Ain’t no mountain high enough,
Ain’t no valley low enough,
Ain’t river wide enough,
To keep me from getting to you.
Michael Bolton and Leona Lewis are high on the Radio 2 playlist at the moment. Not a programme goes by without the two of the warbling their hearts out at each other. Never mind that the 61-year-old Bolton is old enough to be 24-year-old Lewis’ dad. Eeeew.
But the song troubles me anyway. Or at least the chorus does. Because, is it just me, or are those lyrics just a tad on the stalkerish side? ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough…to stop me from getting to you.’ What if they were handed to you cut out from old newspaper? I know they’d certainly have me running to the nearest restraining order provider.
Even though the verses reassure us that the intention is noble rather than creepy, it’s one popular love song forever destroyed thanks to my skewed mind (because I rarely have the attention span to actually listen to a less-hooky verse).
But it’s not the only one. Even discounting songs such as Every Breath You Take by the Police, Stan by Eminem, Blondie’s One Way or Another and Posession by Sarah McLachlan as they were intentionally stalker-themed, pop history is littered with lyrics that can be taken as less of a promise, more of a threat. Blurred lines indeed.
I Drove All Night by Roy Orbison
I drove all night, crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep to make love to you.
Is that all right?
I drove all night.
Possibly the first song where I stopped and thought, ‘What?! Is that not a little bit creepy?’
I mean, all that creeping into the bedroom for a start. And surely no girl is ever happily woken in the night by a surprise visitor, least of all one whose stealthily let himself in? And then he only checks for consent after? It’s a bit rapey, isn’t it?
It doesn’t help that Roy Orbison looked a bit creepy too. I think it was the glasses.
I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers
And I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man
Who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door.
In my dating days I had rule: don’t date men who live less than 100 miles away. That way, you’re signicantly less likely to awkwardly bump into them post break-up. And if you do, a lot, then there’s strong evidence that you’ve got a stalker on your hands. I mean, 100 miles is quite some commitment.
And yet there the Proclaimers are claiming (threatening?) to travel a thousand miles! And not to drive or get a flight, but to walk! (In comparison Roy Orbison was such a lightweight in the stalker stakes.) At least by the time they’ve tracked you down to your house they’re going to be too tired to run after you as your reach for the panic button, but there are two of them, all the better for cornering you.
It’s the best argument for Scottish independence yet. At least that way they’d hopefully get stopped at border control.
Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Kylie Minogue
I just cant get you out of my head,
Boy, your loving is all I think about.
I just can’t get you out of my head,
Boy, it’s more than I dare to think about.
There’s a dark secret in me…
Stay forever and ever and ever and ever.
Kylie might have the pertest bottom in pop, but with declarations as obsessive as this it’s her suitor whose going to be backing towards the door. I don’t think I’d be hanging around to find out what her dark secret is. Get out before you have no choice but to stay forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
Happy Together by The Turtles
Imagine me and you, I do.
I think about you day and night, it’s only right
To think about the girl you love, and hold her tight
So happy together.
Just how tight, exactly? Big bear hug tight? Or pinning-you-down-and-never-gonna-let-you-go tight? From the jump from second to third person, I’m guessing the latter. *Shudder.*
Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams
Search your heart and your soul
You can’t tell me it’s not worth dying for
I’ll be there for you
I’d walk the fire for you
I’d die for you
I’m going all the time, all the way.
This was the song that people slow-danced to when I was old enough to feel rejected left on the sidelines (but I can’t blame the boys – my hair was ghastly!). But it gave me plenty of time to muse over the lyrics. If you’ve got to search your heart and soul that much then it rather suggests its very much not worth dying for. And I’m not sponsoring you for your crazy fire walk either, Bryan.
Follow You Home by Embrace
You smashed the glass and set me free
But you don’t want no more from me…
I wrote you letters
I sang you songs
But nothing works no more
Know it’s much too late but I can’t let go
I’m gonna follow you home
I’m gonna follow you home
I’m gonna follow you home
I’m gonna follow you…
It hurts when it’s over. But if letters and songs haven’t worked then threatening to follow somebody home, over and over again, really isn’t going to win them over. Just cry into your pillow already, Embrace, and move on.
I Put a Spell on You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
I put a spell on you because you’re mine
You better stop the things that you do
I ain’t lyin’, no I ain’t lyin’
I just can’t stand it babe
The way you’re always runnin’ round
I just can’t stand it the way you always put me down
I put a spell on you because you’re mine.
By ‘spell’ do you mean you rohypnoled my drink? And all because I told you to get lost, creep?
Nina Simone’s version is no better:
I love you, I love you anyhow
And I don’t care if you don’t want me
I’m yours right now.
Imagine the outrage if Robin Thicke sung that!
Do You Wanna Build a Snowman from Frozen
No actual stalkerish lyrics and not the same creepy love as the other songs perhaps, but still Anna harangues Elsa for years, just across one song. No wonder the poor girl’s ice powers went haywire. Anna has a lot to answer for.
I’m sure this is just the tip of the unintentionally creepy iceberg. What lyrics have made you question what you’re hearing? The more chirpy, the better.