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Unintentionally Unsympathetic / Music

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  • Taylor Swift:
    • The protagonist of "You Belong With Me". This is about a shy girl who has a crush on a boy who already has a girlfriend but, as the title suggest, she feels that he's obligated to be with her because she somehow understands him better, with no indication that she's said anything to him to indicate her interest in being more than friends. Then she criticizes his girlfriend for wearing high heels and short skirts. The video also portrays her as a stalker. The whole song comes off as a more passive-aggressive version of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend".
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    • "Better Than Revenge" is about a woman who is mad that another 'stole' her crush. It's quite easy to view the protagonist as very in the wrong though. There isn't even concrete proof that the woman took her boyfriend - they could have been in a steady relationship or in a flirtatious pre-dating state - but the protagonist is absolutely rabid at the other woman for having the guts to be interested in the same guy as her. There's a fair share of Slut-Shaming in the song and it's vague how far she'll go with her revenge but it doesn't sound like she'll go easy on the woman.
  • The title character of Bruce Springsteen's song "Johnny 99", who is sentenced to 99 years in prison for a murder he committed while drunk over the loss of his job. The song does its best to portray him as a victim of a broken system, even demonizing the judge who sentences him, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still a killer and that most people who have been in his situation haven't killed anyone.
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  • The protagonist of 38 Special's tender ballad "Second Chance" really sells how sorry he is over a mistake he made, and the song pressures the subject to stop making such a big deal over it and take him back. The singer then proceeds to specify that the mistake was cheating on her, and defends it by saying this of the girl he cheated with: "I never loved her, I never needed her. She was willing and that's all there is to say." In other words, the guy didn't cheat because he's a flawed man who was tempted and gave in to his own weakness and selfish impulses; he cheated on her because he could, and then tries to guilt his lover for holding that against him. It makes him seem more like a self-absorbed sociopath than a man who's genuinely contrite over what most people consider a very serious betrayal of trust. It's telling that when vocalist Max Carl first heard the demo, his immediate response was "The guy in the song sounded like a real jerk."
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  • In the Megadeth song "1,000 Times Goodbye", we're clearly supposed to sympathize with the protagonist, since his lover left him for another man. However, her voice clips make it clear that she's been suffering for years under him and tried repeatedly to make their relationship work, making the protagonist sound more like a narcissistic jerk than a jilted spouse.
  • The Bullet for My Valentine album The Poison has several songs relating to finding out that a girlfriend or love interest is sleeping with other people, and how painful this is to experience. However, this becomes less sympathetic and more disturbing when the protagonist is revealed to be a violent stalker in "Hit the Floor" (one who has apparently put thought into how and when he could attack his target) and that his retaliation over her infidelity is to murder her and any man he catches her with (as shown in "Room 409" and "The Poison"). Yes, cheating is bad, but stalking and murder are usually considered to be far worse things.
  • Drake's "Hotline Bling" is probably supposed to come off as the lamentations of an ex who feels a deep sense of disappointment and unfulfillment in regard to a failed relationship and can't stop being reminded of how much better than him his former partner seems to be doing. Instead, he comes off as a whiny, clingy, prudish, controlling Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who can't come to terms with the fact that his ex has become her own person and deals with it by whining about how she's a lesser person for no longer being at his beck and call.
  • The protagonist in "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood. We're supposed to root for her when she trashes her boyfriend's car, giving him his just desserts as revenge for him cheating on her. The problem is we don't even know if he's cheating; she's acting on unfounded and unproven suspicions and seems to take pride in it.
  • Icon for Hire's "Sorry About Your Parents" is about Abusive Parents/Parental Neglect and how to pick yourself up from a bad childhood. The problem are the lines "I know it's not your fault. It never is, is it? (is it? is it?)" The way she emphasises "is it?" makes some fans think she's victim blaming abuse victims.
  • Raydio's "You Can't Change That" sounds like a pretty romantic song, unless you listen to the rather disturbing lyrics. If your romantic love is in any way reciprocated, it probably shouldn't be phrased as having the second party be powerless to stop it... unless you're just trying to sound menacing and creepy. By the time the singer is promising to love the object of his affections even if she changes her phone number, address and appearance, it feels less like an expression of his loyalty and devotion, and more of an implicit threat that he'll start cutting pieces off of her if she ever tries to escape again.
  • The P!nk song "Please Don't Leave Me" is supposed to be a simple song about a love-hate relationship the protagonist can't bring herself to end for good. Unfortunately, the music video removes any sympathy for the protagonist by portraying her as a deranged madwoman who ties her partner to a bed and breaks his legs with a golf club so he literally can't leave her. Later, she's shown smearing makeup on his face and then pushing him down a staircase while he's stuck in a wheelchair because of said broken legs.
  • In the Rihanna song “Unfaithful,” the listeners are supposed to sympathize with the lady cheating on the man because she feels guilty of it. Instead, she came off as unsympathetic for not only cheating on the guy in the first place, but also not immediately stopping even after she got caught. Also, if the genders were reversed, nobody would be sympathetic at all.


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