6 - 1
“One Way or Another” (1978)
Before Carrie Underwood panicked cheating men by causing thousands of dollars of damage to their cars, there was Debbie Harry promising to track down the object of her affection with the ruthlessness and dedication of a bounty hunter. “One way or another / I’m going to find ya / I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha / One way or another / I’m gonna win ya / I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha / I’m gonna see ya / I’m gonna meetcha meetcha meetcha.” With her half-open eyes staring into the camera, Debbie Harry promises to drive past her victim’s home, follow his bus, and stalk him in a supermarket. One way or another, she will find out who he calls.
According to the book Deborah Harry: Platinum Blonde, one of Harry’s ex-boyfriends stalked her and that situation inspired the song.
“I Will Possess Your Heart” (2008)
Stalkers can appreciate an excellent bass line and strong instrumental intro. “I Will Possess Your Heart” provides a beautiful backdrop for the same old stalker story. Like many of the artists on this list, Death Cab for Cutie promises to show up unannounced at your house and watch you from the outside. Ladies, check the bushes, sheds, and any unlit areas within visual distance of your bedroom window. Look for the reflection of night goggles and a little red light. There you will find Death Cab for Cutie obsessing over the idea of possessing your heart.
“How I wish you could see the potential / The potential of you and me / It’s like a book elegantly bound / But in a language that you can’t read just yet”: Not only is Death Cab for Cutie stalking somebody, but they’re also telling her that she’s just too insipid to understand their love for her.
It gets worse: “There are days when outside your window / I see my reflection as I slowly pass / And I long for this mirrored perspective / When we’ll be lovers, lovers at last.”
“My Bloody Valentine” (2002)
This is the stalker song that makes most stalkers throw up their hands and say, “Too far.” The sophisticated stalker, the Hannibal Lector of creeping, would never listen to a song that so explicitly and brutally vulgarizes the activity: “He dropped you off / I followed him home / Then I, I stood outside his bedroom window / Standing over him, he begged me not to do / What I knew I had to do ‘cause I’m so in love with you.”
This song is unique on this list because this subject doesn’t stalk his beloved. Instead, he stalks her lover, kills him, and promises her a new life together. Cue stalker daydreams of being such a hero. But, for the more uncouth stalkers who grew up in a world of fuck bracelets and pop-punk, the lyrics of Good Charlotte’s “My Bloody Valentine” glorifies a love so violent that it would earn a life sentence.
“She Will Be Loved” (2002)
PopMatters has questions for you, Maroon 5. Why are you standing outside an 18-year-old’s bedroom window in the pouring rain? Do her parents know you’re doing this? Why don’t you mind standing on her corner every day? Don’t you have a job?
Your rationalizing lyrics don’t exactly back up your case. “It’s compromise that moves us along”: She doesn’t call the police, Maroon 5 won’t kill her in her sleep. Deal?
“She will be loved”: She has no choice in this matter. She will be loved. Maroon 5 will love her from 50-100 yards away per the restraining order.
“I know that goodbye means nothing at all”: Maroon 5 has an excellent vantage point into her bedroom window.
“I drove for miles and miles / and somehow wound up at your door… I don’t mind spending every day / Out on your corner in the pouring rain”: We rest our case.
“Every Breath You Take” (1983)
Congratulations, Sting. You’ve written the perfect stalker song. Stalkers, Sting understands you. The themes of watching, possession, and love permeate every line of this track. It’s song with threatening lyrics paired with a softly sung, catchy chorus and pretty melody. Sting told New Musical Express, “It’s a nasty little song, really rather evil. It’s about jealousy and surveillance and ownership.” Despite the lyrics (or perhaps because of them), this single was a number one hit for weeks.
“Every breath you take / Every move you make / Every bond you break / Every step you take / I’ll be watching you”. Just in case the Police didn’t get the message across, here’s the next bridge: ” Every single day / Every word you say / Every game you play / Every night you stay / I’ll be watching you.”
“Turn Around and Look at Me” (1968)
Just watch. Don’t be fooled by these sweet wrinkled faces. These are professional lurkers who have managed to out-creep every stalker song that the 1980s threw at us. Stalkers will be thrilled to know that the Vogues reunited in 2007 and their May 2013 concert dates include shows in Montreal, Canada and Steubenville, Ohio. The sweet harmonizing only makes it creepier. Oh, dear God, the poor victim thinks. There’s a pack of them doo-wopping their way to my window.
Stand-out lyrics: “There is someone walking behind you / Turn around, look at me / There is someone watching your footsteps / Turn around, look at me.”
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times.