could be the attitude).
Though for X=Y items (e.g. "I will survive" - it's declared to be an unamicable but ultimately mutually-acceptable split) the way round of course doesn't matter. 00:12, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

I'm hoping "I Will Survive" isn't a reference to the Zootopia abortion comic. 23:56, 20 December 2023 (UTC)

Well, some of the (apparently obvious) references I didn't know. First thought about "Girlfriend" was the The Smiths song almost of that name. (And it looks like there are almost thirty possible songs... not sure how many are covers of others... under that exact name.) Can I suggest that any possible songs that could be confused (but maybe not match the plotted position, being of a different story/tone) be recorded in a "Not to be confused with..." section? 01:02, 21 December 2023 (UTC)
At first, I confused "The Shape of You" with "The Shape of Things". Whose position and trajectory on the chart would be complex. BunsenH (talk) 19:14, 22 December 2023 (UTC)

not pictured: Jim Steinman songs, which spend most of their time out of the XY plane. 00:14, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

Gotta say, Perfect is a far better Ed Sheeran song than Shape of You

The fault here is not so much with the axes or their interpretation as with the verb, "to love." Nothing can be done about the verb "to love." 04:19, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

(reads comic) (automatically sorts in all "Offspring" love songs) (thanks very much, xkcd, you got me again) 09:24, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

Or Rammstein. 10:21, 29 December 2023 (UTC)

"Girlfriend" by Matthew Sweet doesn't remotely follow the narrative in the explanation, but could nevertheless be graphed as shown.Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 10:07, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

Why is "I Will Always Love You" higher on the Y axis than the X axis?? The title and chorus seem genuine to me, and the rationale for breaking up is "I'm not what you need." 15:08, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

I love the way this came out. Mad props to everyone who worked on the table summaries. Were LLMs employed? Liv2splain (talk) 18:31, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

yes, and it made a mistake. Well, I made the mistake.In my prompt I was asking for a summary of the Song T-Rex from Katy Perry and chatGPT did neither complain nor correct - THAT is their mistake. And several people did not recognize even as it was obvious - including me. 🫣 --LaVe (talk) 23:43, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

In my opinion the Y-Axis of "Girlfriend" does not fit Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend", it should be closer to "Yes" than to "No". The lyrics include "I see the way you look at me [...] I know you talk about me all the time again and again". If the video counts: The guy ends up without his girlfriend (red-haired Avril) and seems to always enjoy the company and a kiss of black-haired Avril. The video ends with him and blond-haired Avril disappearing into a bathroom stall. Whomever you see as the "I" in the song, black-haired or blond-haired Avril, he seems sorta interested in both, so a "Yes". 18:46, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

Idea: We could add a column for the year the song came out. It would be interesting to see the year distribution and if it clumps in the late 90s (when Randall was a teenager). Laser813 (talk) 19:33, 21 December 2023 (UTC)

It needs a third (time) axis: in "You’re so vain", for example, there's the line "But you gave away the things you loved/And one of them was me" which suggests that the Warren Beatty^w^w male character at least USED to live the singer, and "when I was still quite naïve” might imply the feeling was once mutual, regardless of the current degree of indifference and/or active disdain. 10:56, 22 December 2023 (UTC)

That's just the same issue as the Piña Colada, really. What you could do for those (and others) is trace a track leading up to the dot (probably, from whatever history the song narrative describes as having come from). And maybe a short dashed onwards line to where they hope/fear/want/expect the relationship to progress to. Could get busy. And would need (probably subjective) analysis of the full lyrics then work out how best to tweak it not to get a plate full of undifferentiatable spaghetti. 11:24, 22 December 2023 (UTC)
While both are past tense, it seems to me that "You're So Vain" is describing history (focused on how we got to the "now" of the song), while Piña Colada is presenting a narrative. 05:24, 23 December 2023 (UTC)

Something that could replace the Piña Colada song in the title-text: Blank space - Taylor Swift B for brain (talk) (youtube channel wobsite (supposed to be a blag) 20:41, 24 December 2023 (UTC)

Created a Spotify playlist with above love songs. Shivank (talk) 10:15, 30 December 2023 (UTC)

'Creep' really should be in the middle of the Y axis. We have no clue how the object of the narrator's affections views them - only that they hate themself! 12:33, 3 January 2024 (UTC)

I agree with other commenters that the Y-Axis value is too low for Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend." For this reason, maybe a different song with the same title was intended. 'NSync's song "Girlfriend" matches the data point coordinates better. 05:49, 9 January 2024 (UTC)