MUSIC may be the food of love, but it’s also fuel for passive-aggressive controlling behaviour. Take these popular hits with sinister narcissistic undertones…
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club, 1982
‘Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?’ Some heavy emphasis on the ‘me me me’ there. It’s basically four-and-a-half minutes of George apportioning blame, whining on and feeling sorry for himself. It’s probably your fault he’s had to handcuff you to a wall.
Lady In Red – Chris de Burgh, 1986
Does she have a name, Chris? Or is that irrelevant in your eyes so long as she’s got a sexy bit of kit on? ‘I have never seen that dress you’re wearing’ he says as if he’s been keeping a close eye on what she wears in front of other blokes. And ‘There’s nobody here/ It’s just you and me’ is definitely a red flag to match your dress. Get the f**k out of there, love, before it turns into a scene from Misery.
Back For Good – Take That, 1995
‘Whatever I said, whatever I did, I didn’t mean it.’ Clearly nobody told Gary Barlow that if you want a half-baked non-apology to sound sincere, it’s advisable to at least find out what you’re saying sorry for. Gary continues his manipulative bleating with ‘Whenever I’m wrong, just tell me the song/ And I’ll sing it’. Honestly mate, we’d rather you didn’t bother.
9 to 5 – Sheena Easton, 1981
The one that goes: ‘My baby takes the morning train/ He works from nine to five and then/ He takes another home again/ To find me waitin’ for him.’ Apart from the fact that he’s keeping a roof over their heads while Sheena’s sitting on her arse watching This Morning, it’s got disturbing possessive overtones. Hastily retitled Morning Train because of the Dolly Parton song, it should have been called Have You Been Sleeping with That Slag Kelly at Work?
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Frank Loesser, 1944
Either a charming Christmas classic, or possibly an abduction attempt, no one is sure. Loesser originally wrote it as a fun song to perform at parties with his then wife Lynn Garland, but it’s actually an increasingly tense scenario: ‘My mother will start to worry/ My father will be pacing the floor/ So really I’d better scurry’. Probably a good idea to check he hasn’t double-deadlocked the front door, hun. And he’s really making a big deal of how chilly it is. Time to get an Uber.
A Little Respect – Erasure, 1988
Cheeky chubby chappy Andrew Bell was clearly never taught that respect is something to be earned, not demanded. ‘What religion or reason/ Could drive a man to forsake his lover?’ he asks. Have you stopped to consider they might just not be that into you? No, of course you haven’t, because it’s all about you. If anyone deserves respect it’s Vince Clarke. He writes all the songs and doesn’t even get to dance around because he’s stuck behind a keyboard.