A Playlist About Not Very Nice People

Roger DaltreyThere’s a certain seductive quality to being the “bad man” in music — just about every other blues song is based upon this. But what happens when the bad man is not temptingly bad — they’re just somewhat distasteful or creepy? What happens when their misdeeds or crimes, large or small, are not something you might find sinfully enticing — just loathsome? This is not the stuff that triple-platinum hits are made of; nonetheless, several songwriters have had the courage to venture here. Here are a few of their psychological insights:

Tonio K. — H-A-T-R-E-D
Tom Lehrer — Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
Randy Newman — Short People
Tom Petty — Mary Jane’s Last Dance
Radiohead — Creep
Del Shannon — Hats Off to Larry
Stephen Sondheim — Assassins - “Unworthy of Your Love”
Sufjan Stevens — John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
The Who — Fiddle About
Frank Zappa — Bobby Brown (Goes Down)