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Many songs make liberal use of metaphor in the lyrics, but rarely is a song title a direct metaphor, which is the case here. Sweet eschews subtlety as they make the case that love, much like oxygen, must be constantly regulated.
One of Sweet's more serene song titles, this was Sweet's last US, UK and German Top 10 hit, as the group left the Glam Rock scene for the more plush atmosphere of Pop-driven music. (thanks, Chase - Pasadena, CA)
Sweet guitarist Andy Scott wrote this and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for the composition. It lost to "Baker Street
" by Gerry Rafferty.
Level Headed was Sweet's first album for their new label Polydor, in which like ELO they found themselves experimenting with mixing Rock and Classical sounds.
In 2002, Andy Scott told the Slovakian Box Network: "We had finished with our first record company and had begun on a project for another. At that time the era of the Sex Pistols had started, and how people thought of music reached new dimensions. No one knew what was coming next. We were already a part rock, part metal band. Therefore in the area which was most touched by the changes. That is when I wrote the song 'Love is Like Oxygen,' and then the idea came along to compose it in a style which at that time was totally new, yet one that suited us. I think it worked out well. Of course the people didn't accept it so easily. I consider Level Headed to be a good album, it sold around the world."
The 1975 Hall & Oates' song "Grounds for Separation" contains similar lyrics: "But isn't it a bit like oxygen, 'cause too much will make you high, but not enough will make you die." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 4)
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