Looking for songs about Gaslighting
May 9, 2017 5:09 AM   Subscribe

This is fairly straightforward — I'd like to make a Spotify playlist full of songs about Gaslighting. All genres, perspectives, interpretations welcome.
posted by iamkimiam to Grab Bag (34 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Steely Dan - Gaslighting Abbie
posted by toastchee at 5:10 AM on May 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Diana Krall - is you is or is you aint my baby
posted by alchemist at 5:29 AM on May 9, 2017

Dance Hall Crashers - Othello
posted by corvine at 5:30 AM on May 9, 2017

It Wasn't Me - Shaggy
posted by fuse theorem at 5:40 AM on May 9, 2017 [14 favorites]

It Wasn't Me - Chuck Berry
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:47 AM on May 9, 2017

Tusk Fleetwood Mac
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 5:56 AM on May 9, 2017

Jonny Lang - Lie to me
posted by alchemist at 6:08 AM on May 9, 2017

love the way you lie- Eminem ft. Rhianna...
posted by Whatifyoufly at 6:19 AM on May 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

A Little Time - the Beautiful South
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:26 AM on May 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

As Cool as I am - Dar Williams
posted by emd3737 at 6:33 AM on May 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

Love Yourself - Justin Beiber

When you told me that you hated my friends
The only problem was with you and not them
And every time you told me my opinion was wrong
And tried to make me forget where I came from

posted by yawper at 6:43 AM on May 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Maybe Lorde's Liability.
posted by thefang at 6:48 AM on May 9, 2017

Landed, Ben Folds
posted by thoughtless at 6:53 AM on May 9, 2017

This song was everywhere five years ago and I just heard it again the other day and listened to the lyrics.

Gotye - Somebody that I Used to Know

"Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I'd done"
posted by annathea at 6:58 AM on May 9, 2017 [11 favorites]

Jonathan Coulton does a bunch of songs in the genre of "person/creature reasonably explains that your standard human desires are unreasonable". Skullcrusher Mountain, Re: Your Brains, Still Alive, Take Care Of Me, would all qualify, I think.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:10 AM on May 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

In Postal Service's Nothing Better, I think the woman's part suggests he's trying to gaslight her about their history and breakup in this very song.

I feel I must interject here you're getting carried away feeling sorry for yourself
With these revisions and gaps in history
So let me help you remember.
I've made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear.
I've prepared a lecture on why I have to leave

posted by juliplease at 7:45 AM on May 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ain't no Doubt Jimmy Nail
posted by threetwentytwo at 8:11 AM on May 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Every song by Elvis Costello that mentions "Blue," and often the word "Baby," but especially in his earlier works, are ALL him gaslighting Bebe Buell. She talks about this in her autobiography, and while she comes off a little wacko, she is 300% right because once I learned about their affair every lyric made total sense.

I have to run into a meeting, but I'll pop back later for a pretty lengthy list, among the songs I'm thinking of are "I Want You," and "I Hope You're Happy Now."
posted by jbenben at 8:38 AM on May 9, 2017

You Got Lucky by Tom Petty certainly seems like it. (song starts about 1:12 or so)
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2017

Love me love me
Say that you love me
Fool me fool me
Go on and fool me
posted by redorangeyellow at 9:50 AM on May 9, 2017

Elvis Costello - Imagination (Is A Powerful Deceiver)
posted by ourobouros at 9:52 AM on May 9, 2017

This might just be my interpretation but I think the narrator in Bruno Mars' Grenade is gaslighting the romantic partner* to whom he is speaking.

Why I think this:

1) He claims the first time they kissed her eyes were open and asks why they were open -- how would he know they were open if his were closed? So he's blaming her for something he's doing too. Also, "should have known you were trouble from the first kiss" seems unreasonable if all she did was keep her eyes open.

2) On the subject of the first kiss, he literally wants her eyes shut so she doesn't know what's going on but his can be open so he does know what's going on which is almost ludicrously on the nose as gaslighting.

3) His over-the-top statements that, e.g., he would "catch a grenade" for her or "throw [his] head on a blade" for her or "jump in front of a train" for her or "take a bullet straight through [his] brain" or "die for you baby" -- these smack of using the threat of suicide to control her. At the very least, he uses a lot of violent imagery when he speaks to her.

4) He says "to give me all your love is all I ever asked" which makes it sound like he's isolating her from friends and family and is angry at her for wanting something else or not loving him. "All I ever asked" makes it sound like this is a reasonable request but it's okay not to love someone! And also loving someone doesn't meant you have to give them all your love, you can save some for friends and family and yourself.

I see nothing wrong she's done except kept her eyes open when they kissed (maybe odd? But not, like, reprehensible), not be willing to die for him (this is absolutely allowed, you don't have to die for other people just because they want you to), and not give him all her love (which she is under no obligation to do), so when he says things like "mad woman, bad woman" and "you'll smile in my face then rip the brakes out my car" he is gaslighting her because I don't see any reason to think she'd do those things but frankly based on the violent way he speaks and the imaginary infractions for which he's blaming her I think he might.

I find this song very unsettling because I think it's super, super gaslighty.

*I'm using female pronouns for this but it certainly doesn't have to be addressed to a woman.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:06 AM on May 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

juli, thanks for reminding me about that Postal Service turn. That's one of my favorite moments in all of music, esp the way she comes in early and on the upbeat, and with such stiff language! Mclovin' it.
posted by radicalawyer at 11:32 AM on May 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Someday boy, you'll reap what you sow.
You'll catch a cold and be on your own.
You will see that's what's wrong with me
Is wrong with everyone you play your little games on.

Poetry and flowers,
Pretty words and threats.
You've gone to the dogs again
And I'm not placing bets
On you coming home tonight anything but blind --
If you take me for granted then you must expect to find
Surprise, surprise -- Valentine's Day is over. It's over.
Valentine's Day is over.
"Valentine's Day is Over" -- Billy Bragg original or recommended June Tabor / Oysterband cover.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2017

I think Found Out About You by the Gin Blossoms may qualify.

All last summer in case you don't recall
I was your and you were mine forget it all
Is there a line that I could write
Sad enough to make you cry
All the lines you wrote to me were lies
The months roll past the love that you struck dead
Did you love me? Only in my head.
Things you said and did to me
Seemed to come so easily
The love I thought I'd won you give for free
posted by Surprised By Bees at 12:52 PM on May 9, 2017

Bigmouth Strikes Again by The Smiths may not be specifically about gaslighting, but it is a great depiction of narcissistic behavior. The cycle of insulting then quasi-apologizing (I'm so sorry... that you can't take a joke") is spot-on.
posted by Cranialtorque at 1:00 PM on May 9, 2017

Sharon Van Etten's songs, like Break Me, are often about abuse (and gaslighting).
posted by cnc at 9:40 PM on May 9, 2017

Del Amitri's Always The Last To Know
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:27 PM on May 9, 2017

Too Shy by Kajagoogoo and Nowhere Girl by B-Movie.
posted by Eikonaut at 11:57 PM on May 9, 2017

Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams by Camp Cope is about society gaslighting people:

"Hearing cat calls from police cars
And they say
“What you gonna do about it dressed the way you are?”
Yeah, it’s a very common lie
They say you're asking for it
When you’re walking home alone at night
The only thing that stops
A bad man with a gun
Is a good man with a gun
The lies they use to control you
Hearing cat calls from a construction yard
They’ll say, “Take it as a compliment, they’re only being nice”"

posted by FirstMateKate at 8:01 AM on May 10, 2017

Biology - Joe Jackson
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:09 AM on May 10, 2017

Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

You say I'm crazy
'Cause you don't think I know what you've done
But when you call me baby
I know I'm not the only one

posted by lunasol at 8:46 AM on May 10, 2017

Lal Meri - Bad Things
posted by Blue Genie at 9:59 PM on May 10, 2017

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