“I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends” by Neon Trees

“I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends” is based on the premise of the vocalist apparently being in a romantic relationship with the addressee. And as the title suggests, he’s feeling this individual but not her friends. And it isn’t a simple case of Tyler not just liking their style per se. Instead, there is a very intricate narrative contained herein, and a number of issues he has with the addressee’s associates are identified.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Neon Trees's I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends at Lyrics.org.

For instance, it would seem his sister thinks that he’s “strange”. Also her homeys “never like the music”. And whereas that statement may well be a symbolic one, still it is important to note that the vocalist himself is in fact a musician. And it would further appear, as relayed in the bridge, that these are just nasty, conceited people that he has to contend with. 

Moreover, it is alluded to that they may be trying to eradicate the singer’s romance with the addressee. And along those same lines, his biggest gripe appears to be that they have encouraged her to be untruthful to him.

The Addressee’s Gender

Now it is imperative to point out that the female gender pronouns used throughout this analysis thus far have been done so for the sake of readability. In other words, outside of this person being referred to as “honey” in the second verse, there is no indication that this may be a woman whom the vocalist is singing to. 

And the reason taking that into account is crucial is because, first of all Tyler Glenn is gay. Secondly, it has been put forth that the lyrics are based on a juncture in his personal history when he was still in the closet. 

So it may be that this is a gay romance he is referring to. And if so, that may also explain why some of addressee’s friends are at odds with him, i.e. them being homophobes.

But that conclusion is theoretical. What is more evident via this narrative is that the addressee’s associates are having a negative effect on his or her relationship with the vocalist. Furthermore, it looks as if they are doing so by causing the addressee to look down upon him, or something like that. 

Thesis Sentiment of “I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends”

Either way, the thesis sentiment of this song isn’t really about the singer being at odds with anyone but the person he is directly singing to. That is to say that he wants this individual to know that he really cares for him or her. And accordingly, whether caused by external or internal influences, he is advising said apple of his eye not to take him as a joke.

Lyrics of "I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends"

Neon Trees and “I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends”

Neon Trees is a band from the Utah city of Provo. They put out four LPs between 2010 and 2020, with this track being the second single from 2014’s Pop Psychology, the most successful of those efforts chart wise. But apparently “I Love You (But I Have Your Friends)” itself failed to appear on any of the major music charts.

From mid-2006 ’til now, Neon Trees has consisted of the same four musicians. And they are:

  • lead vocalist Tyler Glenn
  • drummer Elaine Bradley
  • rhythm guitarist Chris Allen
  • bass guitarist Branden Campbell

The music video to this track was directed by the aforementioned Tyler, who also wrote the song. And the producer of the audio is Tim Pagnotta.

I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends

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