[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]
There are reasons people love Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath. He's good looking, he's charming, and he's written some very catchy pop songs. Those are, coincidentally, the same reasons some people hate him. One of his band's catchy songs in particular has drawn more than its share of ire — “Every Morning.”
In 1999 “Every Morning” seemed to play every hour on the hour. A backlash followed; Buzzfeed named it one of its 20 worst songs of the '90s. Even “Worst Songs” lists that omit it are full of “where's 'Every Morning?'” comments. But you know what? All of those people are full of it.
See, “Every Morning” is more than a happy little earworm. It's actually one of the most subtly painful explorations of a deceptive relationship ever written. Let us explain.
Every morning there's a halo hangin' from the corner of my girlfriend's four-post bed
I know it's not mine, but I'll see if I can use it for the weekend or a one-night stand
Here, the halo hanging off the side of the bed implies that she's taken some time off from being angelic. It's also a (somewhat) tasteful euphemism for a condom the protagonist finds on his girlfriend's bed, which he speculates about employing for an affair of his own. That's maybe sort of a gross image, but it slowly reveals an uncomfortable truth.
Something's got me reelin'
Stopped me from believin'
Turn me around again …
You know I want to do it again
Understandably, finding a used condom in your girlfriend's bed is a bummer. But this is clearly not the first time this has happened. Lines like these and “once again, as predicted” implies this is a regular thing.
Our protagonist, however, loves this girl so much that he'll continue to buy her excuses. She effectively “turns [him] around again.”
I know she thinks she loves me but I never can believe what she says
This is not claiming that she accidentally cheated and feels bad; this is some serious doubt, fitting for a deceptively-upbeat song.
The song closes with “shut the door baby, don't say a word,” which speaks of our hero being manipulated with sex; there's no way he can call her out on her unfaithfulness at this point. Quite a boldly-sad ending for an allegedly happy song.
There's something quite subversive about all of this. “Every Morning” concerns an emotionally abusive relationship and a used condom. It was played on the radio station your parents listened to while driving to work every day.
If you ask us, this is more vulgar than “awww skeet-skeet.” But that's part of why we like it. At its core, it's a statement about why we are so apt to ignore philandering in our society. Pretty deep, Mark. Pretty deep.