October 2006: Watch out, watch out

Jarvis Cocker edited last Sunday’s Observer Music Monthly and it included a fantastic piece about unintentionally scary songs.

Suggestions included Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire thanks to the lyric, ‘Hey little girl is your daddy home?’ Billy Bragg apparently called it ‘the rapist’s song’. Ugh. And some really disturbing music/murder connections which I won’t repeat here cos they’re too horrible.

Ultravox’s Dancing With Tears in My Eyes is suggested and that would have to be one of mine too. Scared the crap out of me due to ever-present teenage nuclear war paranoia (thanks to that sodding Protect & Survive campaign). Two Tribes for the same reason. Still can’t hear that siren and ‘if your grandmother or any other member of your family should die whilst in the shelter, put them outside, but remember to tag them first for identification purposes’ without wanting to burst into tears.

There’s an in-between bit on Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation album where you hear snatches of different TV or radio channels and (and I haven’t heard it for a long time, so you’ll have to excuse the vagueness) there’s something about a school shooting and in my mind you hear children screaming (though you might not really). I remember listening to that album on my walkman, while on a National Express overnight coach that had stopped for a driver break in a dark garage in Birmingham. Earlier I’d been reading one of the True Crime magazines I was into at the time. The combination gave me a right nervy episode that I don’t like to think about even now.


Hey Matthew by Karel Fialka – god, just got total shivers thinking of that ‘The A-Team, The A-Team, I see the A-Team’ bit.

– In fact, anything with children singing. Grocer Jack, which was on an album we used to play when I worked in Waterstone’s. That one from The Lost Boys.

The Humphrey Song by the Mad Hatters. “Watch out, watch out, watch out, watch out … there’s a Humphrey about!”

Puff the Magic Dragon makes me cry. Well, it would if I ever listened to it, but I get shivers just thinking about it so I don’t.

Bright Eyes is more creepy/upsetting than scary (probably linked to the fact that I had to be carried weeping out of a school showing of Watership Down). Also We Are Siamese from The Aristocats.

Jeez. After all that I’m going to have to go and not lie down in a very bright room.

So what are yours then?

2 thoughts on “October 2006: Watch out, watch out

  1. I have genuinely only right now this moment realised what ‘Hey Matthew’ is about. I just thought it was nice to have a song about the A-Team, because I liked the A-Team and they didn’t appear in songs very often.

    Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks is a good one. We had joy, we had fun, I’M DEAD NOW. Not unintentionally scary but the sort of thing you’d cheerfully sing along to and then…oh.

    1. Ha! And, yes, Seasons in the Sun is in I Hate Myself and I Want to Die about depressing songs. Alone Again, Naturally is another one that sounds happy, but is NOT.

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