13 of the Most Unintentionally Creepy Love Songs Ever Written

Don't play these for your Valentine unless you want to scare them away

February 8, 2021 8:57 am
a collection of albums including the beatles, geroge michaels, paul anka and more
These love songs will leave you feeling more weirded out than turned on.

Love can make us do some pretty strange things. It can inspire us to leave everything else behind and move across the country for a significant other, and sometimes it’ll send us into such a daze that we’re unable to complete even the most mundane tasks. (My mom loves to tell the story of the time she absent-mindedly put the garbage in the washing machine when she first started dating my dad.) It can blind us to people’s faults, it can drive us completely crazy, and sometimes it can move us to write some pretty questionable love songs.

Whether they’re a little too obsessive, written about an inappropriately young love interest or romanticizing a toxic relationship, there are a surprisingly number of songs about love that actually are far creepier than they were intended to be. To help you know which ones you should steer clear of when putting together your Valentine’s Day playlist this year, we’ve rounded up some of the most disturbing examples. (For the purposes of this list, we’re focusing solely on songs that are unintentionally creepy, meaning self-aware depictions of unhealthy relationships or songs that are specifically intended to shock — like The Misfits’ “Die, Die My Darling” or Gnarls Barkley’s “Necromancer” — don’t fit the bill.) Enjoy them on your own time, but maybe don’t do it in the presence of anyone you’re actively trying to woo.

The Police, “Every Breath You Take” (1983)

Creepiest lyrics: “Every breath you take/Every move you make/Every bond you break/Every step you take/I’ll be watching you”

This Grammy-winning hit by The Police is the gold standard when it comes to deceptive tracks that sound like harmless love songs at first before getting really creepy really quickly. It’s a stalker anthem, an ode to Big Brother, and Sting himself has admitted it came out creepier than he had anticipated. “It sounds like a comforting love song,” he said in 2011. “I didn’t realize at the time how sinister it is.”

The Beatles, “Run for Your Life” (1965)

Creepiest lyrics: “I’d rather see you dead, little girl/Than to be with another man/You better keep your head, little girl/Or you won’t know where I am”

In which John Lennon claims to love a girl so much that he … threatens to murder her? Not only is that scary and possessive, it’s not love, and it’s made all the more problematic when you take into account Lennon’s real-life history of committing domestic violence.

Weezer, “Across the Sea” (1996)

Creepiest lyrics: “They don’t make stationery like this where I’m from/So fragile, so refined/So I sniff and I lick your envelope/And fall to little pieces every time/I wonder what clothes you wear to school/I wonder how you decorate your room/I wonder how you touch yourself/And curse myself for being across the sea”

Rivers Cuomo famously wrote this Pinkerton track after receiving a fan letter from an 18-year-old girl in Japan. Not only does the song mock her English proficiency in a really cringey and patronizing, kind of racist way (“You are eighteen-year-old girl who live in small city of Japan”), it sees a then-26-year-old Cuomo lusting after the barely legal teen by sniffing and licking her envelope and imagining her in her school clothes. Hint: if she’s young enough to still have a school uniform, she’s too young for you!

George Michael, “Father Figure” (1987)

Creepiest lyrics: “I will be your father figure/Put your tiny hand in mine/I will be your preacher teacher/Anything you have in mind, baby”

George Michael begins this 1987 single by telling the object of his affection that he just wants to be “bold and naked by your side.” That’s reasonable enough, but it starts to get weird when he volunteers to also be a “father figure” for this person he wants to be naked with. There’s nothing wrong with a May-December romance between two consenting adults, of course, but lines like “put your tiny hand in mine” make us question what exactly’s going on here.

The Crystals, “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” (1962)

Creepiest lyrics: “He hit me/And it felt like a kiss/He hit me/And I knew he loved me”

The message of this girl-group hit is one we frequently hear rattled off as an excuse for domestic abusers: he’s only violent because he loves me so much. He lashes out because he cares. That is, of course, a deeply unhealthy and categorically untrue load of bullshit, and the song is made all the more problematic by the fact that it was produced by Phil Spector — who, as we know, had a history of abusing women as well. Also murder!

Garbage, “#1 Crush” (1995)

Creepiest lyrics: “See your face every place that I walk in/Hear your voice every time I am talking/You will believe in me/And I will never be ignored”

We’ve all had crushes that have gotten a little intense before, but Shirley Manson takes it to another level on this one, which crosses the line from innocent infatuation to unhealthy obsession. “I will never be ignored” sounds a bit too much like a threat.

The Bee Gees, “Nights on Broadway” (1975)

Creepiest lyrics: “Well, I had to follow you/Though you did not want me to/But that won’t stop my lovin’ you/I can’t stay away”

A word of advice for all men: if a woman rejects you, take the L and leave her alone. (Especially if you happen to be, as Barry Gibb sings, in a dark room full of strangers.) Do not — I repeat, do not — follow her and tell her that her lack of consent won’t stop your loving her. That’s not devotion, it’s harassment!

Ringo Starr, “You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful (And You’re Mine)” (1973)

Creepiest lyrics: “You’re all ribbons and curls, ooh, what a girl/Eyes that sparkle and shine/You’re sixteen, you’re beautiful and you’re mine”

The former Beatles drummer didn’t write this one, so he doesn’t deserve all the blame for it. (Some of that blame lies with the Sherman Brothers, who were both grown men when they wrote this song, as well as Johnny Burnette, who had a hit with it when he was 26.) But still, a 33-year-old Ringo singing about being in love with an underage girl and cavorting with a young Carrie Fisher in the music video is very creepy.

Nirvana, “Drain You” (1991)

Creepiest lyrics: “Chew my meat for you/Pass it back and forth in a passionate kiss/From my mouth to yours/I like you”

This Nevermind track takes codependency to a new level. It starts off innocently enough, with one baby telling another “I’m lucky to have met you,” but it quickly devolves from there. We’re all for being passionate, but keep your chewed food in your own mouth, please.

Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love” (2007)

Creepiest lyrics: “But I don’t care what they say/I’m in love with you/They try to pull me away, but they don’t know the truth/My heart’s crippled by the vein that I keep on closing/You cut me open and I/Keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding love”

Leona Lewis’s megahit is hailed as romantic, but its lyrics actually describe what sounds like a pretty toxic relationship. If all your friends dislike the person you’re dating and want to get you away from that person, chances are it’s because something’s not right and they’re concerned for your well-being. And besides, love shouldn’t reopen old wounds. Just leave him, already.

Ben Folds, “The Luckiest” (2001)

Creepiest lyrics: “What if I’d been born 50 years before you/In a house on a street where you lived?/Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike/Would I know?”

This Ben Folds track is, for the most part, just a regular-old saccharine love song. But when he gets to the second verse, things take a turn, and he inexplicably imagines a world in which he’s 50 years older than the object of his affection, watching her as she rides by on her bike, and wonders whether he — a 60-something man — would still recognize her — a child — as his soulmate. Yikes.

Clay Aiken, “Invisible” (2003)

Creepiest lyrics: “If I was invisible/Then I could just/Watch you in your room/If I was invisible/I’d make you mine tonight”

This song by American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken sees him complaining about how he’s invisible to the one he loves, before finding a deeply creepy silver lining to the situation and noting that at least if he’s invisible, he should be able to sneak into her room, watch her without her knowledge and “make [her] mine” in some unspecified way.

Paul Anka, “(You’re) Having My Baby” (1974)

Creepiest lyrics: “You’re a woman in love and I love/What’s goin’ through you/The need inside you/I see it showin’/Oh, the seed inside you/Baby, do you feel it growin’”

Even if we disregard the problematic way Anka equates pregnancy with proof of love or the way he keeps saying “my” baby instead of “our” baby, this one’s still undeniably off-putting. I mean, “the seed inside you“?? There’s gotta be a less-embarrassing way to describe how excited you are to be a dad.

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