Love songs with dark, disturbing music and lyrics
March 1, 2014 10:30 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for songs about love and/or obsession that feature a creepy / dark / disturbing aesthetic.

A great example of what I am looking for is Garbage's #1 Crush or Portishead's All Mine or Nine Inch Nails' Closer.

What I am not looking for are songs with only dark lyrics, but upbeat music. So, no "One Way or Another" by Blondie, for instance.

Freak me out!
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles to Media & Arts (79 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
How about Love's Secret Domain?
posted by aubilenon at 10:40 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Recoil's Want may also meet your needs.
posted by aubilenon at 10:45 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

NIN's Twist (ringfinger)?
posted by salvia at 10:46 PM on March 1, 2014

Can't Let Go is about obsession. Hope it's dark enough for ya...
posted by elf27 at 10:47 PM on March 1, 2014

"Worthy of Your Love" from the musical Assassins: "I'll prove I'm worthy of your love, wait and see; then you will turn your love to me" (extra creepy with projected images of Manson and/or Jodie Foster)

"Johanna" from Sweeney Todd: "Do they think that walls can hide you? Even now I'm at your window" (such a minor key)

"Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera
posted by amtho at 10:51 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sounds like Nick Cave to me.

For example, I Let Love In or Do You Love Me?
posted by soundguy99 at 10:54 PM on March 1, 2014 [6 favorites]

Rid of Me'll do that. (PJ Harvey)
posted by mochapickle at 10:59 PM on March 1, 2014 [8 favorites]

I've always loved "Tyler" by the Toadies
posted by evilbeck at 11:05 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, Mefi's Own chococat did a truly fantastic, utterly creepy/wonderful cover of Hopelessly Devoted To You.
posted by mochapickle at 11:05 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sonic Youth's cover of Superstar?
posted by fireandthud at 11:06 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's not much to it, but µ-Ziq's song Wannabe is pretty darn creepy.
posted by aubilenon at 11:09 PM on March 1, 2014

Glenn Tipton, Sun Kil Moon.
posted by Kwine at 11:36 PM on March 1, 2014

Depeche Mode has one or two songs that are kinda dark and creepy
posted by aubilenon at 11:38 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Sisters of Mercy, 'When You Don't See Me'
posted by Salamander at 12:08 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sugar - A Good Idea
posted by diamondsky at 12:37 AM on March 2, 2014

Almost anything by Black Box Recorder should fit the bill, try The Facts of Life and Child Psychology for starters.
posted by sync32 at 12:56 AM on March 2, 2014

Afghan Whigs, Debonair (or just throw darts at the Afghan Whig catalogue)
Elvis Costello, I Want You (or with Fiona Apple)
posted by furiousthought at 1:11 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Magazine - permafrost
posted by philip-random at 2:06 AM on March 2, 2014

Pere Ubu - final solution
posted by philip-random at 2:12 AM on March 2, 2014

Is the most obvious one Creep by Radiohead?

I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab For Cutie may be a little too upbeat for you, but the lyrics are pretty take-the-hint stalkery.

Baxter's I Can't See Why could be interpreted as being creepy.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:17 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I immediately thought of Cup of Coffee by Garbage, even though it's a breakup song.
posted by sarae at 3:43 AM on March 2, 2014

I'll Kill Her by Soko. Not traditionally dark but the twanginess adds to the creepiness on repeated listening.
posted by h00py at 3:56 AM on March 2, 2014

Strangelove by Depeche Mode
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 4:12 AM on March 2, 2014

The Soft Boys "Insanely Jealous"
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:40 AM on March 2, 2014

Every Breath You Take by the Police.
Superstar as covered by Sonic Youth
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:32 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

You Belong to Me by Carly Simon
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:46 AM on March 2, 2014

Kissin and Cussin by the Carolina Chocolate Drops (oh tell me pretty baby do you think you're too sweet to die?)
posted by spunweb at 6:25 AM on March 2, 2014

Love is a Stranger by the Eurythmics.
posted by Dragonness at 6:30 AM on March 2, 2014

Shakespeare Sister - Stay
Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue - Where the Wild Roses Grow (and in fact anything on the appropriately named Murder Ballads album!)
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 6:36 AM on March 2, 2014

Seconding Nick Cave....check out "The Murder Ballads"...
posted by keep it tight at 6:43 AM on March 2, 2014

The type of music is different, but if you want disturbing then you want Pretty Polly (with a haunting sound, with a modern sound). Also known as Laws P36A/B, this is an old English song written in the mid-1700s.
posted by Houstonian at 6:49 AM on March 2, 2014

Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me
(Seriously, look at this cover - it is a creepy song)
posted by Flood at 6:51 AM on March 2, 2014

Townes Van Zandt, "The Hole".

posted by notsnot at 7:00 AM on March 2, 2014

Robyn Hitchcock — She Doesn't Exist
Diamanda Galas — I Put a Spell on You
posted by scruss at 7:20 AM on March 2, 2014

Fist Full of Love - Antony and the Johnsons
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:32 AM on March 2, 2014

Aventura - Obsesion (lyrics translation).
posted by mosessis at 7:37 AM on March 2, 2014

Johnny Cash's "Delia's Gone." Not overtly dark musically but in fact the country tune makes the dark lyrics even creepier.
posted by third rail at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2014

I always found Spiritualized's "Stay with Me" creepybeautiful, full of codependency and claustrophobia -- and check that dissonant guitar chord in the middle of it. All is not well.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2014

Daniel Lanois - The Collection of Marie Claire
Is Creep creepier when done by a choir of young women?
Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Probably doesn't meet your aesthetic requirements, but the combination of a gorgeous melody with truly disturbing lyrics makes for a chilling combination: Freedy Johnston - This Perfect World.
posted by Bron at 8:09 AM on March 2, 2014

Purity Ring's song "Fineshrine."
posted by southern_sky at 8:19 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pere Ubu - Codex
Kelly Hogan - Whenever You're Out of My Sight
posted by hydrophonic at 8:23 AM on March 2, 2014

Lee Hazlewood - I'm Glad I Never...
posted by hydrophonic at 8:29 AM on March 2, 2014

Okkervil River -- For Real
posted by foxfirefey at 8:38 AM on March 2, 2014

The Louvin Brothers - Knoxville Girl
Smog - All Your Women Things, or maybe all of The Doctor Came at Dawn.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:43 AM on March 2, 2014

If you haven't heard She Wants Revenge, they fit the bill pretty well with almost every song.
posted by ezrainch at 9:01 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I made this mix tape once! I wish I could remember more of it right now.

The Beautiful South is an excellent candidate for deceptively perky music combined with dark lyrics. They tend to sound like pure (but beautiful) smarm until you actually listen to what they're singing.

Let Love Speak Up Itself and Song for Whoever are representative examples.

Elvis Costello, too. That guy didn't write a straight love song until he started getting pretty old. Alison is creepy as hell, and I Want You is terrifying.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:07 AM on March 2, 2014

A Perfect Circle's "3 Libras" maybe?
posted by xenization at 9:19 AM on March 2, 2014

The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove by Dead Can Dance
posted by kimdog at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2014

Seconding Elvis Costello's "I want you" particularly as sung by Fiona Apple.
posted by MyTwoCentsToo at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2014

I kept thinking, "someone's going to post "The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen, so I don't have to. I can go take a nap." But my nap is over and it hasn't happened yet, so here's the song.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:34 AM on March 2, 2014

I think Marilyn Manson's cover of Tainted Love definitely fits the bill of creepy love song.
posted by bonifate at 11:05 AM on March 2, 2014

I've got a ton of suggestions, but proceed directly to Tricky's Maxinquaye!
posted by kbbbo at 11:26 AM on March 2, 2014

PJ Harvey freaks me out every time.
The Devil

So does her duet with Mark Lanegan, such eerie harmonies
Come To Me

And Mirel Wagner, holy christ
No Death
posted by otolith at 12:33 PM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Please Hurt Me" - The Crystals
"Halfway to a Threeway" - Jim O'Rourke
posted by rhymes with carrots at 12:43 PM on March 2, 2014

If you can field the jump from trip-hop to hip-hop, give Tyler the Creator's She a try
posted by sidi hamet at 12:50 PM on March 2, 2014

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. Maybe not the song so much as its history's what makes it dark.
posted by Rash at 1:27 PM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've recently made an obsessive love mix. I found this and this ask me questions useful.

Picks for upbeat:
Anna Calvi - Cry (quite a few her songs would fit actually).
Desert Sessions - A Girl Like Me

Not dark sounding, but creepy lyrics and upbeat:
The Mekons - Where were you
The Donnas - I don't want to know (if you don't want me)
posted by Erberus at 1:44 PM on March 2, 2014

Roxy Music - In Every Dream Home a Heartache
posted by hydrophonic at 2:38 PM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Better Dig Two by The Band Perry
posted by tamitang at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2014

Dan Mangan - Fair Verona

It's not dark exactly, but it isn't exactly light either. And the music has this sort of overwhelming pressure to it, this slow inexorable build that you can't do anything about.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:48 PM on March 2, 2014

Aly, Walk with Me by The Ravonettes.
posted by Morrigan at 5:03 PM on March 2, 2014

"The perfect love song has no words, it only has death threats..." (different renditions being more or less creepy)
posted by salvia at 5:14 PM on March 2, 2014

Elvis Presley - Kentucky Rain.
posted by coleboptera at 6:44 PM on March 2, 2014

Gnarls Barkley - Necromancer.
posted by Pistache at 6:52 PM on March 2, 2014

The Long Black Veil by The Chieftains and Mick Jagger.
Banks of The Ohio. I find the Olivia Newton John version extra creepy.
Thief of my Heart by Sinead O'Connor.
Closer by Kings of Leon.
Last Kiss by Eddie Vedder/ Pearl Jam.
White Chalk by PJ Harvey
posted by fshgrl at 10:42 PM on March 2, 2014

Elvis Costello-Watching the Detectives

/drops mike
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:24 AM on March 3, 2014

Massive Attack, Live With Me.
posted by BibiRose at 7:11 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Dismsmberment Plan covered Jennifer Paige's "Crush" and I think it's haunting as all hell.
posted by Twicketface at 7:23 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is basically the thing that Mark Lanegan does, along with songs about the apocalypse. Soulsavers is a collaboration of his and Unbalanced Pieces is nightmarish music.
posted by cnc at 10:40 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

One more - Alt-J's Breezeblocks doesn't have a dark sound necessarily, but the lyrics and video fit your description perfectly. Make sure to watch the video all the way through.
posted by cnc at 10:44 AM on March 3, 2014

I really love the songs you have listed in your question, and would also suggest these, which are particularly beloved favorites of mine:

Slipknot "Snuff"
Slipknot "Vermillion Part 2"
Papa Roach "Forever"
Papa Roach "Walking Thru Barbed Wire"
Marilyn Manson "Tourniquet"
Cradle of Filth "Thank God For the Suffering"
Cradle of Filth "Funeral in Carpathia"
Cradle of Filth "Her Ghost in the Fog"

All very dark, disturbing, anguished love songs that I find utterly romantic
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 4:49 PM on March 3, 2014

I've put most of these into a youtube playlist, if anyone's interested. (Sorry, partly squamous, just missed you.)
posted by Bron at 8:17 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mark Lanegan's Kingdom of Rain is marvelously creepy/lovely.
posted by fshgrl at 9:20 PM on March 3, 2014

Not really a lovesong, but I feel this has the mood you're going for: Overcome (Tricky).
posted by travellingincognito at 8:54 PM on March 4, 2014

I'm surprised nobody mentioned Prosthetics by Slipknot
posted by alphagirl13 at 2:40 PM on December 14, 2014

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