“Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club

“Genius of Love” is a dance song whose primary purpose does appear to be inspiring the listener to boogie or “have some fun”, as the lyrics themselves don’t seem to particularly have any type of clear direction. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Tom Tom Club's Genius of Love at Lyrics.org.

However, by the time all is said and done, more lyrical focus is put on the vocalist’s boyfriend than anything else. In fact as revealed in the outro, he’s actually the titular “genius of love”. And in line with such a designation, we can say about 50% of the wording is on the singer’s romantic relationship, featuring the singer biggin’ her beau up in one way or another. 

And by the looks of things, she’s longing for his company this weekend after the two of them “took coc**ne” and subsequently “went insane”, as in dude having gone missing or something like that in the aftermath.

Meanwhile Tom Tom Club is a musical act which, by name, most fans of rap/hip-hop music have never heard of. However, their artistry and this track in particular has been employed by the genre more than most other songs. 

One of the reasons for that fact may be because “Genius of Love” is so heavily synthesized, if you will, that at the end of the day the singer doesn’t necessarily sound White. And that assertion is not meant to be any type of racial comment or anything but rather speaks to the fact that this is sort of a techno, non-specific piece race-wise as far as the audio goes.

All in all

But that said, there are also quite a few African-American musicians mentioned therein. In fact by and large, the lyrics of “Genius of Love” can be deemed unintelligible. But one of the easiest parts of the song to hear is where, in what appears to be the bridge, the vocalist forcefully mentions the name “James Brown” four times in a row. 

So it’s like you may not necessarily pick up on what this song is about simply by setting your ear to it, but you will know that it at least in part serves as a tribute to the Godfather of Soul.

But considering that the title, as mentioned, is a reference to the vocalist’s boyfriend, then at the end of the day it would be most fitting to classify this as a love song. But in reality the subject fluctuates, at times serving as a shoutout to the singer’s sweetheart but at others being an ode to certain Black musicians, apparently in regards to their ability to make audiences dance, which again appears to be the primary goal more so than anything else.

Lyrics of "Genius of Love"

Tom Tom Club

Tom Tom Club is a band fronted by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. Both artists are better known as members of a more successful musical act, the Talking Heads. And to note, Frantz and Weymouth got married in 1977.

When did Tom Tom Club release “Genius of Love”?

“Genius of Love” was formally released on 6 September 1981.


It is the biggest hit Tom Tom Club ever came out with. For instance, peaking at number 31, it marks the highest the band has ever reached on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Additionally it topped Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs listing and reached second place on their Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. But even more importantly than being relegated to early-1980s’ fame, the presumption is that “Genius of Love” has not only kept Frantz and Weymouth but also its other co-writers, former Tom Tom Club members Adrian Belew and Steven Stanley, consistently paid throughout the years. 

This is because this track has been one of the most heavily sampled in hip-hop history, most notably during the late 20th century and at that time also being utilized by Mariah Carey on her 1995 hit “Fantasy“.

More Facts about “Genius of Love”

Tina Weymouth, who was actually Talking Heads’ bassist, served as the lead vocalist on “Genius of Love”, with Tom Tom Club being formed due to her and Chris Frantz’s need to make money on the side. 

And accordingly Tina’s two sisters, Laura and Lani, acted as backup vocalists on this track. By the time all was said and done, Tom Tom Club had actually proven more popular in some localities than the Talking Heads itself.

Tom Tom Club updated and re-released this tune in 1999 under the name “Who Feelin’ It”.

The Black musicians mentioned in this song, in order, are as follows:

  • George Clinton
  • Bootsy Collins
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Bob Marley (1945-1981),
  • Sly and Robbie (the latter of whom passed away in 2021)
  • Kurtis Blow
  • Hamilton Bohannon (whose name is mentioned 12 times, 1942-2020)
  • James Brown (1933-2006).

This track is part of Tom Tom Club’s debut album, itself being entitled Tom Tom Club, which is a product of Sire Records and Warner Bros.

Genius of Love

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love = Music, Genius’ are the guys you list above. The song is a description of what it’s like to be a genius front he perspective of the girlfriend.

  2. GB_MaCHine says:

    I heard this song in 81 as a 13 yr old & loved it the first time I heard it. It wasn’t until 2022 that I realized it’s a love song to F U N K ! Bootzy, George, James Brown…!?!! Smokey throws one off a bit but funk is in EVERYTHING musical. This techno synthesized song was so far ahead of its future peers, sure, ok but the beat and tempo screams funk! Look up FUNK compilations/play list and more often than not, you’ll find this song on it! Righteously so! Lastly the lyrics end a full minute & 13 seconds before the song ends to get that last little bit of funkiness trailing off into the sunset.

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