10 Best Songs About Cheating
Infidelity has served as the inspiration to many great songs — some told from the perspective of cheaters, others from the cheated upon. And it’s easy to see why. From lust and secrecy to betrayal and paranoia, the act of cheating is riddled with emotion. Throw in the desire to seek revenge, and you’ve got a topic that promises to never get old. The following 10 Best Songs About Cheating are some of our favorites. We could have gone with a million others, but unlike the folks in these tunes, we remain faithful to the ones we love!
‘Tangerine’ – First Aid Kit
At the time of their 2008 debut EP, ‘Drunken Trees,’ Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit’s Johanna and Klara Söderberg were a mere 17 and 15, respectively. The sisters continue to sing songs well beyond their years, and ‘Tangerine,’ a track from the EP, is a perfect example. The song tells the story of business trips, infidelity and feeling unable to compete with the other woman. The sisters’ harmonies deliver some of the sweetest heartbreak we’ve heard as they sing, “I’m not going to beg, just say, ‘Please, please, please be good to me.’”
‘Portions for Foxes’ – Rilo Kiley
‘Portions for Foxes,’ No. 9 on our list of the Best Songs About Cheating, tells the too-often-true story of toxic yet inescapable relationships. Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis sings about a couple who are no good for each other, both succumbing to infidelity in moments of loneliness. Despite acknowledging both parties are “bad news,” Lewis concludes, “I don’t care, I like you.”
‘9 Crimes’ – Damien Rice
On his sophomore album, ‘9,’ Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice sings about cheating on the first track, ‘9 Crimes.’ In the melancholic tune, the singer admits to his infidelity as he sings, “It’s the wrong kind of place to be cheating on you. / It’s the wrong time.” Makes us wonder: What is the right place and time for cheating?
‘Notes in His Pockets’ – The Good Life
The Good Life’s 2004 LP ‘Album of the Year’ chronicles the demise of a relationship, primarily due to unfaithfulness. ‘Notes in His Pockets,’ next up on our Best Songs About Cheating list, addresses the instances of the boyfriend’s affairs with former flames. His girlfriend suspects him of cheating as rumors circulate, phone calls appear from unlisted numbers and, of course, the notes in his pockets. Although he denies it, by the song’s end, she is determined to catch him in the act.
‘Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ – The Smiths
On their final album, ‘Strangeways Here We Come,’ the Smiths recorded this classic song about cheating. In it, Morrissey denies accusations he’s lied to his significant other while piling on increasingly outrageous excuses for why he hasn’t come home to the person. Nonetheless, the singer promises nothing has changed, “I still love you, only slightly less than I used to.” Ouch.
‘Ten Cent Pistol’ – The Black Keys
The Black Keys’ ‘Ten Cent Pistol’ tells a tale of cheating gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Ohio duo’s Dan Auerbauch sings of a woman seeking revenge on her philandering partner and his mistress. If this song’s any indication, there really is nothing worse than “payback from a jealous girl.”
‘Yeah! Oh Yeah!’ – The Magnetic Fields
On their brilliantly funny 1999 set ’69 Love Songs,’ Magnetic Fields focus on matters of the heart, and given that the album is three discs long, it would be surprising if a song about cheating didn’t materialize. It does in the form of ‘Yeah! Oh Yeah!’ — No. 4 on our list of the Best Songs About Cheating. Portraying a suspicious wife, singer Claudia Gonson asks her husband — played by singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt — whether he’s fallen out of love with her. His reply: “Yeah! Oh yeah!” This is also his response when Gonson asks, “Are you having an affair?”
‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ – White Stripes
The song that arguably put the White Stripes on the map, ‘Fell in Love With a Girl,’ centers on a narrator who has fallen hard and fast for a girl. While he tries to grapple with his brain and heart, knowing full well his lust may just be a passing phase, the girl’s boyfriend, good-old Bobby, gives the go-ahead for some riverside smooching, because he doesn’t “consider it cheating.” Seems legit…
‘Mr. Brightside’ – The Killers
Despite the anthemic nature of ‘Mr. Brightside,’ one of The Killers’ breakout hits from their 2004 debut LP, ‘Hot Fuss,’ the song actually depicts the suspicions of a scorned lover. Whether or not frontman Brandon Flowers was drawing from personal experience, this tune about jealousy and distrust earns its spot on our list of the Best Songs About Cheating.
‘Criminal’ – Fiona Apple
Topping our list of the Best Songs About Cheating is Fiona Apple’s breakthrough hit ‘Criminal.’ In the dark, sultry tune, the singer comes clean about indiscretions against her lover and begs forgiveness. Although Apple has said the song was about feeling guilty for getting what she wants by leveraging her sexuality, the song makes it all sound pretty good — plus, it earned her a Grammy.