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Author Topic: Songs that are creepy/disturbing but are overlooked because they are catchy, etc  (Read 2392 times)

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Offline StarcryTopic starter

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Trigger warning: This thread will talk about rape, murder, suicide and other various subjects that some individuals may find upsetting. If you are sensitive to such subjects then proceed with caution or leave the thread. You have been warned.




This thread is inspired by a thread on reddit that my SO was reading off to me last night and I figured it would be worth discussing on here too.

Which songs are creepy/disturbing in nature but overlooked because they are cheerful, catchy or because people just don't look into the meaning or pay attention to the lyrics?

I'll start off by pointing out a recent big hit:



Catchy and cheerful in nature but the lyrics are far far sinister in nature:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
All the girls on the block knocking at my door
Wanna know what it is make the boys want more

Is your lover playing on your side?
Said he loves you
But he ain't got time
Here's the answer
Come and get it
At a knocked down price

Hey

Full of honey
Just to make him sweet
Crystal balling
Just to help him see
What he's been missing
So come and get it
While you've still got time

Hey

Get your boy on his knees
And repeat after me, say

Take a sip of my secret potion
I'll make you fall in love
For a spell that can't be broken
One drop should be enough
Boy, you belong to me
I got the recipe
And it's called black magic
(And it's called black magic)

Take a sip of my secret potion
One taste and you'll be mine
It's a spell that can't be broken
It'll keep you up all night
Boy, you belong to me
I got the recipe
And it's called black magic
(And it's called black magic)

If you're lookin' for Mister Right
Need that magic
To change him over night
Here's the answer
Come and get it
While you've still got time

Get your boy on his knees
And repeat after me, say

Take a sip of my secret potion
I'll make you fall in love
For a spell that can't be broken
One drop should be enough
Boy, you belong to me
I got the recipe
And it's called black magic
(And it's called black magic)

Take a sip of my secret potion
One taste and you'll be mine
It's a spell that can't be broken
It'll keep you up all night
Boy, you belong to me
I got the recipe
And it's called black magic
(And it's called black magic)

All the girls on the block knockin' at my door
(I got the recipe)
Wanna know what it is make the boys want more
(Now you belong to me)

All the girls on the block knockin' at my door
(I got the recipe)
Wanna know what it is make the boys want more
(Now you belong to me)

Take a sip from my secret potion
I'll make you fall in love
For a spell that can't be broken
One drop should be enough
Boy, you belong to me (hey)
I got the recipe
And it's called, and it's called, and it's called black magic

Take a sip of my secret potion
One taste and you'll be mine
It's a spell that can't be broken
It'll keep you up all night
Boy, you belong to me
I got the recipe
And it's called black magic
(And it's called black magic)

Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)
Falling in love (hey)

Magic


While the band members claim it is about gaining confidence to go after that guy you like (which could be true...) it is pretty much clear that is about date rape.

Offline Avis habilis

Well, the obvious one is "Every Breath You Take", which even Sting has said is about a stalker obsessed with someone who wants nothing to do with him, yet ends up getting played at every single damn wedding reception.

Offline StarcryTopic starter

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I noticed that as well. I remember him also saying he wrote it when he and his wife were going through a divorce.

Offline Inkidu

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I find a lot of Adele's songs passive-aggressive and creepy. "Hello" comes to mind.

Offline StarcryTopic starter

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I would say Taylor Swift is a worse offender than her but I see where you are coming from.

Offline Valerian

There was controversy recently over the song "Pumped Up Kicks" by a group called Foster the People.  Light, catchy, upbeat music, paired with words like these:

Lyrics
Robert's got a quick hand.
He'll look around the room,
he wont tell you his plan.
He's got a rolled cigarette
hanging out his mouth.
He's a cowboy kid.

Yeah! He found a six-shooter gun
in his dad's closet, with the box of fun things.
I don't even know what,
but he's coming for you. Yeah, He's coming for you!

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,
You better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,
You better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

Daddy works a long day.
He be coming home late, and he's coming home late.
And he's bringing me a surprise.
'cause dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed in ice

I've waited for a long time.
Yeah the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger.
I reason with my cigarette,
Then say, "Your hair's on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah?"

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,
You better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks,
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.


The song caused an uproar because of the way it glamorizes school shootings, though a quick search didn't turn up any statement from the group beyond the songwriter saying that he wrote it because he was concerned over school shootings and was trying to get into the head of a fictional perpetrator.

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There are a few I can think of that are a bit creepy, but I can't remember their names. This one is more overtly creepy (but an odd mix of romantic and creepy):


Offline Inkidu

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Owl City basically runs on this. Upbeat music to creepy lyrics. XD

Offline Nicholas

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This is a favourite. I even use this song as inspiration for a character of mine.


Offline Oniya

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Do they have to be popular, or would you count happy, bouncy songs about death by a prolific, big-stage songwriter?  I give you Glen Burtnik, the man responsible for 'Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough'.

Glen joined the Styx lineup and did lead vocals and guitar for this song.  This is his solo version because it sounded better than the concert footage.[trigger warning, suicide]



He often plays with a group of artists in Jersey - sort of a 'pickup band'.    Sound quality on this one isn't the greatest (club recording) but it was the only version I could find on the Tubes of You.



The 'bridge'
Some say it was the booze
Some say it was the drugs
Some say it was a pimp to blame
Some say that it was love

I say sometimes the devil
Cannot be stopped
And although the girl was beautiful
The end was not

He's also done a number of solo albums. These two are from his solo 'Palookaville'


(This one got some traction with Randy Travis - while not as dark as the others, the implications of the last verse are a little suggestive)


(Not sure of the method, but Johnny's homecoming isn't all that you'd expect.)

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Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind.  Infectiously peppy, but about the descent into addiction to meth.

Offline gaggedLouise

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"Down Down" by Status Quo was a massive hit for them and one of their signature songs, but the lyrics seem to be about a vengeful bastard slamming his faithless or independent-minded girlfriend and promising to take her down, in body and in spirit: "I can see you're laughing, and you're laughing at me/ I can take it all from you (---) again again again again again again again /Deeper and down, get down, deeper and down..."- I think the band were quite aware of the rough lyrics, they work quite fine as an ironic put-down of the brutal role character and some other of their songs are remarakably nuanced about macho attitudes, about growing up. But I doubt most of their fans noticed how nasty the guy in the song is.




"Bad Bad Boy" with Scots hard rockers Nazareth would be from around the same time, and it tells of a really mean guy, but the song is so cheeky about the rambling adventures of this playboy that you can't help smiling. Brilliant vocal delivery by Dan McCafferty with lines like:

Well I made my first kill
With the old town girl
She was the apple of her daddy's eye
Well that woman looked up at me
And I said honey we'll be
Together 'till the day I die -
BUT I LIED!
I'm a bad, bad, boy
and I'm gonna steal your love...

and a funky series of rises in key towards the end of the track as he sirens out "I'm a bad, bad.bad... (12 times!) boy" again and again. Outstanding bass hook too. The lyrics are super naughty but not that serious - the opposite of "Down Down". :D






Offline StarcryTopic starter

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Sorry I didn't clarify:

It doesn't matter if the song is popular or not. If the song exists then feel free to post it up.

Loving these submissions so far.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan would belong here, except no one can say it's got an upbeat atmosphere. Broody, troubling, enigmatic lyrics and a droning tune - I love both Cohen's own take and that of Jennifer Warnes (she actually did it first, having been gifted the song by Cohen).

Offline Oniya

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This is one that I've only recently realized how creepy it is [trigger - attempted suicide?]:



At first it sounds like a slightly nostalgic ballad, until you realize how 'Sandra's' troubles are kind of hand-waved and rationalized, and you wonder if it was really 'quite by mistake.'

Offline gaggedLouise

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The Day Before You Came was the last song ABBA recorded before they parted ways in 1982, and their next-to-last single. Agnetha is going through a detailed list of recollections of what she did, or what she thinks she must have done, most of it everyday stuff, on the random day "before you came". What happened the next day is never stated: did the girl in the song meet the love of her life or was something disastrous about to happen? The song comes out both wistful and dark, perhaps mournful, adding to the mystery.


Offline Beorning

Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan would belong here, except no one can say it's got an upbeat atmosphere. Broody, troubling, enigmatic lyrics and a droning tune - I love both Cohen's own take and that of Jennifer Warnes (she actually did it first, having been gifted the song by Cohen).

What do you think this song is about, Louise? It has puzzled me for years...

Back here, the biggest offender is I Don't Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats. It's a song that it's quite often cited by people who don't feel happy about going to work on Mondays - meanwhile, it's actually a song about a Sand Diego school shooting. The explanation is that many people here just don't bother to look up the lyrics and focus on the title.  ::)

Offline RedRose

Warning: French language ;=)

The one that immediately came to mind is about the singer's friend who just died.


That one about a real boat lost at sea


Many songs from Mylène Farmer are really creepy but catchy. This one about the Holocaust...



Offline StarcryTopic starter

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This one is basically about two countries mistaking red balloons as bombs and them almost starting a war over it.

« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 02:59:38 PM by Starcry »

Offline Oniya

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This one is basically about two countries mistaking red balloons as bombs and them basically almost starting a war over it.



Almost?

Neunundneunzig Jahre Kreig
Liessen keinen Platz für Zieger
Kriegsministers gibt's nicht mehr
Und auch keine Dusenflieger

Heute zieht ich meine Runden
Seh' die Welt in Trümmern liegen
Hab 'nen Luftballoon gefunden
Denk' an dich und lass' ihn fliegen.

Translation:
Ninety nine years of war
Leaves no room for victors
War ministers are no more
And also no jet fighters

Today I look at my surroundings
See the world lying in ruins
I have found a balloon
Think about you, and let it fly.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 03:26:03 PM by Oniya »

Offline StarcryTopic starter

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Whoops. It has been a while since I looked up the lyrics and I wasn't sure if they did or didn't. >.< (That and my SO corrected me as I was about to post it! -strangles him-)

Offline Oniya

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Whoops. It has been a while since I looked up the lyrics and I wasn't sure if they did or didn't. >.< (That and my SO corrected me as I was about to post it! -strangles him-)

It's okay - This one is sort of emblazoned in my brain after my German teacher in college had us translate it to see how different it was from the English version.  Literally typed that from memory.  (Actually kind of embarrassed that I didn't think of posting it myself.  XD)

And since I'm on an 80's kick apparently, this song about drug addiction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvdLovAaYzM (linked because of children in video)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 03:52:38 PM by Oniya »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Catchy but disturbing song about a fragile girl who has hooked up with a dangerous (and some years older?) psychopath and taken to the road with him. I remember hearing this on the radio in the mid-90s, a great song and cool, effective production. The singer Louise Reny is doing a great job of conveying the danger and self-destructiveness of the bond between them.


Offline Oniya

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Lordy - I'm on a roll.  Trigger warning - child abuse.  Linked for kids.

Suzanne Vega - Luka

Offline gaggedLouise

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What do you think this song is about, Louise? It has puzzled me for years...

There are a few different stories going on side by side in Cohen's song, I think. Stories of vengeance and breaking free, of social breakdown and apocalypse (like in Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", which borrows some imagery from the prophets of the Old Testament) and perhaps about existing on borrowed time. Some of the lines in that song really seem to relate, presciently, to the breakdown of communist rule in eastern Europe ("You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline" - imagine soldiers facing off with a demonstration by unarmed citizens and no longer feeling able to punch them down) and Cohen released his version just a year before the fall of the Berlin wall, but it was written a few years earlier. Jennifer Warnes' take is from 1986 I think.

Leonard Cohen has a way of being deliberately enigmatic and incomplete in his songs. But the guy is a class act, both as a singer and a lyric poet.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 04:33:47 PM by gaggedLouise »