Unreliable-narrator songs?

Started wondering yesterday about songs with unreliable narrators. I feel like there are a bunch of them; any suggestions?

The song that brought this to mind is “I Won't Say (I'm in Love)” from Hercules, but she's only a little bit unreliable, or maybe she's just in denial. The next one I thought of, in somewhat the same vein, is Susan Werner's “Much At All,” with its repeated refrain “I guess that I don't miss you much at all.” (You can listen to that song on YouTube, though I recommend ignoring the added visuals.)

And there are songs in which two people make conflicting claims about what happened, like “Don't You Want Me.”

But I'd be interested in clearer-cut examples of songs where it's obvious to the listener that the narrator is an unreliable one, especially if the song never explicitly says that.

3 Responses to “Unreliable-narrator songs?”

  1. danima

    Dude. “I’m not in Love.”


    “I keep your picture on the wall / It hides an ugly stain that’s lying there.”

  2. plausible.fabulist

    I feel like the in-denial-about-love thing is its own massive chunk of the love song genre, really. So many narrators of love songs seem to be operating out of massive bad faith. Though maybe that’s not what you’re talking about…

    “it’s just a little crush, not like I faint every time we touch” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIhSnaqou0I

    or Gaga’s recent “do what you want to my body”, which seems libertine until you realize it’s incredibly dark and alienated?

    or every single sweet torch-song-of-devotion positioned as being by a singer’s semi-autobiographical persona who’s clearly a player?

    or every song that purports to be about affection when it’s really about possession…?

    it’s a slippery slope…

  3. Jed

    I don’t normally link from my blog to the Facebook versions of my blog posts, but in this case there was a long (50+ messages) comment thread, so I figure it’s worth linking to: Facebook thread. I think that’s probably visible even to people who aren’t on FB, but I’m not certain of that; apologies if not.


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