Love songs were a prominent target for parody and satire in Zappa's work. In The Real Frank Zappa Book he explained that love songs create an unrealistic idealistic idea of love that you never can achieve in real life. To him the very idea of "love" was ridiculous, since he thought that most people go for sex instead of love.
"Everybody else writes songs about beautiful girls who make you fall in love, and groovy guys that are so wonderful, and heartbreak and all that shit – that's everybody else's department. I'm alternative information on specimen behavior." (FZ in Interview with the Composer)
Genesis: "You've also stated that you think love songs are the ultimate form of 'absurdist comedy. Do you still feel that way?"
Zappa: "Yes. (...) it's preposterous. To publicly display hurt –"
Genesis: "What about happy love songs, like "You Light Up My Life"?"
Zappa: "That's even more preposterous. And cynical. Sensitivity for bucks."
Genesis: "Can you see yourself ever singing a love song on stage?"
Zappa: "Well, not seriously. We have a few songs, like "I Have Been In You," that deal with the subject, but with a comic overtone."
(Source: Interview: Frank Zappa)
"It's quite a challenge to reach somebody emotionally without using words that have literal connections. To perform expressively on an instrument, I have respect for that. To get to the level of performance where you are no longer thinking about operating a piece of machinery, that is worthy of respect. Writing a song about why somebody left you, that's stupid. The performers and composers don't necessarily believe in what they're saying or what they are doing, but they know that if you write a song about love, it's got a 3,000 per cent better chance of going on the radio than if you write a song about celery. It's a buy and a sell. And so the value system builds up from that. What I think of as the emotional content of music is probably a lot different than what you think of. Since I write music, I know what the techniques are. If I wanted to write something that would make you weep, I could do it. There's ways to do it. It's a cheap shot. (...) It's not just sentimental. There are certain harmonic climates that you can build. There are certain notes of the scale that you can play within a harmonic climate to "wreak pathos," and it's very predictable." (FZ in Winter In Amerika)
Tracks that parody love songs
- I Ain't Got No Heart
- Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder
- Motherly Love
- Wowie Zowie
- How Could I Be Such A Fool
- Big Leg Emma
- Oh No
- Punky's Whips
- Dirty Love
- Honey Don't You Want A Man Like Me
- I Have Been In You
- Love Story
- Wild Love
- Lemme Take You To The Beach
- Falling In Love Is A Stupid Habit
- Carol, You Fool
"Serious" love songs
Even though Zappa criticized the fictional atmosphere created in many love songs he recorded a few songs that can be considered "serious" love songs. There are no humorous lyrics present in the following love songs:
- Alley Cat
- How's Your Bird? (The Track)
- You Didn't Try To Call Me
- Any Way The Wind Blows
- Love Of My Life
- Jelly Roll Gum Drop
- Stuff Up The Cracks
- Why Don't You Do Me Right?
- No. No. No.
- Later That Night
- Fountain Of Love
- Bamboozled By Love
- Boy Wonder I Love You
- Tears Began To Fall
- Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up
Covers of love songs
Zappa also covered a few love songs he liked. Some of his arrangements are humoristic, others are serious.