Return to the 80s Music: Love Stinks by The J. Geils Band

Hey Everybody, welcome back to Return to the 80s Music! As I mentioned previously, I will go through chronologically and cover as many 80s albums as I can. We’ll hear some classics, some hidden gems that not everybody may be familiar with, and maybe some nobody has heard of, which can be a great discovery, or something that will make you say What the HELL was that?!?!

I hope this is good and you all enjoy it. I hope we make some rad discoveries, and I know there will be songs that will bring us back to some great times! In either case, it is always awesome to Return to the 80s!

You can click on the song title to check out the YouTube video of the song. I’ll also include the Spotify playlist at the bottom of each article, if the album is on Spotify.

Today’s album is Love Stinks by The J. Geils Band. This was the band’s ninth studio album. Throughout the 70s, they were leaning towards an R&B/Bluesy sound with songs such as “Lookin’ For a New Love,” “Give it to Me,” and the hit “Must Have Got Lost“. By the late 70s/early 80s, they were hitting their peak success.

While the best was yet to come, Love Stinks hit some mainstream success.

The album was released on January 28, 1980 from EMI Records, and was produced by Seth Justman.

The band members on this album are:

Peter Wolf – lead vocals
J. Geils – guitar
Magic Dick – harmonica
Seth Justman – keyboards, backing vocals
Danny Klein – bass
Stephen Bladd – drums

Now let’s take a listen to the album.

Side one

1. “Just Can’t Wait

We kick things off with a fun rocker. This joins the long list of songs where Daddy doesn’t approve of the rebel boy who wants to “date” his daughter. 

2. “Come Back

Another great rocker! This was the first single released from the album, and peaked at #32 on the U.S. charts and peaked at #19 for two weeks in Canada. Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh praised “Come Back” as a “full-scale showcase” for the band, claiming that it came “very close to the topnotch hard rock Geils has always threatened to make and too rarely delivered.” It really is a great showcase. Each instrument does get featured. I don’t ever remember this song. That’s unfortunate as it’s about as good as any of the major hits they had. Perhaps it was too hard for pop radio, but not hard enough for rock radio.

3. “Takin’ You Down

This is a serviceable rock song. It has a good beat to it and the guitar is great. But it does get a bit repetitive, especially towards the end.  

4. “Night Time

Oooooh, I like this one! I love the way it starts with the piano and drums. And this is a lot of fun. It has that “Land of a Thousand Dances” vibe. I could dance to this. This must have been a big hit live.

This is a cover of The Strangeloves 1965 hit that reached #30. The J. Geils Band made a great choice in covering this one. It is a perfect fit.

5. “No Anchovies, Please

This is the strangest “song” of the year so far. I had only heard of this before because somebody had mentioned it to me on Twitter years ago. It is Peter Wolfe talking, telling a strange story. It feels like a noir movie if you are on acid.

Side two

6. “Love Stinks

This is the one most of us know. As popular as this title track is, it only peaked at #38 in the U.S. The song was also memorably featured in the Adam Sandler movie, The Wedding Singer

The lyrics may have been inspired by J. Geils Band lead singer Peter Wolf’s marriage to actress Faye Dunaway, which ended in a 1979 divorce.

7. “Tryin’ Not to Think About It

Oh man, this song started out so promising. The first minute was flat-out rock ‘n’ roll. Then it levelled out and they lost me as it just turned into a safe mediocre song. 

8. “Desire (Please Don’t Turn Away)

We slow things down a bit here. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels like this song should be better than it is. This would probably sound better by a late ’80s hair band.

9. “Till the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down

We close out the album with a bluesy diddy. This feels like it is more in their wheelhouse at the time. I could see this bringing the house down in The House of Blues. Great way to end the album!

Hidden Gems: There were a few on here for me. I’m not sure if “Come Back” would be considered a hidden gem since it charted higher than the title track. But, I didn’t remember it, so I’ll include that one, “Night Time,” and “Till the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down”.

Here is my ratings scale

5 Classic – a must buy

4 Solid album – worth buying

3 Some good or great stuff, but also skippable songs

2 Meh – may have 2 or 3 good songs. Just buy the singles you like, if any

1 Sucks. Time I can’t get back

While I wasn’t blown away by this album, it didn’t stink either. I’ll give it a solid 3. There are some great songs here, but there were some mediocre ones that preventing it from bringing it up a level. You can tell that they are leading up to something great though.

What are your thoughts on the album. Any J. Geils fans here? Has anybody seen the band live. I bet they were great.

I’d love to hear from you!

Feel free to comment below, or connect with me on TwitterInstagram, and/or Facebook. Or you can even email me directly at

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