Cheating Beats: 15 of the Best Songs About Stepping Out
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because very few surprises in love end up being good ones.
By Eugene S. Robinson
- If cheating didn’t feel so good maybe so many people wouldn’t do it. And its coming with a soundtrack is a plus. Or is that a minus?
- The music of passion has its basis in that which is passionate. And nothing is more so than when someone exercises their out option.
You come home a little early. Or maybe there’s an errant text message at an unusual time of day (or night) that arrives right after a stilted meeting with someone you’ve been convinced is “just a friend.”
There are lots of different faces to this look, but when the hammer finally drops and it’s you trying to figure out how you could have been so blind and what went wrong, nothing does it quite as well as having a soundtrack to do it to.
So we asked and you answered and here are our favorite 15 songs that underscore that Suckerville just got another resident and that resident might be you.
15. Type O Negative, “Unsuccessfully Coping With the Natural Beauty of Infidelity”: Far from being the most politically correct of tunes, this 1991 cut off of the goth-metal fivesome’s first record is an almost 13-minute scream of post-discovery sorrow. Best line: “Trust and you’ll be trusted/Says the liar to the fool.”
14. Oxbow, “Angel”: Yeah, you knew there had to be a reason for this one, right? Someone asks you to murder their husband and you’re the lead singer? You do the next best thing and write a song about it and get Lydia Lunch to sing on it. “I crept around by the yellowing window, not wanting to believe my eyes or listen to the whisper of my pistol.”
13. Ghostface Killah, Carl Thomas, Raekwon, “Never Be the Same Again”: You’ll need a scorecard to keep track of the Wu-Tang Clan and subsequent offshoots, but this rare glimpse beyond the bling and into the repercussions of road life plays true.
12. Connie Francis, “Who’s Sorry Now?”, Francis is a giant and anyone who lived through a rape, a Mafia hit on a brother and a husband who divorced her post-rape because he didn’t “like losers” might sing a song like this with near-biblical authority.
11. Riskay, “Smell Yo Dick”: “My girl was there she witness/She had a camera phone she took pictures/You was on the dance flo grindin’/With a stripper ho named Diamond.” ’Nuff said.
10. Garth Brooks, “The Thunder Rolls”: Remember when Garth Brooks decided to erase Garth Brooks and turned into the Prince-esque alter ego Chris Gaines? We don’t know the causal connections between one and the other, but we’re sure they exist. “Another love grows cold on a sleepless night”? Yeah, Brooks has been there.
9. Johnnie Taylor, “Who’s Making Love”: Taylor’s take on infidelity captures the paranoia that attends such affairs, when he asks, “Who’s making love to your old lady when you’re out making love?” If your response was anything like ours, at first you laugh. And then you don’t.
8. Burna Boy, “On the Low”: A Nigerian cat who hit it big in 2012 but only last year nailed down a BET Award for best international act tries to rescue the “on the low” idea for illicit heterosexual activity. He almost succeeds.
7. Koko Taylor, “You Can Have My Husband”: “You can have my husband, but please don’t mess with my man!” You see what she did there? She’s married and she’s cheating. Which makes infidelity seem sort of … fun?
6. Dr. John, “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark (When You Come Around)”: And as long as you’re still laughing about Koko Taylor’s turn of phrase, Dr. John ups it and blames his canine companion. Man’s best friend? Yeah, but which man?
5. Amy Winehouse, “Back to Black”: Dying from causes that are less than natural (alcohol in the case of Winehouse) raises the valence of personally involved misery connected to the vicissitudes of Cheating Street. To have it captured on video complete with funereal imagery is more than a little chilling.
4. David Allan Coe, “Now I Lay Me Down to Cheat”: This song is almost — no, definitely — a horror story. He acknowledges his love for his wife, but offers zero justification for a 20-year relationship with a friend of hers. Other than alcohol, which is enough, we guess. “He prays this simple prayer and hopes make it past the motel ceiling.”
3. Slick Rick, “Mistakes of a Woman in Love With Other Men”: With a title that sounds like a movie by Buñuel, Rick the Ruler scores with an unexpectedly sensitive take on the terrible moment of discovery when the fact that things are rotten in Denmark becomes aggressively apparent.
2. Albert King, “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”: After a moment of contemplation it’s pretty clear that a generalized desire to get sexy has taken on a very specific interest in blowing the lid off so that the need for sneaking will be a thing of the past. Which is why they call this the blues.
And without further ado, the king …
1. Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs. Jones”: Classic. Straight out of Philly, Paul’s paean to infidelity is the tune that launched 1,000 affairs. “We gotta be extra careful that we don’t build our hopes up too high” is a deft weave of a silky exit strategy, while creating the original basis for it. Genius, 360 degrees of genius.