So here’s what I got this week: passive aggression. My parents are coming up to visit. Unfortunately, this is the trait to which I least look forward in one or both my parents. So I’m listing for you now the five most passive-aggressive pop songs that currently come to mind.
[“Casio’s Mom”: this is your cue for a comeback.]
1. Bob Dylan, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
This is easily, hands down, the most passive-aggressive pop song ever written. Picture a jilted, butthurt folkie walking slowly away from the scene of the breakup, stopping every few feet to peek over his shoulder and see if she’s changed her mind, or maybe just looking out the window long enough to catch his puppy dog eyes.
Case in point: “I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind / You coulda done better, but I don’t mind / You just kinda wasted all my precious time / But don’t think twice, it’s alright”
2. The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”
I’ve learned a lot in the 18 years I’ve been dating. One thing I've learned is that if you have to ask, the answer is probably “no.” In this case, if you have to ask, the answer is probably “go,” Mick.
3. Mr. T Experience, “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend”
For a week or two during my senior year of high school, this was one of my favorite songs. It resonated with me. Dr. Frank had a point: “I’m not as bad as Hitler / But it doesn’t mean a thing / Because they’d rather be with Hitler more than me.” I was 17 and probably could have gotten laid if I didn’t dye my hair weird colors and wear pajamas to class every day. Dr. Frank was 30 and probably could have gotten a girlfriend if he didn’t write songs called “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend”.
4. Beck, “I Just Started Hating Some People Today”
The story goes: Beck was in town. He made the obligatory stop at Third Man. He and Jack White racked their Facebook feeds for the most cryptic and passive aggressive status update they could find. This was the winner.
5. Carly Simon, “You’re So Vain”
Literally every man who’s so much as planted a kiss on Carly Simon’s face as far back as the third grade probably claims this song is about him. At first glance, it’s just kind of a bitter haterade anthem on a dude who’s obviously ballin’ too hard to give this lady the time of day. But Simon herself has spent the past four decades dribbling out clues in the form of singular letters that appear in the name of the subject. And that, my friends, is some long-term passive-aggressive dedication.