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Breaking the Ice with our Lyrcial Love expert

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We analyse profiles, decipher bios and scrutinise images. Dating is practically a science but once you match you’re on the same page, right? So why take yourself so seriously, have some fun - loosen up and make a lasting impression. On this mission, VICE’s lyrical love expert partnered with Badoo - to woo hearts with some of the best tunes mankind has made - figuring out which lyrics translate into the most effective online openers. 

Know the feeling of swiping away in bed, caught in a perpetual battle between ‘Hey’ and ‘Hello’ too well? We all do. It’s never easy to find the right inspiration and strike up a conversation when you’re sat in your pants with Netflix blaring in the background. And let’s face it, we’re not all mini-Byrons and Shelleys; quills at the ready, waiting to break the ice by melting hearts. Then again,  some of us are.

From Drake to Barry White, there are the  masters - those artists played time and time again who perfectly encapsulate how we feel from the first encounter right through to  weddings and anniversaries, should you get that far. When we’ve been out-of-ideas, they’ve made our lives easier – putting the right words in our mouths in moments where all we can muster is: ‘I like your outfit’. So why stop there? I spent the evening using opening lyrics from the most romantic songs across the decades to see which broke the ice better and even got a giggle out of my prospective dates.

So, to get to the bottom of exactly how well each song works as an icebreaker, we’re going to send an opening lyric from each era to 10 of our matches on a dating app. Keeping a score of whether people  respond, if they’re happy to keep chatting and screen grabbing the funniest responses, we’ll solve the question: which generation writes love best?

Al Green ‘Let’s Stay Together’ 1972

With a sound that oozes like chocolate, ‘Let’s Stay Together’ is force majeure. And when opening a little chat with its, ‘I, Am So In Love With You’, what could possibly go wrong?

So, 45 years on, it seems as if Al still gets the party going, albeit the chat sort of dried up pretty quickly afterwards. The magic touch remains, but maybe it’s all a bit too upfront for the modern era, telling somebody you love them in an opening gambit? Unsure this is the best one to set up an Orange Wednesday watching Transformers 57: Robot SuperSized.


People who responded: 3/10
People who wanted to carry on chatting: 1/10

SCORE: 4/20.

Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’ 1981

Right, despite the fact that you can’t stop thinking about guys in gorilla suits scoffing Freddos when you hear Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’, it’s undeniably powerful. Just listen to its opening drumbeat and pretend you don’t want to immediately buy the speaker a Pizza Express on a Wednesday night.

Well, looks like the world isn’t ready for your power, Phil. Even if people want to chat, you’re just going to confuse and concern them. And not in the nice way.


People who responded: 1/10
People who wanted to carry on chatting: 1/10

SCORE: 2/20.

Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton ‘I Will Always Love You’ 1992

Into the 90s now, and we’re going for another veritable smoocher. One we’re sure you remember from being blurted out at every wedding party precisely 30 minutes after your Mum should have gone home.

So we can’t be 100 what she’s thinking here: I mean, there’s not too many places you can go after you’ve told somebody you’re always going to love them. The chase is over; the fun is done. It’s no surprise that you couldn’t exactly ask, ‘How’s the day been?’ after that cracker.


People who responded: 1/10
People who wanted to carry on chatting: 0/10

SCORE: 1/20.


Papa Roach ‘Last Resort’ 2001

I used to wear Papa Roach tees, strut around in JNCO jeans and blaring Infest on my headphones, and I was pretty cool back then. So why not try the wildcard? Nu-metal has stood the test of time, right?

Well, that went as well as my teens did - girls, ostracised by my unprompted blurting out of the lyrics. But where I persevered in life, I will in digital life.

And there you are! Life imitating art. Anything can be romantic; you just need to find the right person to hear it. 

Absolutely hilarious! Supreme fun… Yet impossibly too niche. Back in the Charity Shop CD box you go, Papa Roach, for now. I’ve got to cast a wider net. 


People who responded: 6/10
People who wanted to carry on chatting: 5/10

SCORE: 11/20.

Beyonce ‘Single Ladies’ 2008

If one wants to start a conversation with single ladies, one must first understand them. So why not try it out with the opener of this anthem? Sure, it’s a little presumptuous, asking somebody to propose just because they’ve swiped your face, but what do I know?

With no proposals from either Minerva or Chloe in my Badoo inbox, I’m counting this one as a failure. They should have put a ring on it.


People who responded: 3/10
People who wanted to carry on chatting: 2/10

SCORE: 5/20.

Ed Sheeran ‘Thinking Out Loud’ 2014

Ok, so despite the fact he’s as sexless as a drum circle, Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ has become somewhat of a love anthem for younger generations; constantly peppered with lip and heart emojis, Snapchatted at every 2-month-and-a-week anniversary. So let’s see how we get on. 

Just remember this: you’re never going to get a block for using Ed.


People who responded: 8/10
People who wanted to carry on chatting: 4/10

SCORE: 12/20.

Conclusions, conclusions

THE WINNER: Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’.

Alright, so there are a few lessons I’ve learned from humiliating myself for the evening, and I think it’s important to set out a few ground rules. Number one: old skool. Ok, so Whitney and Al are putting forth deep cuts, we all know that, but they’re just too straight-up for modern dating. You sound like you’re far too keen. Like engagement-date keen, not first. Number two:  new skool. It’s the safest bet there is. Everybody is going to know what you’re talking about - it’s safe, middle-of-the-road - but this probably means there are tonnes of people doing this already, so you’re not going to bag the greatest chat. And people aren’t gonna be too mad but carry on. Likely just somebody nodding their head and humming Sheeran.

Last lesson: Go with what you know. If you’ve got previous with a track - for me this is Bey; if it’s Papa Roach - then go with it. It’s much funnier and rewarding when somebody responds to something a little bit obscure- something that you grew up listening to. And, chances are, they probably remember it too, well, at least enough to take the piss out of you for it. Fewer people respond, sure, but that’s the beauty of Badoo, when you find someone who ‘gets you’, the chat ensues.

All in all, love song lyrics are sublime icebreakers: there is a reason why NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL LOVE is still managing to chart today in 2016. So never say ‘Hello’ to start a conversation again. Unless you’re quoting Lionel Richie, of course.