A hybrid of frothy pop love song and deep funk, "Genius of Love" mixed heavy handclaps and high female vocals with a bit of rap, as well as whimsical lyrics that namechecked greats like Bootsy Collins and Bob Marley. Speaking in Rip It Up! Rock & Roll Rulebreakers, Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison tagged it as "one of the most sampled songs of all time, besides [James Brown's] 'Funky Drummer.'" Added Chris Frantz in the same book, "'Genius of Love' was highly influenced by the band Zapp. 'More Bounce to the Ounce,' to be specific."