Addiction in Society

Addiction—the thematic malady for our society—entails every type of psychological and societal problem

The Greatest Love Addiction Songs of All Time

Leonard and Lucinda have captured addiction better than the NIDA

Here are the greatest love addiction songs—the greatest interior descriptions of addiction—ever written.

No, bite your lip: Robert Palmer's superficial, boring—almost stultifying—Addicted to Love doesn't come close to making the cut.

Considerably better—with its driving beat—is Love is the Drug, by Roxy Music. "Love is the drug I need to score; love is the drug for me." But it's not love the singer seeks—it's sex.

Let's turn to the key song lyric I used as the chapter lead for "Love as an Addiction" in my Love and Addiction, Smokey Robinson's You've Really Got a Hold Me.  "I don't like you, but I love you; seems like I'm always thinking of you. You treat me badly, I can't help but love you madly; You've really got a hold on me."

But that all-time classic has developed serious competition over the decades, with the development of the great singer-songwriters who spill their guts in their music and on the stage.

Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man is so scary it gives me nightmares:

If you want a lover, I'll do anything you ask me to.

I'll wear a mask for you.

If you want to strike me down in anger,

Here I stand; I'm your man.

Oh, God—save me.

Now, be still my heart, comes Lucinda Williams—like Smokey, an American treasure. In Essence, she sings:

Baby, sweet baby, you're my drug
Come on and let me taste your stuff

Baby, sweet baby, bring me your gift
What surprise you gonna hit me with

Refrain:
I am waiting here for more
I am waiting by your door
I am waiting on your back steps
I am waiting in my car
I am waiting at this bar
I am waiting for your essence

Baby, sweet baby, whisper my name
Shoot your love into my vein

Baby, sweet baby, kiss me hard
Make me wonder who's in charge

Baby, sweet baby, I wanna feel your breath
Even though you like to flirt with death

Baby, sweet baby, can't get enough
Please come find me and help me get f-----d up

But the scariest love addiction song of all, where the singer seemingly descends into madness, is Lucinda's follow-up to Essence—at least it seems as though it's the result of breaking up with the man she sings about later in EssenceChange the Locks:

I changed the lock on my front door so you can't see me anymore
And you can't come inside my house, and you can't lie down on my couch
I changed the lock on my front door

I changed the number on my phone so you can't call me up at home
And you can't say those things to me that make me fall down on my knees
I changed the number on my phone

The dirge (it has no chorus)—similar in musical spirit to "Hold" and "Man"—progresses to broader, deeper, more existential—and delusional—similes:

I changed the kind of clothes I wear so you can't see me anywhere
And you can't spot me in a crowd, and you can't call my name out loud
I changed the kind of clothes I wear

I changed the tracks underneath the train so you can't find me again
And you can't trace my path, and you can't hear my laugh
I changed the tracks underneath the train

I changed the name of this town so you can't follow me down
And you can't touch me like before, and you can't make me want you more
I changed the name of this town

They should build a monument to Lucinda—not in Nashville, in the National Mall.

Follow Stanton on Twitter

Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is the author of Recover! He has been a pioneer in the addiction field since publication of Love and Addiction in 1975.

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