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  • James 08:00 on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: music, , , psychopaths in song, , reader participation, , , spotify,   

    Songs about psychopaths – Spotify playlist now available! 

    Howdy, gentle readers. 
    Terrifying, dead shark eyes: Check. - THE COVER OF SWIFT'S "BAD BLOOD" SINGLE

    “Love’s a game. Want to play?”

    Long time followers of this blog may remember a post from 2015, Psychopaths in Song. It lists an ever-growing number of songs that I (and plenty of other readers) have discovered seem to be about psychopaths.  This is not, and has never been a list of my favourite songs, nor of those that others like. But there are a hell of a lot of great songs from From Frank Sinatra’s smoothly crooned promises, to Taylor Swift’s cycle of destructive relationships, each track has been picked for its illumination of one or more of the aspects of the psychopathic condition.
    Now, our humble list has been turned into a Spotify playlist! It has over 140 songs spanning practically every genre and era of the past sixty plus years of popular music, so give it a listen here.
    My thanks go to the many people who have contributed song ideas since the post was first published. The continued interest in the article means a lot to me. Of course, if there are any songs you know that really should be on the list but have been missed, do get in touch.
     
    • nowve666 10:22 on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The wide range and diversity of these songs suggests that the great Dionysus needs psychopathy to be properly creative. What would people sing about if not for that?

      Like

      • James 18:00 on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I’m just intrigued. What has Dionysus got to do with this?

        Like

        • nowve666 19:40 on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

          Dionysus is the god of music. Ever read Nietsche’s The Birth of Tragedy?

          Like

          • James 07:49 on December 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

            That was supposed to be a reply to you.

            Like

    • James 07:48 on December 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Right. I knew he was the god of wine, but I guess he wouldn’t be much of a god if he couldn’t multitask. I haven’t read any Nietzsche in full.

      Liked by 1 person

  • James 10:02 on May 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Billy Joel, Bruno Mars, Charlie Daniels, Elton John, Eminem, , , , Frank Sinatra, , Johnny Cash, , Metallica, music, , , , , , Queen, Rihanna, , , Taylor Swift, , ,   

    Psychopaths in Song 

    It’s our sixth article in the space of 24 hours – which is insane. But if you can stomach one more, here’s a musical interlude… 

    Psychopaths, they’re everywhere. At work. In government. On the telly. And in music, too. There are many songs out there that were clearly written with psychopaths in mind – and many others which probably weren’t but which fit the theme nonetheless.
    The following is a list of ten very well-known songs by ten very well-known artists, from a variety of genres and eras, that – as I am going to argue – are all about psychopathy. You are invited to listen to them while reading and decide for yourself whether I am right.

    Blank Space – Taylor Swift (2014)

    Let’s face it, Taylor Swift basically admits to being a psychopath in Blank Space – especially if the rumours are true that this is actually how her relationships proceed. Among the best lines are: “I can show you incredible things: magic, madness, heaven, sin”; “Boys only want love if it’s torture”; “I can read you like a magazine”; “Love’s a game, wanna play?”; “I’ll find out what you want, be that girl for a month, but the worst is yet to come”, “You’ll come back each time you leave, cos darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream”. Even the title says it all: a blank space in an empty soul waiting to be filled by some unsuspecting sucker.

    Cry, Cry, Cry – Johnny Cash (1957)

    This one’s told from the perspective of an unhappy – and irritatingly moralising – husband of a female psychopath. The song is a warning about the consequences of the psychopath’s promiscuous and dishonest behaviour – the implication being that if she carries on as she’s going, she’ll end up completely alone:

    “When your fickle love gets old, no one will care for you
    Then you’ll come back to me for a little love that’s true
    I’ll tell you no and you’re gonna ask me why, why, why
    When I remind you of all of this and you’ll cry, cry, cry”

    Gee, that sounds horrible. Maybe I should listen to what Mr. Cash is saying and take heed.
    I probably won’t.

    Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra (1964)

    OK, so this one isn’t actually anything to do with psychopaths – but it could be. It reflects the initial seduction phase of our relationships down to a tee. The joy of infatuation, the beauty of the exotic Other, the ‘sky’s the limit’ promises, and the whisking away of the target from everyone she knows – it’s all here. Not surprising really; as a probable psychopath himself, Sinatra knew what he was talking about.

    Grenade – Bruno Mars (2010)

    In short, this is about being in love with somebody who couldn’t care less about you. The narrator has been manipulated to the point where he would do absolutely anything for the psychopath in his life – even though he knows the psychopath wouldn’t lift a finger for him. From the lyrics: “If my body was on fire, you’d watch me burn down in flames.” But Bruno Mars is probably not singing from personal experience: just look at that man; would you be able to hurt those sad puppy dog eyes? Mind you, his girlfriend’s pretty hot too, so she could do even better.

    I’m Still Standing – Elton John (1983)

    Though this is primarily a song about survival and recovery – and shows that people can grow enormously after dealings with a psychopath – there are a few lines that suggest the sort of person John was singing about, especially the first verse:

    “You could never know what it’s like
    Your blood like winter freezes just like ice
    And there’s a cold and lonely light that shines from you
    You will wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use”

    Despite the song’s joyful melody, I can certainly sense a deep bitterness behind the lyrics’ bravado. Much like the spiel of our good friends over at Psychopathy Awareness. Maybe it’s time they took a leaf out of Idina Menzel’s book.

    Killer Queen – Queen (1974)

    According to the band, the killer queen in question is a high class escort, but there are some strong psychopathic overtones about her character too. Not only is she “well-versed in etiquette” and speaks “just like a baroness” (when she needs to), she’s also “guaranteed to blow your mind”, “playful (or faithful, depending on who you believe) as a pussy cat” and has an “insatiable appetite”. So here we have the temptation of the ‘bad girl’ (or bad boy) psychopath laid bare, even after you know what she is.
    Wanna try?
    You wanna try.
    Special shout out to Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy as well, for showing the other end of the charm spectrum: the perfectly polished gentleman lover.

    Love The Way You Lie – Eminem (ft. Rihanna) (2010)

    We’re a long way from the gentleman psychopath here; instead this one’s barely keeping a lid on his rage. Luckily for him, Rihanna’s addicted and though she keeps leaving, she never stays away for long. In her refrain, there’s more “watch[ing] me burn” and we learn she loves the pain. Yeah, you take it.
    In Eminem’s bit, he fakes being sorry over the number of times he’s promised to change but lied (“Sound like broken records playing over but you promised her”), he blames his girl for being just as bad as he is (“Your temper’s just as bad… you’re just the same as me”) and then finally comes clean about his true self: “I know I’m a liar. If she ever tries to fucking leave again, Imma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire”.
    Girl, you’ve scored!

    Master of Puppets – Metallica (1986)

    A song all about control. There really are fewer things finer than exercising power over somebody else, either overtly or covertly, and here Metallica capture it perfectly. There’s the ecstasy of power, but there’s also its brutality and all-consuming addictiveness. And the song goes even further. For the more power you have over somebody, the less they cease to be an individual, more just an extension of yourself, a toy. A word of warning, for your current and future dealings with psychopaths: you’d better obey your master.

    She’s Always A Woman – Billy Joel (1977)

    Another female psychopath- you’re doing well here, ladies! But this one is a bit different. Here, the singer seems fully aware of what his lover is. He describes her in fine detail: she’s a liar, she’s a thief, she’s manipulative, she’s selfish, she’s cruel – but she’s also fragile, child-like, intelligent, persevering, charming and brings out the best – and worst – in you. And this is what the singer truly believes. Because, despite (or perhaps because of?) her psychopathic characteristics, he is head over heels in love. Could that stem from the realisation, with “the most she can do is throw shadows at you” (she can only hurt you if you let her), that really she’s harmless?

    The Devil Went Down To Georgia – The Charlie Daniels Band (1979)

    Here we are at the end, with the ultimate psychopath. It’s Old Scratch himself! There are two levels to my reasoning for this song’s inclusion – well, three, this song’s freaking awesome! But the two important levels are (i) the concept of soul-stealing, the Devil’s favourite hobby, is very similar to the topic I outlined above with Metallica’s help: total possession of somebody else. When I was a young kid, I convinced dozens of my classmates to ‘give me their souls’ à la Bart Simpson, and I treasured the power it gave me over them, both perceived (in my child’s brain) and real (the other kids bought into the fantasy too). Anyway, that’s a tangent. The other level to my reasoning is (ii) the cunningness of the devil. He ‘loses’ the game and plays a far inferior fiddle solo to the young boy Johnny. But that doesn’t matter, because he’s already played on the boy’s pride in order to trick him into gambling with his immortal soul – sacrilege, which is a carnal sin. The best part of all this? Johnny goes away thinking he’s won. He taunts the Devil, and tries to humiliate him further by replaying his winning solo. But when he dies, the Devil will get the last, cruel, delicious laugh. Because Johnny’s a sinner. And he’s going to burn.

    So there you have it

    What do you think, am I on the mark? Are there any I missed?
    (On that subject, here’s a list, some gleaned from online, others from off the top of my head, of some other well-known songs reportedly about psychopaths. Because I’m so generous, I’ve included a link to every song…  except one. Bonus prize for finding the dud!
    Oh and pretty much anything by Chris Brown. You know why.)
     
  • James 13:39 on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , I believe in Nessie, , music, , porridge, , ,   

    No True Psychopath 

    It was inevitable. You give an English person a mouthpiece and an audience, and he will use it to rip on the Scots.

    I was recently talking to somebody about being psychopath (as you do) and he asked me if I can feel happiness. I responded in the affirmative, because who on this planet is actually incapable of feeling happy? When he pressed me for an example of something that makes me happy, I said I like music. I hope we’re all in agreement that although they are undoubtedly some weirdos who hate music, the vast majority of humans do like it and that it is not inconceivable that even some of the more antisocial members of the species find something to appreciate about it.

    However, I also admit there are some good reasons to (wrongly) believe that no psychopath likes music. “Their brains are completely different from ours” and “if they can’t empathise, how can they care about slushy love songs?” are two possible Very Good Reasons Indeed to believe psychopaths can’t like music. They’re wrong, but they are at least reasonable. However our little friend (we haven’t yet given him a name, which I feel is very unhelpful for us gossiping about him like this. Let’s give him some really horrible, revolting name that makes you want to vomit blood, and rams home the idea that he’s the villain of the story) did not have such a good reason. No, our little friend Gabe had a very poor, ill-thought-out reason to believe that psychopaths are incapable of liking music. Gabe said, and I quote:

    “How can you enjoy music then?? If you have no emotions??!! Wtf”

    Sigh. But didn’t I just say that I am capable of feeling happy. Therefore that must mean I do have some emotions? Gabe’s response:

    “Real psychopaths do not feel happy, in order to feel happiness you must first feel pain so you can distinguish between the two emotions. So go away and and dont act like you are a psychopath. Idiot”

    Gotta love it when somebody who can’t spell or reason logically gets off on calling other people idiots! And what about that reasoning? Aside from the fact that pain had not already been mentioned so it had not been established whether or not psychopaths can feel pain (and we know they can, don’t we?), what I’m really interested in here is his opening words. “Real psychopaths do not feel happy”.

    If you know about philosophy or logic, or if you have that one annoying friend who’s always telling you why your logic sucks (or maybe you are that annoying friend), you will have heard of the No True Scotsman fallacy. The basic narrative of the fallacy is a Scotsman, McDoogle, proudly declaring to his friend McClutterbuck that no Scotsman sugars his porridge. But McClutterbuck disagrees: “I am a Scotsman. I’m from Auchtermuchty, born and raised, like you. I always sugar my porridge, och aye”. McDoogle then watches on in horror as McClutterbuck proceeds to tip the bag of sugar over his bowl of porridge and begin to devour his breakfast like a starving man. “Well”, he fumes, enraged like a true Scot by being proven wrong, “no true Scotsman sugars his porridge!”

    What does all this mean? In order to defend his claim that no Scotsmen put sugar in their porridge, McDougle has resorted to redefining what it means to be a Scotsman. He has rejected McClutterbuck’s evidence that some Scotsmen do sugar their porridge by denying him his Scotmanship (what a lovely word). In the same way, in order to save face against my assertion that psychopaths can be happy and listen to music, Gabe has in effect moved the goalposts to make it impossible for me to contradict him, because no matter what I say, if it doesn’t fit within his changeable definition of a ‘true psychopath’, he won’t accept it.

    “Great”, you might be thinking, “So I have just read 600 words of a butthurt little pussy trying to prove a stranger wrong days after the fact.” And wouldn’t that suck? Fortunately, there is a point to all this. You see, Gabe’s little brainfart is just one of many recent examples I’ve seen of people attempting to control what is and is not possible within psychopathy by invoking the No True Scotsman fallacy. Many of these people’s ideas are based on the assumption that psychopaths have no emotion whatsoever. Maybe that’s our own fault for faking emotions, but it’s still retarded to think that any human can be completely emotionless without being seriously, utterly, irreversibly goo-coming-out-your-ears level of brain-damaged. Anyone who dares to suggest that psychopaths may be capable of some level of emotional depth will, at some point, be subjected to a brain fart saying “no true psychopath experiences emotion”. Go ahead and look at the comments for The Hidden Suffering of the Psychopath, they’ll be there. Even more absurd is the common reaction, usually on some kind of Q&A forum, to threads such as “Am I a psychopath?” or “I think I’m a sociopath, can anyone advise?”.  There will always be one of Gabe’s cerebrally-flatulent friends in the thread asserting that the “OP can’t possibly be a psychopath because true psychopaths don’t know they’re one” Uh huh, go and tell that to that to James Fallon, or to M.E. Thomas, or to one of the many psychopathic blog authors out there.

    So there you have it folks. Stop going into discussions with too many pre-conceived ideas. Listen. Be prepared to get it wrong. And for god’s sake, read up on the No True Scotsman fallacy and don’t keep unwittingly using it just because you can’t bear being wrong.

    With that request in mind, I will of course very humbly accept any comments or criticisms you have. I would especially love to hear from somebody who thinks everything I just wrote is utter shit. So what are you waiting for?

    Annoyed that the name of the fallacy isn’t No True Irishman, because I would have so put this song up top:

    Seriously, you guys, please do take a moment to leave a comment. If you don’t, you’ll only have me thinking I explained everything perfectly, and that will play havoc with my ego.

     
    • Amaterasu Solar 15:35 on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      [smile] I agreed with the whole, so perhaps I’m not the One You want comments from.

      Liked by 2 people

    • awareb4 19:54 on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi James,

      I agree with you that Psychopaths can feel happiness but, I believe it is a different type of emotional connection. I feel as an empath, an overwhelming happiness that is hard to describe but, I will try.
      It’s different from ‘physical’ happiness that comes with an adrenaline surge of pleasure that you might get when you accomplish or win something etc…you know, that ‘sense of achievement ‘happiness that we all have at different times.
      Emotional happiness is a deep seeded warmth that floods your body & brain & is a mixture of happy, joy, love, compassion & pleasure etc….it’s not tangible & it can be overwhelming or just mild depending on what invokes it.
      I think a psychopath is more likely to experience ‘pleasure’ happiness rather than ‘love,joy,compassion’ happiness. Does that make sense?
      As for the Scotsman’s porridge & being of Scottish decent, I like it with or without sugar! 😉
      Mainly because, sugar makes you fat! 😉
      Thanks for your thoughts & blog.
      Awareb4.

      P.S. I love the ‘Brainfart’ & will use that one!

      Liked by 2 people

      • James 03:57 on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Hi there,

        Yes, I think you’re right that there are different degrees of happiness. Would you count contentment as part of your second ‘deeper’ kind? I feel a sense of ‘achievement’ happiness every time somebody comments, likes or shares one of my posts, so I must thank you for doing at least one of those.

        Thanks for stopping by 🙂

        PS: You may not use “brainfart” unless you pay me royalty. You already owe $5 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • James 15:39 on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I think my previous reply was rather poor, mainly because I was very tired and a bit confused.

        Anyway, many thanks for sharing your experience of deeper happiness that it an alien emotion to me, as far as I’m aware. I’m not sure how happiness and joy really differ, though I think a normal person would say they do. It certainly looks different on people’s faces. As for love and compassion, well I don’t know why they would be a part of happiness (maybe a reason for happiness…) but that goes toward proving your argument.

        To elaborate on my question of contentment, when I am doing something that I enjoy greatly (a solitary ramble in the countryside, a long and beautiful meal, listening to music), I feel something akin to what you’re describing, though it is a self-directed emotion.

        Don’t say you’ve inherited that Scottish temper too 😉

        Like

        • nowve666 14:30 on June 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

          WAH! Is this blog closed to comments? But I found one. “I Was Only Joking” by Rod Stewart. Perhaps more ASPD than Psychopathy but pretty classic anyway.

          Like

          • James 11:06 on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

            We’re never closed, I just don’t check in much anymore. Love Rod, thanks for that.

            Liked by 1 person

            • nowve666 10:09 on November 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

              There really is no more button to add comments but I’ll get my in this way. Would you believe it? My first serious sexual relationship which was with a flaming psychopath, excited my masochism. This song evoked my masochism and highlighted his psychopathy. I was 17 and he was 30 at the time, but, being a speed freak, he seemed a lot older. The song is supposed to be humorous but it was a lot more to me:

              Liked by 1 person

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