“Wives and Lovers” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David

Burt Bacharach was one of the finest pop tunesmiths of his generation, but he always had trouble finding lyricists worthy of his talents. Hal David is generally considered his greatest collaborator, but only by default, as David’s frequently hamfisted lyrics often hampered Bacharach’s wonderful tunes. This song’s melody is terrific, and it was wildly popular in its day (no less a talent than the great Ella Fitzgerald recorded it—twice!), but its take on gender relations has aged so horribly that today, one would hardly dare to play it in public. There was no shortage of sexist popular songs in the Sixties, but this one ranks just short of Phil Spector’s “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)” in terms of offensiveness.

Verdict: Bad

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