AVQ&A Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences. This week’s question comes from reader Karen Greagor: What song lyrics do you find most haunting and/or disturbing? William Hughes I happily introduced my significant other to the gentle, heartbroken music of folk crooner Sufjan Stevens back when we first started dating, but there’s one song she absolutely refuses to listen to with me: “John Wayne Gacy Jr.,” off of Stevens’ 2005 masterpiece Illinois. Our conflict boils down largely to a single line, which comes after two verses of describing the famed serial killer’s troubled childhood, and the terrible things he did as an adult: “And in my best behavior, I am really just like him.” Throughout the song, Stevens—an avowed Christian—refuses to condemn Gacy, or paint him as a monster, but it’s in those final moments that he pushes his empathy, and his self-loathing, to their limits, suggesting that there’s less separating him—or the listener—from a man who killed and raped more than 30 boys and young men than we might like. I’ve thought about that line a lot over the years, imagining the human moments when Gacy could maybe float above the forces that drove him to commit his crimes and just feel cranky, or tired, or happy, like the rest of us. My partner is less of a solipsist… [Read full story]
You are here: / What song lyric do you find most haunting?
The A.V. Club is an entertainment website featuring reviews, interviews, and other articles that examine films, music, television, books, games, and other elements of pop culture media.