Songwriters find inspiration many of life's varied realms: Joy, grief, sex, drugs, anger and, evidently, two-timing. Some are sad, some cheeky, some violent and revengeful, but we've collected a sad-sack grab-bag of cheating-related songs.
Here is our Top 15, along with their lyrics' best (read: worst) lines.
15. Justin Timberlake, "Cry Me a River": Of course, the song's video advances "Cry Me a River" on our list, if only for the Britney Spears lookalike Timberlake cast shortly after the couple broke up amid rumors of infidelity on Britney's end. Oh. Snap.
You don't have to say what you did/ I already found out from him.
14. Soko, "I'll Kill Her": Although her lyrics are humorous, hurt and deceit - and yes, a desire to kill her ex's new squeeze - permeate Soko's song.
You never called me back/ You were dating that bleach-blonde girl/ If I find her, I swear, I'll kill her.
13. Paula Abdul, "Cold Hearted Snake": Providing us with perhaps the greatest cheating analogy in song, ever. Thanks, Paula!"
"All the world's a candy store/ He's been trick-or-treating."
12. Amy Winehouse, "You Know I'm No Good" - Say what we will about Wino (and we will), but at least the girl 'fesses up to her bad deeds.
You say, 'what did you do with him today'/ And sniff me out like I was Tanqueray/ I cheated myself, like I knew I would/ I told you I was trouble/ You know I'm no good
11. Squeeze, "Tempted": A bouncy beat and cheery chorus helps mask the song's otherwise woebegone lyrics.
Tempted by the fruit of another/ Tempted but the truth is discovered/ What's been going on, now that you have gone
10. Carrie Underwood, "Before He Cheats": However uncharacteristic it is for Rocks Off to love this song, we do. Never underestimate the vengeful wrath of a woman wronged.
I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel-drive/ Carved my name into his leather seats/ Took a Louisville slugger to both headlights/ Slashed a hole in all four tires/ Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats
9. Grandaddy, "The Warming Sun": A song replete with regret, a realistically remorseful picture of infidelity's aftermath, and our favorite track on the much-missed Californians' 2003 LP Sumday.
In a dream, you were sitting there waiting by the door for me/ But in real life, you're in another world/ You're with another guy/ Who doesn't have to cheat, and never has to lie
8. Alanis Morrisette, "You Oughta Know": Morrisette broke through with a scornful bang in her 1995 debut single, which quickly became the Anthem for Ex-lovers. Who would have ever thought it was about Uncle Joey?
And every time you speak her name/ Does she know how you told me you'd hold me until you died/ But you're still alive
7. Pedro the Lion, "Bad Diary Days": Leave it to David Bazan to so realistically paint the picture of infidelity unveiled - or as he refers to it, "stepping out."
A pair of ticket stubs in her desk, a movie I'd never seen/ I probably shouldn't ask, it sounds so accusing/ She must have forgotten to mention Girls' Night Out.
6-4. Fleetwood Mac, "Everybody Finds Out," "Tusk," "Silver Springs": Thanks to the band members' myriad tumultuous romantic entanglements, Fleetwood Mac has produced a plethora of songs about lovers' infidelity; it sucks for them, but we'll gladly reap the benefits.
Affairs of the heart that start out in the dark/ Usually stay with the night ("Everybody Finds Out")
Why don't you tell me what's going on/ Why don't you tell me who is on the phone / Why don't you ask him what's going on/ Why don't you ask him who is the latest on his throne ("Tusk")
Did you say she was pretty/ Did you say that she loves you/ Baby, I don't want to know/ And can you tell me was it worth it/ Really, I don't want to know ("Silver Springs")
3. Otis Redding, "Dreams to Remember": Can we all agree this is one of the most heart-wrenching songs ever written?
I know you said he was just a friend/ But I saw him kiss you again and again/ These eyes of mine, they don't fool me/ Why did he hold you so tenderly?
2. Dolly Parton, "Jolene":Perhaps one of music's most pathetic rationalizations for keeping a cheating man, but a damn good song, and a damn good song to cover, to boot.
He talks about you in his sleep/ There's nothing I can do to keep from crying when calls your name, Jolene
1. Hank Williams, "Your Cheatin' Heart" You simply can't write a cheating-related song list without including this famed 1953 track, released a year after Williams' death. The song is rumored to have been "inspired" by the songwriter's first wife Audrey Williams; the couple divorced in 1951, Citing "mutual infidelities."
Your cheatin' heart will pine some day/ And crave the love you threw away
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