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August 2014

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bad girls marlene make my day

i promise i'm not trying to make your life harder

So, I'm reasonably confident that the Police's "Every Breath You Take" is a savvy enough song to know just how deeply sophipathological it is. I'm pretty confident about Blondie's "One Way Or Another." (Still amuses me that the first couple of seasons of Farscape use a modified but identifiable version of the riff in the theme. Because yeah.) 

And I know Sarah McLachlan's "Possession" does, because she wrote it that way on purpose.

I'm willing to give unreliable narrators a lot of benefit of the doubt, and people in art do not exist to be role models.

Dido's "White Flag," on the other hand...

I'm pretty sure this song does not know how fucked up it is. I'm just saying. And I'm pretty sure the object of the song needs a restraining order.



...It is pretty, though.

Comments

You're right - that's really creepy. But people never listen to lyrics, do they?
I DO!
Hunh, I never really paid attention to the lyrics of White Flag. But I see your point, now.
Errrm, YES! I have thought this.
Total creepy stalker song. And yet, you find yourself singing the chorus without even thinking about it.
The lyrics do a brilliant job of playing into romanticism and the ideal of stubbornness.
Not really hearing stalker -- I think the video attempts to portray two people who're still emotionally attached pretending that they're 'moving on' and drifting perhaps too far into what we've been taught through visual media to recognise as signs of dangerous pathological obsession (the wall of photos). The lyrics of the song themselves are either a pretty and surfacy traditional song for the broken-hearted to listen to, while working through being dumped, and/or a debatable statement that an individual has a right to feel what they feel as long as they otherwise obey the current social code. But then I tend to the belief that individuals work through grief better (and faster) when allowed to express it at their own pace rather than in a time-frame and form that is less inconvenient to others. I don't think a person should be peer-pressured into emotional dishonesty.

For another song for the broken-hearted with some emotional honesty see Lily Allen's 'Smile' -- but do a none video/lyric version first (or only) because the official video is... vile.

Edited at 2013-05-18 03:54 am (UTC)
Due South's usage of "Possession" in the episode "Victoria's Secret" ended up all too appropriate to my mind.
The funny thing is, not having seen this video for several years, I always had it in my head as "the girl and the boy are both wandering around wistfully, thinking of each other and their former did-not-end-well relationship"-- as if it were a duet. Which, I guess, would be a creepy stalker duet, now that I'm considering the song in that light.*

It's funny how the videos can affect one's perception of the song and the lyrics (oddly, the other example that comes to mind immediately in terms of "and now I can never hear this song the same way again after seeing that..." is "Call Me Maybe"...).


*or, taking the song on it's own, no visuals, a creepy stalker monologue.
I have had that exact thought -- this is pretty stalkery. This is wicked stalkery.

Sting wrote "If you love somebody" as an apology.

Sting explicitly wrote "If you love somebody" as an apology / counteraction to "Every Breath You Take" (well, according to him during the media circus, anyway)
Sting has also said several times that he's shocked how many people think Every Breath you Take is a love song (And a bit worried/creeped out about the couples who've told him it was their wedding song)
Sting: still smarter than some of his audience, forty years later.

Re: Sting wrote "If you love somebody" as an apology.

That is good to know.
I've always read it as intentionally creepy, and seeing the video, SOMEONE involved with its production thought it is too.

Granted, it's not as clear-cut in Dido's performance, though, as say Sting's. (Who, yes, has gone on record that "Every Breath You Take" is intentionally deeply pathological -- it creeps him out that people use it as a wedding song.)

---L.
It also reinforces the notion that love is forever and eternal, that how you feel will never change and in fact shouldn't, or it wasn't real. That's an idea that results in a lot of eighteen-year-olds getting married...and twenty-two-year-olds getting divorced.
Quoted for truth. Some people get lucky first time; some of us require a little practice. And romantic fallacies make that a lot harder to navigate and more confusing.
I have sometimes considered what my life would be like if I'd married my first boyfriend (From when i was 15) or even my first long-term relationship (High school graduation and first year University).

Not remotely as happy. In the first case, I would have known it was a mistake (*that* would only have happened in the equivalent of an arranged marriage scenario, or a world where you're only allowed to like one person), in the latter, possibly not, but wow would I be a different being.
It's probably just because of the "I will go down with this ship" (has "ship" as a shorthand for relationship and as a verb gone mainstream yet?) line and David Boreanaz in the video, but I see it very much as a stalking fangirl song.

And unreliable narrator, definitely. I interpret the last scene in the video as her mental image of his perspective, which is scary.
I'm not sure about the fangirl bit since the vid shows they are both "stars" so it is more a breakup song. Of course if you are going to obsess about someone David Boreanaz is a good choice. ;-)
While it isn't as straight-up stalker-y, I have always loved Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" as a song people don't realize is commenting, instead of celebrating, horrible behavior.

I just never saw any of these as subtle, somehow...
Jessie's Girl is the song that taught me unreliable narrators existed.

There are people who do not get it. And who think it should not have been done that way.

Personally, I think they're wrong, and it's art.
I was always confused, as a younger beastie, that I seemed to be the only person in my group-of-friends who thought that Jessie's girl should get the hell away from the singer. Everyone else seemed to think the song was So Romaaaahntic and all I saw was creeper.

It's refreshing to learn I'm not the only one who saw this.

Stasia
That last shot was a bit of a twister, though, wasn't it? It went from three minutes and change of she was stalking him to "Hey, wait, what the hell is he doing there" with his obsession wall to counter her couple of pictures...And all of a sudden maybe she's the one who needs the DRO.

Thank You, Bear-Friend. I hadn't paid attention to these lyrics before.

The other one that gets me is "I will always love you". It's clearly a breakup/I'm leaving you song, but people play it at weddings all the time. My boyfriend is a professional drag queen. He (she) sang that at me during a show and I thought I was being publicly dumped, because we'd had a conversation like this. After the show he expalined that nope, not breaking up with me, instead he was playing on the common perception of the song to openly acknowledge our relationship to his friends who were also there, and to the other performers (some of whom had decided I was a creepy stalker fan, and one of whom WAS a creepy stalker fan). If he'd told me in advance I'd have enjoyed it more, though, on account of I'd not have felt like I was having a heart attack.

Did I just out myself on LJ? Oh, why, yes, yes I did. :)
Yeah, the video undermines the song a bit, thank dog.

O gosh, that would have given me a heart attack. Jeepers.

*hug*

OO, Hugs! You give good hugs!
*Huggle*
I dunno...she's looking a little knowingly evil in the video.

Also, the casting of David Boreanaz, right in the middle of his Angel years, suggests that she might be aware of the theme.
Content of song =/= content of video, as far as I'm concerned. There are a whole series of new creative inputs in a video.

It's like judging the book by the movie.
Or worse yet, the TV series.
Then how do you conclude that "Every Breath You Take" knows its problems, whereas "White Flag" doesn't?

The language in EBYT is more blatant, but that could simply be the result of being expressed by a man. I've known stalker women, and they weren't all, "I'll be watching you"; they were more "I will go down with the ship." The linguistic differences between the songs could be based more on gender-training than difference in awareness of the problem of the theme.
I don't conclude anything. There are very few definitive statements at all in what I wrote.

Please reread.
A favourite road trip game of ours is to find an oldies station, listen to the song lyrics and make a case for the mental illness(es) you can identify in the songs. It is amazing how many love songs don't make it clear that the narrator has even met the object of their desire.
I always thought of the song more of 'teenage melodrama' than 'stalking' -- a young woman in her first bad breakup who thinks that her current state (of loving her ex and not getting over him) will last forever because she can't magically shut off her feelings, but recognizes that her ex is not interested and their relationship is/was a mess.

But it could be the age I was (late teens) when it came out: I was currently revising my own thoughts on romance and love, so I projected that that in the song's narrator.
Agree the song has a nice melody, and Dido has a lovely voice, but those lyrics. I dunno. . . I could read the lyrics several ways, but the video's "story" does favor the sicker interpretation. The thing that creeped me out in the video was that wall behind Boreanaz after having established that he lived right next to her. Who broke up with who and why? When did he move there? And has she ever seen that wall? Prickly hairs on the neck here.
Oh yeah. In the video, everybody's a stalker. The video's cleverer in its read than the song, I think.
I always liked to think of "One Way or Another" as being sung by a particularly Javert-like cop.
That's exactly why I love it so much that Farscape borrows the riff. Because early Crais is SO JAVERT.
I am a bad, bad SFF fan who has never seen Farscape! Must remedy this. Must.
Oh yes!
I had a friend once tell me that "Baby It's cold outside" couldn't be a creepy ass song because it was written and performed by a married couple, because you know, married peple can't have creepy-ass relationship dynamics.
Aieee! I'm sorry, that's a rape in progress. :-P
Yeah, exactly.
It's absolutely possible to perform a song to undermine the; it's what I think Sting does in "Every Breath You Take." (And "Wrapped Around My Finger," for that matter.) (And "Jessie's Girl," see elsethread.)

I myself have not heard a version that I think successfully does that. (But I'm not a Glee fan, so I can't comment on that version.)
Having listened to a lot of other Dido songs (And "Life for Rent" is one of my favourite albums ever), I'm pretty confident it knows exactly how fucked up it is. I'd go out on a limb and say most of her songs from that time are kind of like this.

I mean listen to this one:


I'll take that as an expert opinon.

My university tutor for Classical Literature said that she thought the song was Dido's namesake singing about Aeneas after he left her without even telling her he was leaving. I don't know if Dido intended that reading of the song, but when read that way it's a hell of a lot more screwed up.
Sorry for the double-post, I thought my internet connection ate the comment. I deleted the original comment because I thought the second was better-written.