Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

December 26, 2009

Beautiful/Catchy Songs With Disagreeable Lyrics

For years I never thought twice about the lyrics to a favorite song from teeanager-dom, happily singing along to the wonderful melody and the simple baroque guitar riff of Morrisey's The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get. Sadly, each time I hear it now, I become a little more horrified by this song about stalking a would-be lover. The lyrics did, however, make a good example when trying to explain cognitive dissonance to my mother a few weeks ago. And, in his way, Morrissey manages to turn some out classic lines despite the disturbing context, such as "I bear more grudges than lonely high court judges," and "when you sleep I will creep into your thoughts like a bad debt that you can't pay, so take the easy way and give in."

While cleaning today, Johnny Cash's When the Man Comes Around popped into iTunes: a song straight out of the odious Left Behind series. Rapture for the elect, no peace for the world until Armageddon, better get saved now! Basically Christ returning to kick butt and take names. This one horrifies me less, although in reality it is more insidious and hurtful. Still, combination of spoken-word verse, country-folk chorus, and simple but very effective instrumentation goes right to my music-heart every time. Even as an old man, Cash had a matchless dynamic quality to his scratchy voice.

What are a few other songs that fit this description? Maybe Depeche Mode's Little 15? Definitely Father Figure by George Michael. Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Ministry, etc. songs don't count – they're supposed to be creepy.