Where: Outside your bedroom window. Specifically, in a bush outside your bedroom window. Don’t mind the video camera. It’s just an artifact that is definitely not for recording your every movement while I sniff a bottle of the same perfume you wear.
Who: Me, watching you.
When: You’re sleeping.
When was the last time you crept to someone’s window and watched them sleep? Or asked a stranger to marry you every day? Most importantly, why are you wearing your sunglasses at night to watch other people breathe?
These are the songs that, when the items are collected for evidence, will be found on the stalker’s iPod. Stalkers spend long hours hiding in bushes, under cars, and in shadows. They need playlists too. Of course, the writers behind these songs might say we’re taking them a little too literally. There’s high-minded, abstract ideas behind these lyrics, mostly about the art of stalking.
12. The Honeycombs
“Have I the Right?” (1964)
If you have to ask, you already know the answer. This is a song for the polite stalker, deeply concerned about legality and morality. Perhaps there is still a chance to reform. The Honeycombs were several men in gray suits who held their string instruments too high and depended on a jaunty beat provided by drummer Honey Lantree. This clip is worth checking out just to see Lantree’s beehive.
“Have I the right to hold you / You know I’ve always told you / That we must never ever part / Have I the right to kiss you / You know I’ll always miss you / I’ve loved you from the very start / Come right back I just can’t bear it / I’ve got this love and I long to share it / Come right back I’ll show my love is strong.”
11. James Blunt
“You’re Beautiful” (2005)
Something is off with this song and it’s not just the vocals. Yeah, Blunt’s voice is nasal and breathless. The instrumentation is about as interesting as potato spuds. But there’s something else strange about this song that earns it on a stalker’s playlist. The unconfirmed story behind the song is that James Blunt had recently broken up with Shannon Grima, a casting director for the Harry Potter films, and he saw her on the subway with a new boyfriend. Does that sound fishy to you?
In the song, James Blunt knows he can’t be with the object of his affection, he only glimpsed her on the subway or in a crowded room. However, he has a plan. What is that plan? Nobody knows but James Blunt. Sleep tight.
“Marry Me” (2010)
“But PopMatters“, says the reader, “This isn’t a stalker song. You’ve completely misinterpreted a marriage proposal.” We at PopMatters smile knowingly. We present the lyrics for the reader’s inspection: “Forever can never be long enough for me / To feel like I’ve had long enough with you / Forget the world now, we won’t let them see.” How sweet.
“But there’s one thing left to do”, adds Train. Now, what is that one thing? “Marry me / If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe.”
Whoa. Wait a minute. You haven’t met yet? When is the last time you’ve looked at a complete stranger and decided that you should marry them every day?
Train has just been gawking in a cafe at a stranger, thinking, It would be a really great idea if we got married. Every. Day.
9. Corey Hart
“Sunglasses at Night” (1983)
Thank you, Corey Hart, for perfectly accessorizing the art of stalking. Stalkers, don your sunglasses, put in your earbuds and creep away.
Corey Hart, why are you wearing your sunglasses at night? We thought it was the drugs. We hoped it was the drugs. But then you told us it was to keep track of the visions in your eyes. “Oh, to see trails?” we asked.
You shook your head. “She got control of me,” you sing.
“The ecstasy has control of you?” we asked. “I wear my sunglasses at night so I can watch you weave and breathe…” You replied. And that’s when we started to slowly back away, whispering to each other to not make any sudden movements.
8. Cheap Trick
“I Want You to Want Me” (1977)
Thank you, Cheap Trick, for voicing the needs of every stalker. This is like the demands of stalker negotiation. “I need you to stop lurking in my yard every night”, says the victim. “I also need you to stop calling my house and following my family.”
“Oh yeah?” says the stalker. “Well, I have needs too.” And he bursts into this Cheap Trick song: “I want you to want me / I need you to need me / I’d love you to love me / I’m begging you to beg me… Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying / Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?”
7. REO Speedwagon
“Keep on Loving You” (1980)
This is the song for the stalker who just wants to keep on loving you. He gets drunk and shows up on your doorstep. He dials your phone number and breathes heavily, his heart leaping every time you demand, “HELLO?” He knows about the other men, but he’s okay with that. “It was us way before them”, he assures himself. He’ll stay true to his word. Here are the lyrics, complete with the victim’s reactions to every line:
REO Speedwagon: “I don’t want to sleep. I just want to keep on loving you.” Victim: “You need to stop showing up on my doorstep.”
REO Speedwagon: “When I said that I love you I meant that I love you forever.” Victim: “I know it’s you who keeps calling and breathing heavily on the phone.”
REO Speedwagon: “I’m going to keep on loving you.” Victim: “Go home, REO Speedwagon. You’re drunk.”
REO Speedwagon: “It’s the only thing I want to do.”
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.
5. Death Cab for Cutie
“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.”
4. Good Charlotte
“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.
3. Maroon 5
“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.
2. The Police
“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.”
1. The Vogues
“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.”