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The 25 Greatest Songs About Infidelity
We'll meet you at the dark end of the street.
by Alex Heigl
Obviously, we here at Nerve are pretty firmly on the "against" side of infidelity. That said, you'd be a fool to not recognize the rich tradition of the "cheatin' song." Originally established by the Bach cantata "Lyin'-Ass Woman" Citation Needed, the cheatin' song can be pro-cheating, anti-cheating, or somewhere in the middle, as the best ones often are. Here now, then, are the twenty-five best cheatin' songs of all time.
25. Meshell Ndegeocello, "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)"
Meshell Ndegeocello is one of those perennially under-the-radar influencers who've been crushing it for ages. Unapologetically sexy and viciously groovy, "If That's Your Boyfriend" isn't the nicest song on this list, but it's certainly one of the most honest. And man, does it move.
24. The Impressions, "You've Been Cheatin'"
Curtis Mayfield moved on to larger matters (like Hell and social injustice) as his career progressed, but early on, The Impressions were just as concerned with heartbreak as they were with the bigger issues. Mayfield's sky-high voice and the sweet string arrangement behind him put this wonderfully direct ode to infidelity up there with anything coming out of Motown at the time.
23. The Doors, "Back Door Man"
Primal. Relentless. Dark. Much like Jim Morrison himself, "Back Door Man" seems unformed; ancient even. Morrison's unhinged vocal and the band's seductive sturm und drang make this one of the few Doors songs with both feet firmly planted on this plane of perception. Sometimes, infidelity isn't really about subterfuge; sometimes it's more direct than that. And sometimes, it involves eating a whole lot of chicken.
22. Connie Francis, "Lipstick On Your Collar"
A prime early example of the rock n' roll cheatin' song, "Lipstick On Your Collar" is one of the bounciest, most infectious, and squeaky-cleanest odes to infidelity you'll ever hear. But it swings like a beast (that's veteran jazzbo George Barnes's stun-gun guitar solo), and many generations of pop ingenues (like Lana Del Rey) owe their smoky appeal to Francis.
21. Prince, "Head"
Prince has enough "woman done-me-wrong" songs that you'd think he'd be a little more sensitive to infidelity. The poor girl was on her way to be wed, for Chrissakes! But then again, who among us could really resist The Purple One in his prime? And at least he doesn't deflower her totally. That's... kind of nice, right?
20. Tom Waits, "Who Are You?"
Conventional wisdom would go for "Another Man's Vine," from Blood Money, but we prefer "Who Are You" for three reasons. Sure, it's a poetic and elegant expression of the shock of finding out you've been cuckolded and the weary resignation of finding it out again and again. But beyond that, "They're lining up to mad dog your Tilt-A-Whirl / three shots for a dollar, win a real live doll" is one of the best metaphorical accusations of promiscuity ever written.