17 Supposedly Romantic Songs That Are Actually Highly Disconcerting
Happy almost Valentine’s Day! If you have plans that involve actual romance, you may be considering whipping up a V-Day playlist. Unfortunately, not all romantic songs are created equal–and some, quite frankly, are pretty damned creepy.
Thus, to help you avoid any pitfalls, I’ve compiled a list of supposedly romantic songs that are, in fact, actually terrifying. Other than “Every Breath You Take,” which, duh, we all know is a nightmare. This is, of course, not a comprehensive list, so feel free to suggest other garbage love songs in the comments.
1. Clay Aiken– Invisible
This song is an actual nightmare. “If I was invisible/I could just watch you in your room”–NO THANKS, CLAY AIKEN. Last thing I need is some Keebler Elf hanging out in my closet spying on me while I fold my laundry or whatever. That is not a romantic proposition of any kind! I don’t want that! NO ONE WANTS THAT. You don’t even want that, because people are both boring and gross when they are alone and they think no one is watching.
2. Neil Sedaka– Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen
Somewhere around 90% of songs in the 1950s were about being 16, women being 16, etc. etc. (not an actual statistic), but for some reason, this one is particularly squeamish. There is something deeply unsettling about Neil Sedaka–who looks about 40 years old despite probably having been about 25 when this song was recorded–swooshing around singing “Tonight’s the night/I’ve waited for/because you’re not a baby anymore” about his neighbor turning “sweet sixteen.” HARD PASS, HUMBERT HUMBERT.
Bonus Sedaka Track: “Oh Carol,” the song he wrote for ex-girlfriend Carole King–the thoroughly unimpressed looks from the female audience members in this video are just the best thing ever, as is Carole King’s gloriously snarky response song, “Oh Neil.”
3. Paul Anka–“You’re Having My Baby”
This song is so abhorrent that it literally has the power to induce sudden vaginismus in any woman who hears it. True story! One listen to the chorus and your shit will be closed for business for at least a week. Aside from screaming, it’s the only proper response to lyrics like “The need inside you/I see it showin’/Whoa, the seed inside ya, baby, do you feel it growin’?” SHUDDER. Please never, ever use the word “seed” in a romantic context, ok?
Paul Anka was also responsible for the eye roll/vomit-inducing song “Puppy Love“–which I think means he might be a pretty good contender for antichrist.
4. Cat Stevens– “Lady D’Arbanville”
I love Cat Stevens. Deeply. All time top five, forever. But he wrote this song about his girlfriend Patti D’Arbanville being dead, WHEN SHE WAS NOT ACTUALLY DEAD. She’d just gone to New York for a month to do some work stuff. So he wrote a song about her being dead, with the lyrics “My Lady d’Arbanville, why do you sleep so still?/I’ll wake you tomorrow/and you will be my fill, yes, you will be my fill.” It’s a little much.
5. Weezer–“Across The Sea”
As good of an album as Pinkerton is, it fills me with a rage that is pretty much entirely incomprehensible to anyone who is not weirdly into opera. Why? Because the album is about Rivers Cuomo identifying with Lt. Pinkerton from Madama Butterfly–arguably the most evil character OF ALL TIME. Long story short, dude goes to Japan, marries a 14-year-old geisha who is super in love with him, impregnates her, leaves saying he’s coming back soon, and then comes back years later with his fancy new American wife…AND TAKES HER BABY. I hate him. I HATE HIM SO MUCH.
Anyway, this song is about how much Rivers Cuomo, then a 26-year-old man, obsessing over a barely legal girl in Japan, and what she wears to school each day and how she touches herself. HUH.
6. Taylor Swift- “You Belong With Me”
I find most Taylor Swift songs terrifying in general, but as a woman I find this one particularly misogynistic and creepy. Basically it’s about her being better than some dude’s girlfriend because she wears short-shorts while T-Swift wears t-shirts or something. It’s like a NiceGuy™ jam, but for ladies. If I were this dude’s girlfriend I would probably be concerned about her going full Glenn Close on me.
7. Skeeter Davis– “I Can’t Stay Mad At You”
What the fuck, Skeeter Davis. THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. If a dude is lying to you and running around on you, and breaking your heart on the regular, not only do you need to stay mad at him, you need to walk away and never go back. He is a bad person! This is a disconcerting song! I mean, just the bridge here: “I got mad at you last night/when you were holding another girl tight/but when I thought about all of your charms/I bounced right back into your arms!” And it’s so perky! Like this dude isn’t a garbage human being! What the hell?
8. Color Me Badd– “I Wanna Sex You Up”
I think we can all collectively agree that we do not want Color Me Badd to “sex us up” or to make love with any of them “until we drown.” I mean, what would that even entail? It doesn’t sound good.
9. Billie Holiday- “My Man”
If you listen to this song without the intro, it’s a great love song. If you listen to it with the intro…NOT OK. I used to skip over this song when I was a kid (which was tough because it was a record and I wasn’t exactly tall enough to reach to see where the lines were), because I seriously couldn’t handle the line “He isn’t true/He beats me too/What can I do?” I was furious at the idea of anyone beating Billie Holiday, and even more upset that she would sing a love song about someone who would beat her. I still don’t feel entirely comfortable listening to it, to be honest.
10. Billy Ocean–“Get Out Of My Dreams (Get Into My Car)”
That doesn’t seem safe, Billy Ocean. I don’t even know you. I don’t get into cars with strangers, ok? Especially not the back. This whole song is basically an ode to street harassment, and as much as I love Billy Ocean… if any dude told me to get into his car, and then said he’d be coming after me like a roadrunner, I would be scared. I would not want him to be my non-stop lover.
11. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney–“The Girl Is Mine”
First of all–what woman on earth would Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney be fighting over? Linda McCartney? That doesn’t seem right. I just can’t imagine a realistic scenario in which this argument would be taking place. Second–I’m not really sure any woman wants to be called “the doggone girl,” and most of us would prefer to make our own decisions as to what musical legend we would like to date.
12. Peggy March– “I Will Follow Him”
This song is kind of disturbing on two levels. For one–come on, Peggy March! Be your own woman! You don’t have to follow a dude wherever he may go in order to have him like you! If anything, he should be following you! For another–it’s definitely a little stalker-ish. Peggy’s a clinger for sure.
13. Gary Puckett And The Union Gap–“Young Girl”
Yes, Gary Puckett. Your love for a young girl is definitely way out of line! Way, way out of line. Instead of writing a creepy ass song, maybe you should be getting some help. Also, FYI, it is not the young girl’s job to “run”–it is your job, Gary Puckett, to not be a predator.
14. Rolling Stones–“Brown Sugar”
Uh, this is a song about whipping and raping black female slaves. What the actual hell? Who thought that was OK? How? Why? I have no words!
15. Marilyn Monroe–“My Heart Belongs To Daddy”
You know what’s not sexy? Incest! Or even vaguely implying incest! Which I kind of feel like this song does! Generally speaking, no one should ever sing a sexy song, in a sexy voice, that invokes their parents at all, for any reason. This could totally be the theme song for all those creepy-ass purity balls.
16. Jordan Knight– Give It To You
“Hi! I’m Jordan Knight from the New Kids On The Block! Here is a song with some circus music and lyrics about how I want to ‘hold you down in my bed’ and how ‘I can’t wait to taste you there. Nothing disconcerting about that! Nothing at all! Certainly doesn’t feel weird in light of the fact that my face was on your wall when you were eight years old!”
17. Rick Springfield–“Jessie’s Girl”
Rick Springfield and Taylor Swift should get together and go bowling. Seriously. While sure, we can all appreciate a song about not being able to be with someone you love, and sure, it’s complicated to be in love with someone your friend is dating, dude takes it a little too far, IMHO. I mean:
“And she’s watching him with those eyes
And she’s lovin’ him with that body, I just know it!
And he’s holding her in his arms late, late at night”
Yeah, she is, weirdo. Because she’s dating him. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t be, or why you should not fully expect her to be “lovin’ him with that body.” That’s not a weird thing to do when you are dating someone. Calm down, Rick Springfield, calm down.
For more tips, please see the list of 11 Supposedly Romantic/Sexy Things That Are Actually Terrible I wrote for last year’s Valentine’s Day.