‘it must have been love’ is a christmas song?

earlier this christmas season i was confused when i heard it must have been love by roxette on a channel that was playing all christmas music. did somebody make a mistake? a song about falling in love with a prostitute on a christmas channel? by changing just one word–>it’s a cold winter day to it’s a cold christmas day, a music publisher found a way to make even more money from a song that is already forever connected to the movie pretty woman. what a trashy (questionable ethically), commercial trick!
 marie fredriksson from the it must have been love (christmas for the broken hearted) video
marie fredriksson, vocalist for roxette, passed away earlier this month. rip

but after a few quick searches, i realized that it was actually a trashy, commercial trick that happened in the 1980s. the christmas version was first! according to wikipedia, emi germany asked roxette to “come up with an intelligent christmas single.”‘ come up with means create, produce.

it must have been love (christmas for the broken hearted) was released in roxette‘s native sweden as a christmas song in december 1987 and was a big hit nationally.

the word christmas was removed to make the song a better fit (match) on the soundtrack for pretty woman, the story of a prostitute who falls in love with a wealthy (rich) client. taking a closer look at the lyrics,  it must have been love doesn’t exactly come across as (give the impression of) an obvious christmas cut, but there are actually a couple of references to winter and a cold climate.

not a dress to wear on a cold winter/christmas day. unless you’re a prostitute

pretty woman by contrast, was set (where it happened) in los angeles, a warm city where there isn’t even a real winter. but this video has nearly half a billion views on youtube, so obviously fans continue to feel its sentiment 30 years later in spite of (regardless) the inconsistencies related to weather.

coincidentally, christmas is the best time of the year to understand the usage of the modal auxiliary verb must in the past, i.e. the third conditional. the christmas songs frosty the snowman and santa looked a lot like daddy both have excellent examples. and now we can add it must have been love (christmas for the broken hearted) to the list.

must in the past is used to show a strong probability or the best explanation. must in the present can also indicate an obligation, but must in the past is NOT an obligation. it must have been love is about a break-up. there is some doubt about the feelings at the end of the relationship, but the conclusion is that it was love. and that it was probably good. in fact, another lyric from the chorus of the song says it must have been good.

julia roberts in pretty woman

it must have been love. yeah right. or it might have been all the cool presents he bought me 

some other interesting vocabulary in the lyrics…

**the second line of the song (:35 in the official video) says, leave the winter on the ground (the surface of the earth). is the idea that the cold winter should stay on the ground and not be part of the relationship described in the song? maybe. or it might be that winter is the preferred season of this swedish pop duo and they want snow to stay on the ground longer.  it’s not clear🤷🏽‍♀️


another possibility: hey! leave the snow on the ground, elf 😠

**wake up appears in the next line, at :41.  it’s probably the first phrasal verb u ever learned. it means stop sleeping, get up. 

**dream away is a much less common phrasal verb that means she is constantly daydreaming  (thinking, fantasizing) about her ex. listen for it at the end of the first and second verses (1:00, 2:00)

**the second verse starts with the line make believing we’re together (1:34). make believe means pretend.

kids make believing they are astronauts

theses kids are making believe that they are astronauts (khaleej-times.com)

**the chorus uses past perfect to describe the duration of the love: from the moment we touched till the time had run out; run out means diminish to zero, expire.

**and the last line of the song is it’s where the wind blows. blow is the most common way to describe the action of the wind in english. the last line of queen‘s most famous song bohemian rhapsody contains another example: any way the wind blows.

freddie mercury on the mic

queen vocalist freddie mercury: any way the wind blows (efe/bio)

did u know it must have been love is  a christmas song? is it a good song to listen to during the holidays? share your feelings under leave a reply


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