Couples’ Duets: Cute or Cringey?

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Couple duets are a bit like marmite – you either love or hate them. The romantic in us may find them cute, though in reality we’re probably just cringing at such loved-up-lyrics. But regardless of our opinions, couples throughout the ages have continued to create duets together; ranging from being sweet to vom-worthy.

Even if couples decide to turn their romance professional, their love-child of a song doesn’t have to be about love at all. Ike and Tina Turner’s ‘Proud Mary’ illustrates this perfectly, showing how a couple can work together without their relationship infecting the music. Although this song wasn’t written by Tina and Ike (original by Creedence Clearwater Revival), it still shows that couples can sing without the process becoming possessed by their romance.

Though both songs have love in the title, ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘Drunk in Love’ by Jay Z and Beyonce remain tunes to dance to. ‘Crazy in Love’ features some cringe lyrics, like “its the beat that my heart skips when I’m with you”, but in all honesty you’ll be too busy grooving to even notice. ‘Drunk in Love’ is far more sexual, and features some dirtier lyrics that are a tad uncomfortable, but the weird snake-tamer noises and random “surfboard” and “watermelon” make this couple duet an R&B party song.

Both Sonny & Cher and ABBA are classic examples of how couples can sing about their relationship, whilst keeping it PG, sweet and cringe-less. ABBA’s ‘S.O.S.’ was released in 1975, midway through both couples relationships. Though they sing “when you’re gone, though I try how can I carry on?” amongst other dramatic lyrics, nothing can beat dancing to an ABBA tune. Even Sonny & Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’ is a sweet classic. Cher singing “with you I can’t go wrong”, and Sonny responding “there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb”; very innocent lyrics you’ve probably witnessed someone’s parents lovingly singing to one another (which is where it gets cringe).

Couples such as Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas in Camp Rock or Finn and Rachel from Glee perform duets as on-screen couples, whilst in relationships together off screen. Demi and Joe’s Disney relationship is rather cute, their duet of ‘This is Me’ being the moment they finally find one another and fall in love. Finn and Rachel, however, are definitely more cringe. Their version of ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ certainly vom-worthy, full of dodgy dancing and overly-romantic glances.

Lastly, ‘What About Love?’ from The Colour Purple shows Celie and Shug coming to terms with their sexuality. The lyrics “never felt nothing like this” and “I want you to be a story for me that I can believe in forever”, though very cheesy, are overlooked due to this tender moment resonating with its LGBT+ audience.

Couple duets can be gross, or something you’d add to a playlist for your SO, but after discovering same-sex couple duets barely exist, perhaps this is an area we should discuss rather than just questioning the cringe/cuteness of these duets.

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