I first published this post on June 22, 2012 when Adele was burning up the airwaves the first go round. Since “Hello” is on every five minutes now, I thought I’d run it again.
Budge loves Adele. If I try to talk to her when “Set Fire to the Rain” is playing, I get a look that’ll curdle milk and a shush that would make Nancy Pearl blush with pride. Since I don’t like getting snapped at by my beloved, I usually sit quietly and listen to the song. It was during one such session that I decided Adele is the latest artist to add music to the long and storied list of stalker songs.
Now, everybody knows what a stalker song is, right? You know, one of the songs your ex dedicates to you on the late night radio romance show that sends you scurrying in a mad dash down to the police station at the butt crack of dawn the next morning to file the restraining order? Stalker songs!
Some of the more popular stalker songs masquerade as being romantic ballads. Take U2’s “I Will Follow” as an example. On the surface, the jerk finally realizes he should have paid attention to the chick when she was sending him the “come get me” signals. Now though, she’s moved on. What does he do? He lets her know right up front, “If you walkaway, walkaway I walkaway, walkaway…I will follow …” Not a healthy response to rejection.
Still, U2’s little ditty is mild compared to some of the masters of shade watching. I remember Def Leppard coming out with “Two Steps Behind” when I was in high school and thinking, “Wow! What a cool love song!” Once I realized though that the “shadow” he sings about — “you can run, but you can never hide / From the shadow that’s creepin’ up beside you,” — is actually HIM, the song took on a newer, more sinister slant.
Now, I realize guy stalkers are the ones who garner the most press, but they aren’t the only ones who put out stalker songs. The fairer sex has its share of scorned lovers who want to get even. I mean, look at how the girl in Carly Simon’s hit song takes catching the object of her affection with someone else: “You belong to me / Can it be, honey, that you’re not sure / You belong to me?” Guys, if a girlfriend says that song tells exactly how she feels about you, it MIGHT be time to pull the trigger on that move to Europe you’ve been contemplating. Of course, if your ex takes her cues from Blondie, moving overseas won’t matter because “One way or another [she’s] gonna find ya / [she’s] gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha!”
What trips me out the most though is seeing how long and flourishing the history of stereo stalkers has been. For example, if you get past the funky organ and funny name, “96 Tears”, which I always thought was an upbeat little tune, turns really dark. How would YOU interpret the stanza:
Since you left me you’re always laughin’ way down at me
But watch out now I’m gonna get there
We’ll be together for just a little while
And then I’m gonna put you way down here
And you’ll start cryin’ Ninety-six tears
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lead in for a Criminal Minds episode if ever one existed! I can see the voice over and pull-away shot of the girl struggling, chained to the wall of a dark basement right now. Of course, one might expect stalkerish or otherwise odd behavior from a guy who legally changed his name to a piece of punctuation.
What concerns me most, however, are the people who don’t realize a stalker song when they hear it. NO SONG illustrates this more clearly than that wedding standard, that classic “ode to eternal love”, that promise of constancy. Yep, I’m talking about the one, the only “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. I have attended two weddings (against my wishes, mind you) where this was the song played at the altar for the lovely couple.
Did no one in the wedding planning stages ever think to LISTEN TO THE LYRICS? This isn’t a song about a happy relationship blossoming into ripe old age with grandchildren around the rocking chairs on the front porch! This is a ballad to insanity and obsession! I can’t believe it wasn’t the theme song to the all-time scariest stalker movie ever — Fatal Attraction. Just look what the guy says in the first stanza:
Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take
I’ll be watching you
He ends EVERY stanza with “I’ll be watching you!” Who is this guy? Santa Claus? If I go to a wedding and see “EBYT” on the program, I’m praying they include that part about speak now or forever hold your peace, because I’m standing up on the pew and screaming “Dude, you are marrying a Glenn Close clone! Fly you fool! Fly!” Notice I said, “Dude” because even though the song is about a guy watching a girl, no guy gets to pick out the music at his wedding so the bride has to be the mental case.
So, after all that explanation, I’m back to Adele. I don’t know WHO screwed this girl over, but I can tell you she isn’t happy about it. I can’t say for certain because I haven’t listened to all of her music, but all the songs I have heard have, “stalker chick revenge” written all over them. I mean, if a girl was singing to me, “For me, it isn’t over . . . ” in a smooth calm voice after she has “turned up out of the blue uninvited” because she “couldn’t stay away [she] couldn’t fight it” I am on the first thing smoking bound for Tristan de Cunha and I’m not looking back.
First though, I’m gonna swing by the house and pick up my bunny rabbit. Know what i mean?
Love y’all and keep those feet clean!