High Variance

Playing the Victim

The eighties are not known as a time of soul bearing honesty (see Iran-Contra), but eighties music is full of cheesy earnestness about love in its various messy forms. Eighties singers told the hard truths even when it made them look weak. Here are four great examples of eighties guys who weren’t afraid to play the victim:

  • Everything She Wants (by Wham, 1984): George Michael is having a rough time with a no-good money-grubbing girlfriend. I smile every time he finds out she’s pregnant and says “If my best isn’t good enough, how can it be good enough for two? I can’t work any harder than I do!” Maybe this was the incident that turned him off women forever? Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  • I’ve Done Everything For You (Rick Springfield, 1981): Based on my analysis of his catalog, this guy seems like he was just a bad boyfriend. He lusted after his friend Jessie’s girl. He told his girl not to talk to strangers. And here he says “I’ve done everything for you; you’ve done nothing for me!” At least he was good looking!

  • Don’t You Want Me?(by The Human League, 1981) This is another case of a guy who did everything–“I picked you out, I shook you up, and turned you around” and she’s got the nerve to dump him. What’s unique in this song is that she gets the opportunity to tell her side of the story.

  • The Rain (by Oran Juice Jones, 1986): Here’s where we see that eighties male victimhood crossed race lines. The best part of the song is when we listen in on Mr. Jones confronting his cheating girlfriend and telling her “You gotta get on outta here with that alley-cat-coat-wearing, punch-bucket-shoe-wearing crumbcake I saw you with. Cause you dismissed!”