Song of the Week
“Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato is a telling song about codependency released in 2017. I chose this song for song of the week because I saw the music video and it had a surprising scene of them being left at the altar. The vocally highlighted song is clearly about love but as soon as I started listening intently, it is so much more. The song was not written by Lovato themself but by writer Kirby Lauryen. Although not written by Lovato they communicate its message of codependency and overcoming its downfalls wholeheartedly.
In the first trumpet backed verse, Lovato admits to being the bad guy. “On no, here we go again / Fighting over what I said / I’m sorry / … / I can’t say I’m innocent.” They set the sorrowful scene by introducing the viewer to their unhealthy relationship. They’re the one making mistakes and they can own up to it but for some reason they can’t break the vicious cycle.
The sentimental melody continues with the pre-chorus allowing Lovato’s friends to pipe in with their third person perspective on their reasonably erratic internal struggle. “And all my friends, they know and it’s true / I don’t know who I am without you / I got it bad, baby.” When you fall to far in love you can lose yourself. Codependency is defined as excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of illness or addiction. Compromising yourself completely for a partner has consequences easily blinded by love.
In this case it appears Lovato is the one who needs extensive support that is unfair for their partner to take on. Especially, since their partner is given no support in return. They apologize for their behavior but the guilt of needing someone only drills them deeper into this hole of regret and disadvantage. The urge to push for reassurance will only feel worse the more your partner pushes away from these daunting desires.
The chorus is set in motion as Lovato releases her thunderous tone onto the musical track. “Oh, tell me you love me / I need someone on days like this, I do / … / Oh, can you hear my heart say / No, you ain’t nobody ’til you got somebody.” The desperate grasp at reassurance in the first line is common in relationships riddled with insecurity. Obviously, It is perfectly normal to say I love you to your partner. Lovato has such trouble validating their relationship that they absolutely NEED their partner to say this so they don’t panic from an invisible instability.
They feel empty without having someone to give them the love and affection they don’t know how to give themselves. This negative self talk is evident and common today. Especially in the modern day of social media because of our lack of education on mental health and healthy relationship styles. Do you have to commonly ask your partner if they love you? The addiction of hearing those three words should key you in that something inside is splintered, not outside.
In the second verse Lovato reveals their internal hopelessness for their relationship. ” And I hope I never see the day / That you move on and be happy without me / … / What’s my hand without your heart to hold? / I don’t know what I’m living for / If I’m living without you.” Lovato sees that the feverish relationship they’re in won’t last forever and knows that their partner is healthy enough to have a relationship he’s happier in. When all your focus is on one aspect of your life like love then it’s easy to convince yourself nothing else matters. In reality, the best way to love another is to love yourself.
The bridge is the final verse with new lyrics. It offers the loving solution to people struggling with the same damning feelings as Lovato. “Everything I need / Is standing in front of me / I know that we will be alright, alright, yeah / Through the ups and downs / Baby, I’ma stick around.” In the music video, Lovato’s love interest leaves them at the altar because the insecurity they felt inside was inadvertently pushed onto their partner to deal with instead of themselves. In the end, they realize it’s impossible for a lover to give you the support only you can provide. Being comfortable alone is when you know your ready for a committed relationship. How are you supposed to love and support another if you can’t do it for yourself.
Leave a comment if you have any ideas as to what message you think Lovato was trying to convey!