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Low Expectations for Love
A Close Look at Billboard’s Newest #1 Song
An article from David R. Smith at

Say you score a date with a hottie. What would you say to him or her on the first outing? Would you boastfully promise to break their heart?

The singer in America’s current #1 song does.

“Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better!”
OK, I’m not naïve. I know that heart break happens to romance…a lot. But I’ve never seen it as…ummm…celebrated as in the new #1 song, “Break Your Heart.”

“Break Your Heart” is the first tune released in America by British-born singer, rapper, and producer Taio Cruz (pronounced Tie Oh). The single landed on our shores a mere 7 days ago at #53, but in one week’s time, has rocketed to the #1 position. It’s also ranked #1 on iTunes’ most downloaded songs, right now.

I’d never heard of the guy before, but you can bet that if a song can make that kind of a jump actually setting a Billboard record for the biggest chart leap in history – you can bet our kids are listening to it!

But, what are they hearing?

When the music video opens up, Cruz and his lady friend are smugly sitting in a brand new, silver Aston Martin. The sexy – but unnamed – girl beside him calmly issues a coy warning. “You know I’m just gonna hurt cha?”

Seemingly unshaken, Cruz fires right back with a devious smile on his face, “You know I’m only gonna break your heart, right?”

She replies, “You wanna bet?” and he concludes the verbal contest with a confident, “Bring it on.”

The gauntlet has been thrown and in the next three minutes, the couple’s personal vendettas against each other play out in the form of unbridled flirting with LOTS of other people in an attempt to make one another jealous. (No joke: I keep losing count of how many people they dance with, make out with, and grope in the music video.)

Here’s a portion of the “dating disclaimer” that Cruz issues his female protagonist:

There’s no point trying to hide it
No point trying to evade it
I know I got a problem
Problem with misbehavin’

If you fall for me
I’m not easy to please
I might tear you apart
I told you from the start, baby from the start

I’m only gonna break break your break break your heart
I’m only gonna break break your break break your heart
I’m only gonna break break your break break your heart
I’m only gonna break break your break break your heart

Well, at the very least, it sounds like Cruz is aware of his tendency with women. But does he think his admission of a “problem” automatically gets him off the hook?

Full of Himself…or Fair Warning?
In the song’s bridge, Cruz gets a little help from co-singer Ludacris.

Oh, did I forget to mention that “Break Your Heart” also features the lyrical poison of infamous rapper, Ludacris?


Yes, the ridiculous, often nonsensical, Ludacris marries his “chivalrous” relational experience to that of Cruz’s in the song. And why not? He’s hot stuff right now. He’s simultaneously in the #1 spot and the #10 spot (with a tune of his own) on Billboard’s Top 100.

When Ludacris grabs the mic, his only aim is to “keep it real.” Take a look:

Listen, now I'm only gonna break your heart
And shatter and spatter it all into little itty bitty pieces
Whether or not you get it all together
Then its finders keepers and losers weepers
See I'm not trying lead you on, no I'm only trying keep it real
You might say this is Ludacris, but Taio Cruz tell her how you feel

Ladies, you’ve been warned.

Just in case you’re interested, the song’s full set of lyrics paints a hopelessly chauvinistic picture. And the constantly sexy music video fills in any gaps left blank by your imagination.

Confessions of a Concerned Dad
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t listen to this song without getting riled up as a father. Yes, I’m a father – and not to a precious little girl but to a lightsaber-wielding, Grade A, American boy – but I don’t know of too many dads, regardless of their offspring’s gender, who would tolerate somebody willfully breaking their child’s heart without wanting to break some necks in return.

Then again…maybe it’s just me.

Fair enough, but here are some questions I have after listening to the lyrics and watching the music video for this “clean” song.

  1. What effect will this song’s message have on girls’ already low self-esteem? Should they just throw their hands up and see themselves as sexual targets…or are they (much) more than that? Let’s hope for the latter!

  2. How does this song’s confusing message impact the behaviors of kids who’re dating? We already know that teens take their cues from those in the lead, and are highly influenced by the sexual lyrics of today’s music; will this song also take its toll?

  3. How pervasive is this “playa” mindset? Does this couple speak for the masses, or are there actually a few people still left in the world who our teenagers can date that aren’t just trying to hurt them?

  4. Is infidelity an unavoidable reality? Should we all just give up and give into temptation, because today’s pop mindset seems to convey that we are merely slaves to our desires. “I couldn’t help it!” So we might as well just “keep it real and release ourselves to our desires no matter who we’re going to hurt.

As with any song that’s #1, but especially this one in light of its meteoric rise to the top, I strongly suggest having a conversation with your teenagers before they download it to their mp3 players and listen to it over and over again.

As previously stated, this song is “clean” by the world’s standards…in other words…it has no swear words or explicit lyrics. Yet it represents the epitome of imitatible behavior.

For that reason, here are a few questions to get you started with your students:

  1. What do you think the song is really about?

  2. Does Tiao’s stance make him “noble” because he warned her up front, or does it just make him “a jerk” because he only intends to break her heart regardless?

  3. How would you feel if you found out the person you were romantically interested in was bent on breaking your heart?

  4. Are we destined to fail in relationships? Should we just “keep it real” and give into our desires and do what “feels right at the moment?”

  5. How does this song line up with the Greatest Commandments (to love God and love others)?

  6. How might listening to this song affect your faith?

Return to Sender
Before releasing this first album, Departure, which contains the song in question, Cruz supposedly helped the likes of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Ke$ha, and the Pussycat Dolls create their music. Anyone familiar with these artists knows how filthy their musical content can be. If “Break Your Heart” is a glimpse of what’s to come from Taio Cruz, here’s hoping his “departure” back to the UK is a quick one.

Maybe I’m making too much of this. Perhaps I’m reading between the lines when I shouldn’t be. But, I suppose it’s possible that I’m picking up exactly what Taio Cruz is laying down. Let me know what you think -- check out Jonathan's Monday morning blog on the subject and use the comment feature to post your two cents!

David R. Smith David R. Smith is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year, Ministry By Teenagers. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

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Comments on this post

   Troy         11/1/2010 11:51:50 AM

This song is still popular with kids. Cruz's other hit DYNAMITE is even a bigger hit.


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