Wednesday, 14 August 2013

My Top Ten Envy Songs (Seven Deadly Sins #6)

The more I thought about this particular sin, the more I realised it was an impossible task: I reckon at least 50% of all  pop songs ever written deal with envy of one kind or another. Here, then, are some of the most blatant...

10. Ash - Envy

Remember when Ash were a 4-piece? I envy those guys, getting to play with Charlotte Hatherley... for as long as it lasted.

9. Octopus - Jealousy

Three cheers for obscure 90s indie! Three cheers for the youtube commenter who claims "the lead singer of this band is an English teacher at my school now".

8. Nick Lowe - Where's My Everything?

This one almost made it onto the third deadly sin, but I decided it's more to do with jealousy than greed.
Where is the beautiful family home
That I was promised on the news at ten?
Like my personal place in the sun
It never happened along

And as for the greatest love of all
That's been sworn in a billion lines
And is mine by birthright
I'll bet I'll see none
7. Momus - A Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17 To 24)

Yes, I did include this on my Top Ten Sexual Songs, but it's far too good not to feature here too. Just wait for my Top Ten History Songs!
I'm jealous of the man the man you broke the heart of
Broke the heart of
I'm jealous of the men you knew before
In a life that I can never be a part of
There's more than meets the eye
In the way a stranger meets your eye, I know there's more
A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy, Parts 17-24

6. John Lennon - Jealous Guy

Given my aversion to all things Beatlacular, you might have expected me to go for the Roxy Music version. But I watched that on youtube and Bryan Ferry's 80's leer scared the bejeebus out of me, so I think I'll stick with the original.

See also Jealous Guy by Art Brut... although it only shares the title.

5. Queen - Jealousy

It's sad that they're going for a PG-friendly take on the Freddie Mercury biopic, and that in choosing to do so they've discouraged Sacha Baron-Cohen from taking part.

Still, we'll always have the real Freddie, whenever we listen to songs like this.

4. The Black Crowes - Jealous Again

The Crowes at the most Stoned. (Rolling, that is.)

3. Del Amitri - Just Like A Man

So I'm thinking "who's most likely to have written a song about jealousy... even if they haven't given an obvious nod in the song's title?" Before I even remembered this song, I thought: Justin Currie.
And just like a man he holds you gently
And just like a man he strokes your hair
And just like a man I still pretend that I'm
Immune to the whole affair...
2. The Pet Shop Boys - Jealousy

Poor Neil: he looks so glum. Somebody give him a hug!
Where've you been?
Who've you seen?
You didn't phone when you said you would!
Do you lie?
Do you try
To keep in touch? You know you could
I've tried to see your point of view
But could not hear or see
For jealousy
One of their best. Dubstar did a lovely version too.

1. Meat Loaf - More Than You Deserve

I almost put this in my Top Ten Greed Songs too, but having watched the video, I realised it's more about jealousy. It's a simple enough tale in which Meat falls in love with a girl, only to catch her making love to his best friend. Only, in classic Jim Steinman style, that's not quite enough. Before Meat knows what's happening, the object of his affection is getting off with not one of his best friends... but two... and, eventually, a whole group of them! Basically, she'll shag everyone he knows (all at once, by the sound of it): the only one she won't touch with a barge pole is poor old Meat himself. Being the nice guy he is though, Meat is prepared to step aside and watch this happen... through gritted teeth...
Won't you take some more?
It's what you came for
And don't mind me
I won't throw you no curve
Have yourself a ball with my good woman
Won't you take some more, boys?
It's more than you deserve...
(The bit where Meat bellows, "Listen here, group!" makes me howl with laughter while my heart simultaneously breaks into a million pieces every time I hear it.)

I was frankly horrified to discover I'd lived 41 years of my life ignorant to the fact that this song had a video. Perhaps the greatest video ever recorded in the history of videos. The Citizen Kane of music videos. There are times in my life when I think I could happily survive on a desert island with nothing but the complete Jim Steinman / Meat Loaf collaborations to sustain me. Having finally seen this video, I think I could even make do with just a ratty old VHS of this promo and nothing else. It's more than I deserve...

Also: Jack Black stole his entire act from Meat Loaf. Fact. 

Which song brings out your green-eyed monster?


  1. The Fields of the Nephilim - Volcane (Mr Jealousy Has Returned)... with optional "yer-hee yer-hee yerh-hee".

  2. Hi - I think I would have had Jealous Guy at number one, but that is me.

    Other suggestions:
    A 90's power ballad - I'm Jealous - The Divinyls

    80's pop - Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield (Rick wishes he had Jessie's girl, a great example of envy right there)

    then how about Richard Cory - I prefer Mark Seymour's cover, but Simon and Garfunkel's version is the more well known (they wish they could be Richard Cory, even after Cory suicides...great great song)
    (if you view this one, I think we all should be a bit envious of Art's hairdo!! hehehe...)

    1. I'm always jealous of Art's hair!

      Jessie's Girl is a top suggestion... and it reminded me of My Best Friend's Girl by The Cars, which would also have fit perfectly.

  3. Deeply concerned about swapping out envy for jealousy, but the dictionary told me I'm wrong there :-( Anyway, I'd go for Roxy Music, although it's a list peppered with greats...I might add Jilted John, but that may go one step too far...

    1. I'm intrigued to know what you thought the difference between envy and jealousy was. Us pedants should stick together.

      Jilted John was in serious consideration for a while, but I decided to save him for my Top Ten Songs For The Dumped (or something similar).

    2. Re envy/jealousy debate, I think there is a slight difference: is jealousy wanting something someone else has, whilst envy is jealousy but also resenting or feeling spiteful towards the person that has it? Maybe?

    3. I am envious of your attempt to delineate the difference. Or am I jealous?

  4. Bit late, yeah?.. but Envy is wanting something someone else has, jealousy is a worry that someone's going to take what you possess. If I'm envious of my friend, I want something they have.. whatever that might be, materialistic or not. If I'm jealous of someone, I might be afraid they're going to either take what I possess- say, job- or take someone away from me- most commonly, it is a romantic partner or a best friend.

    1. Thank you. I've never heard that distinction described so well before, but it makes perfect sense. Sadly, in common usage the distinction has been rather lost and the definitions blurred, but I appreciate he clarification.


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