Steven Universe is a series with eleven-minute episodes so it doesn’t exactly have time for a full-length credits sequence. It does have time for about ten seconds worth of credits, though. In most episodes we get snippets of a song titled “Love Like You.” At first only an instrumental version was played but over the show’s run it was slowly expanded on. Variations of the instrumental were used and then lyrics were added.
With only about ten seconds the whole song was never played in one go, although fans did their best to edit the song together. Finally the whole song was officially pieced together on the Steven Universe soundtrack.
While the song sounds seamless now, the lyrics were written over three years by Rebecca Sugar (who also does vocals).
“We wrote it in pieces,” says Sugar, “It started as a song from the point of view of, sort of, all Gems and just sort of a thesis of the entire show towards Steven but also kind of made towards my own brother.”
Reading the song’s opening lyrics what Sugar says totally makes sense and can be interpreted in those multiple ways.
If I could begin to beHalf of what you think of meI could do about anythingI could even learn how to love like you
When I see the way you actWondering when I’m coming backI could do about anythingI could even learn how to love like you
Love like you
“When I started it I thought “oh, this is about an alien that’s looking at a human being who loves them, and the sort of secret meaning of this is they don’t have the capacity to feel this way because they’re an alien.”
As Steven Universe went on however, the storyline of the series evolved and the Gems began to demonstrate more love towards each other and Steven. The song however began to take on a more bleak tone.
I always thought I might be badNow I’m sure that it’s true‘Cause I think you’re so goodAnd I’m nothing like you.
Look at you goI just adore youI wish that I knewWhat makes you think I’m so special?
Sugar says that by the time she was writing that portion of the song she was deep into the show and was, “going through a real crisis of confidence. That (part of the song) was coming from a different place, from a very real place where I was just like, ‘why are people looking to me. It’s not right.’”
Fans and others were coming out of the woodwork to thank Sugar for the show.
“People had been able to speak to their families in these wonderful new ways, people who had become comfortable in themselves in these incredible ways that I hadn’t been able to do, where I was just like, ‘I’m so inspired by everyone, why are they thanking me?’”
A year later, as Sugar finished the song she had an epiphany about what she’d already written.
“The beginning was not what I had thought it was about at all. It’s not a silly, secret meaning about an alien that doesn’t understand humans. It’s about, the fact that I had always loved my brother and had these people who would love me unconditionally in my life and because of my own insecurity I was never able to be there 100% for them.”
Reread the ending lyrics of the song and that meaning becomes abundantly clear.
If I could begin to doSomething that does right by youI would do about anythingI would even learn how to love
When I see the way you lookShaken by how long it tookI could do about anythingI could even learn how to love like you
Love like youLove me like you
Sugar was stunned that the song, “is actually maybe one of the most human things I’d ever written and I had written it by accident.”
While “Love Like You” can still be freely interpreted to be about any of the Steven Universe characters, learning about its roots in Rebecca Sugar’s own life just makes it all the more special.