Back in my younger days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I had a gentleman admirer who got, shall we say, a bit too enthusiastic about our relationship. He was simply crazy about me, and well, I was simply crazy. We’d been rocking along for a while, with him much more into the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing than I was, when one day I finally had a lucid moment. I sat up, looked around, and realized that the whole china-pattern, white-lace-and-promises thing was not where I wanted to be heading. So I broke up with him.
He didn’t take it well. To say the least. Next thing I knew, he had dropped out of college to move to the town where I lived, and he was surreptitiously following me from class to class. Really over-the-top. And the bizarre thing is, idiot nineteen year old that I was, I wasn’t properly creeped out by it. I thought it was kind of sweet and flattering, in a nutso kind of way. Only years later, after serving as a prosecutor in domestic violence cases did I figure out that it was more psychopathic than romantic.
I tell you this embarrassing story from my misspent youth in an attempt to explain a phenomenon I’ve noticed lately – the creepy love song. As y’all know, one of the first steps I take in writing a story is to put together a playlist that captures the characters’ thoughts and emotions. And since I’m kicking around a kind of chick-lit rom-susp stalker story for NaNo next month, I looked for songs that got into my villain’s mindset. Believe it or not, the problem wasn’t finding stalker songs – it was narrowing down the list of contenders!
Let’s start with a favorite from my youth (right about the time my boyfriend went nuts, in fact): Blondie’s One Way or Another: “I will drive past your house and if the lights are all down, I’ll see who’s around . . . I’ll walk down by the mall, stand over by the wall, where I can see it all, find out who you call.” Ick. No. No, you won’t. Please tell me you won’t.
Or another favorite from the old days, Animotion’s Obsession: “You’re an obsession, you’re my obsession. What do you want me to be to make you sleep with me? I will have you, yes I will have you , , , Like a wild butterfly, I will collect and capture you.” Ugh. Restraining order, much?
Now, lest you think that this is only an issue with songs from the fun-loving 70’s and 80’s, here’s some of Death Cab for Cutie’s I Will Possess Your Heart: “You reject my advances and desperate pleas, I won’t let you let me down so easily. You gotta spend some time with me, and I know that you’ll find love, I will possess your heart.” And so forth from there, all about walking past your window and dreaming of when “we’re lovers at last.”
But for sheer 911-call inspiration, I guess the top song of all time would be the Police’s mega-hit, Every Breath You Take: “Every move you make, every step you take, I will be watching you. Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay, I will be watching you … Oh, can’t you see, you belong to me. . . “
Oh, come on, people. Yes, a little over-the-top devotion is nice. But following me to the mall, watching every night I stay with someone, and eventually collecting and capturing me? No thanks.
Have you noticed any of the words to your favorite songs lately? Any of them particularly creep you out? It’s almost Halloween, so share the scares!