“The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” by Morrissey came up in, of all places, an episode of What Not to Wear that I saw recently. This got me talking with Damien about popular songs that are about stalking people.
Think about it, aren’t some overtly “romantic” songs just shy of being creepy? What makes the fact that Peggy March will follow her man– “follow him wherever he may go”– a romantic gesture and not grounds for a restraining order? Sometimes it seems that in popular music, there is a fine line between expressing one’s love and being a stalker. Look at Lloyd Dobler. Chuck Klosterman points out that every woman of my generation would sell her soul to have a milkshake with John Cusack because of his iconic character in Say Anything. Yet, in reality, wouldn’t most of us call the police on that creep if he were an actual person?
Along those lines, I have constructed a list of the top ten stalker songs in pop music. And most of these are unapologetically stalker songs. They’re not even trying to disguise themselves as romantic.
10. “Escape” by Enrique Iglesias
“You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape my love.”
If this were anything but a stalker song, wouldn’t he have chosen his words differently? If this woman feels the need to “escape” his love, that speaks volumes about the nature of this relationship.
9. “Possession” by Sarah McLachlan
“My body aches to breathe your breath. Your words keep me alive”
Legend has it that the lyrics to this song were taken from letters written by an obsessed fan. When the song came out, this fan felt betrayed and committed suicide.
8. “One Way or Another” by Blondie
“One way or another I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha”
7. “Obsession” by Animotion
“You’re my obsession. Who do you want me to be to make you sleep with me?”
The speaker in this song begins, it appears, with a crush. But as the song progresses, the “obsession” clearly becomes more and more unhealthy. “My fantasy has turned to madness, and all my goodness has turned to badness. My need to possess you has consumed my soul. My life is trembling. I have no control.”
6. “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates
“You can’t escape my private eyes. They’re watching you. They see your every move.”
5. “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx
“Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you.”
This is one of those songs that I’m sure many newly-married couples have danced to, but I just don’t see how it’s very different from “Every Breath You Take” in terms of its creepy factor (a song which will make an appearance soon…).
4. “Hello” by Lionel Richie
“I’ve been alone with you inside my mind, and in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times. I sometimes see you pass outside my door. Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”
One the things that solidifies this song as a stalker anthem is the music video. Do you remember that one? Lionel Richie is following this blind girl through the halls of her university. The twist at the end is that she’s stalking him, too. She makes a sculpture of his face, even though she’s blind.
3. “What Do I Have to Do?” by Stabbing Westward
“What do I have to do to make you happy? What do I have to do to make you understand? What do I have to do to make you want me? And if I can’t make you want me, what do I have to do to forget about you?”
I suppose we should give this creepy dude some points for the fact that he’s willing to concede to the fact that the object of his desire may not ever want him and that he may have to try to forget about her. Maybe.
2. “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” by Morrissey
Have you seen the title for this song? I don’t even need to provide any more lyrics to prove this one as a stalker song. The answer’s in the question.
1. “Every Breath You Take” by the Police
“Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.”
Was there any doubt this would be my number one pick? Sting has said this song was always meant to be sinister and creepy and that he is disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He has so much as insisted that it’s about stalking, surveillance, control, and obsession. Sting: “One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘Well, good luck.’”