Direct Hits: Dream, “He Loves U Not”

Direct Hits is a series where we talk about weird songs that no one remembers but, for whatever reason, hit you directly in the feels whenever you hear them.

I heard a clip of the song “He Loves U Not” recently on the podcast Internet Explorer (er, that is, “Buzzfeed’s Internet Explorer”). The song itself wasn’t the subject of the episode; another cut from the same album, little-remembered, is one of the many 2000s-era album tracks from B-list artists that are currently being released on iTunes under another artist’s name in a super weird catfishing scam.

Of course, most people probably don’t remember “He Loves U Not” either. Dream was one of those manufactured pop groups from the Spice Girls/N*SYNC era that shot for those groups’ moon and landed, somewhat briefly, among the stars before slowly descending back to earthly obscurity. I wouldn’t have necessarily remembered them either if someone had simply asked me, “Hey, remember that girl group Dream?”

But that’s not what happened. Instead, a clip of “He Loves U Not” unexpectedly traveled from my podcast app, through my earbuds, directly into my head, and I remembered. Oh, did I remember.

Well, sort of.

“He Loves U Not” was, according to Wikipedia, released in September 2000. That school year, my freshman one, was a rough time for me. It felt as though I was encountering failure and rejection at every turn: I didn’t get into the glee club or the musical I auditioned for; my youth group’s director didn’t pick me as an officer; I struggled in several classes for the first time in my life (damn you, geometry); and then, of course, there was the guy I liked who didn’t like me back. Because that is what has happened to literally every high school freshman since being a high school freshman was a thing.

The girl he did like, though, was onto my teen garbage-person ways, which included continually trying to involve this guy in conversations, inside jokes, and activities that purposely and purposefully did not include her. Spoiler: this did not work! And made me look terrible to everyone around me in the process! Teen girls: if you love him, let him go. He probably doesn’t love you back, due not to any fault of your own but rather to the laws of probability, and that is fine.

I don’t entirely recall the event that links this song – an anthem for girls with boyfriends whom other girls dare to want – to my actions at that time. Maybe it was at lunch one day, or during a football game, or some other circumstance in which the lucky girl and I were in close proximity but not exactly talking to one another. I just have a vague memory of the girl either listening to or mentioning this song while looking straight at me, sending a dagger into my evil, jealous heart. She knew. And I did too.

And when I heard it again the other day, I felt just as ashamed as I did then. Sorry I was trying to steal your dude, Lucky Girl. You were right. He loved u, he loved me not.

Steph Barnard

Steph Barnard