FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.
It Wasn't Me
As a former corporate HR investigator, I've reviewed many workplace complaints of noncompliance with the law and company policy. It was refreshingly rare to get the occasional engineer who admitted, "Yes, actually I did that, and in retrospect, I shouldn't have. I will adjust my behavior and won't do it again." (Engineers are a different animal altogether.)
Most employees, however, denied accusations of wrongdoing, and their denials ranged from quick and vehement repudiations that an action occurred at all to more deliberate, puzzled, and problem-solving dissents (as if there must be some mistake or miscommunication). My two cents is that it's best to be rational and succinct in one's denial. Emphasize the facts and play it straight down the middle by avoiding offering up too much detail or too little.
It's natural to want to refuse responsibility for behavior that may threaten one's reputation, job, love life, or other things that are important to you. At the same time, it can be extremely frustrating to be faced with another person's denials when there is evidence to the contrary. (Lying makes wrongdoing worse.)
Whatever you're denying in your life, you're not alone in doing so. Make a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs that recognize the power of denials. We have a long list to start you off.
1. "Missing You" by John Waite
The remorseful man in this soft rock love ballad from 1984 is filled with longing for his ex-lover, but he doesn't want to miss her. He therefore attempts to deny his true feelings. The internal conflict is enough to drive him mad.
Separated by distance, the narrator hears his sweetheart's name from others and thinks fondly of her. Memories of her makes him almost catch his breath. Friends can discern how much he misses his ex, but he's trying to quell his feelings of longing. Despite his repeated denials, the narrator truly does miss this woman. The question now becomes: What will he do about it?
2. "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy (Featuring Rikrok)
What would you do if you were caught cheating in the act? Awkward, right? In this 2000 hip hop global sensation, Rikrok's girlfriend catches him doing the nasty with the girl nexdoor, and he (somehow) asks Shaggy for some quick advice.
Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Shaggy recommends that Rikrok deny, deny, deny his misdeeds with a false statement, "It wasn't me." What terrible counsel, as that adds insult to injury. The guy was caught unclothed, in the act, and on camera creeping with his side chick and he had telltale marks on his shoulder, however Shaggy advises mere denial.
Anybody with half a brain would want to know if it wasn't you, then who was it?Thankfully, Rikrok ultimately decides that his buddy Shaggy's guidance "makes no sense at all," and he decides to apologize to his girlfriend for the pain that he has caused.
3. "Drivers License" by Olivia Rodridgo
This 2021 chart-topping pop ballad became a worldwide hit and captured new artist Olivia Rodrigo both a Grammy Award as well as favorable comparisons to superstars Lorde and Taylor Swift. Her angsty tune is about a teenage girl's struggle with heartbreak. When the narrator gets her driver's license, it's just one more reminder of her ex as she drives through his neighborhood.
Although on one level the narrator understands that their relationship is over, the girl is also disenchanted and in abject denial that their love could end so abruptly after all of her boyfriend's sweet promises of forever. How could he could just move on and be okay when she is still wounded, stuck, and obsessively in love with him? It just doesn't seem right.
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4. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
Although DNA testing would be able to resolve a question of paternity, the year was only 1983 and that technology wasn't yet available. Michael Jackson's narrator flat out denies fathering Billie Jean's child in this Grammy Award-winning number, a blend of post-disco, R&B, and dance:
She says I am the one
But the kid is not my son.
The scheming vixen who is the subject of this song is a real head turner. She has tried to entrap the narrator with a false paternity claim. The woman's accusations remind him of his mother's long-ago warnings of being careful in matters of the heart.
MJ nailed these vocals in one take and based this global smash hit on a crazed groupie named Lavon Powlis who stalked him, repeatedly trespassed his property, and wrote him letters claiming that the moonwalking performer fathered one of her twins.
The unemployed legal secretary's behavior became really creepy when she mailed Jackson a photo of herself with a handgun and instructions to kill himself at a designated time. Her letter said that she would do the same after she had killed the child. The stalker's deluded thinking was that if she and Jackson could not be together in this life, then at least there was hope for the next life. Although her plan failed, the troubled woman stalked Jackson until his death in 2009. Powlis even legally changed her name to Billie Jean Jackson. Needless to say, there is no credible evidence that the singer fathered her child or even met her.
5. "You Broke Me First" by Tate McRae
After being dumped by her boyfriend, the girl in this brooding 2020 pop song isn't allowing him to come crawling back into her life months later when the guy drunkdials her from a party. Smarter now, she recounts the pain and denial of having been so easily cast aside by a loved one.
The narrator reminds her ex that although he feels broken now, he broke her first:
Took a while, was in denial when I first heard
That you moved on quicker than I could've ever — You know that hurt
Swear for a while I would stare at my phone just to see your name
But now that it's there, I don't really know what to say.
6. "Pretty Hurts" by Beyoncé
The masquerade of makeup, hair treatments, and starving oneself in the name of beauty is a means of pushing down the pain. Women seek physical perfection and in so doing deny their authentic inner beauty.
In this 2003 female empowerment anthem, Queen B cautions that "Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far." She asks, "Are you happy with yourself?" What really needs to be fixed, according to the song, is the soul rather than the body.
7. "I'm Not in Love" by 10cc
Even though he is utterly smitten, the guy in this 1975 soft rock love ballad refuses to confess his feelings to his beloved. He instead attributes his behavior to "just a silly phase" and cautions his galpal not to make too much of the the fact that he calls her up. In addition, he tells her not to tell friends that they are an item because aren't. Most deceptively, he informs her that her picture is only up on his wall to hide the ugly stain that is there she should not ask for it back. Not only is he in denial but he's also going to lose the woman he loves if he doesn't get smart about romance pretty soon.
8. "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse
Emphatically denying her substance abuse problems, Amy Winehouse documents her downward spiral in this Grammy Award-winning R&B/soul ditty from 2006. The autobiographical song describes failed attempts by Winehouse's management to intervene in her drug and alcohol addiction by sending her to rehab. She rejects their lifeline with excuses.
"They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said,'No, no, no,'” the troubled songstress proclaims. Excuses included that her father didn't think she had a problem and the singer's busy schedule didn't afford her the time for a 70-day stint in rehab. Moreover, the bluesy singer flatly denied altogether that drinking was her problem. Rather, she believed that the root cause of her substance abuse issues was the threat of losing the love of her life, troublemaker Blake Fielder-Civil.
Winehouse ultimately died of alcohol poisoning in 2011, at the age of 27. "Rehab" is considered her signature song and has been named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
9. "Anymore" by Travis Tritt
Love can't stay silent forever. The anguished man in this 1991 country single is done with denying his feelings. Ready to lay his heart out on the line, he decides there will be no more hiding the truth about how much he cares about his love interest.
The time he has spent waiting and resisting his feelings has been painful on him. The narrator seeks a romantic storybook ending, having finally reached a point where he can no longer deny his love. Tritt's plaintive cries are beautiful.
10. "House of Cards" by Radiohead
This haunting 2007 rock tune involves denying rumors. The narrator is a married man who is trying to convince another man's wife to abandon her troubled marriage (her "house of cards") by luring the lady into a sexual relationship.
The cunning admirer references the partner-swapping swingers' practice of key parties which first became popular in the 1960s. The narrator hints that while the couple's actions will create disruption in their lives and people will gossip, they can just deny it. He wants them both to forget about their respective marriages and obligations. "Denial, denial" as people talk around them. What do you think she'll do?
11. "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" by Pam Tillis
Denying the bitter truth, the lovesick gal in this 1993 country song doesn't want to admit that she has married a hapless loser. Few people do. It's easier to pretend that your spouse is misunderstood. Some people even try to fix them (until they realize that doesn't work).
The narrator's cheating husband treats her poorly, is full of lies and alibis, and falsely claims that he doesn't have enough money to buy her a diamond ring. In actuality, he has enough cash to purchase himself a new pickup truck. He's also been out two-stepping with a woman in leopard skin pants, and he doesn't bother to say "I love you" to his wife. That's where this jackwagon's priorities lie.
The wife is finally forced to realize that she has been overlooking a lot of red flags with Mr. Wrong. Accepting that he is a no good dirty dog, the narrator humorously crowns herself Cleopatra, Queen of Denial.
12. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" by Kelly Clarkson
Love is always a gamble, and this time it didn't last. The woman in this 2004 pop rock song took a risk in love by opening up and making herself vulnerable.
Now feeling broken and shattered, the narrator is barely surviving the breakup. She denies her former beau the satisfaction, however, of seeing her pain:
Broken up, deep inside
But you won't get to see the tears I cry
Behind these hazel eyes.
Kelly Clarkson co-wrote the song based on a romance she had with an ex-boyfriend, former Evanescence member David Hodges. He broke up with her and married someone else a month later. That's brutal.
13. "Reason to Believe" by Rod Stewart
The doleful fellow in this rock ballad has ample reason to be wary. He is nursing a broken heart after the woman he has been devoted to cheated on him, lied to him, then laughed in his face as he cried. Despite the obvious truth, he is so taken with her that he is tempted to deny her betrayals so that he doesn't have to live without her. (The things we are willing to do in the name of love!) Rod Stewart released this tune twice, once in 1971 and then again in 1993.
14. "Lips Are Movin" by Meghan Trainor
Trust has evaporated between the woman in this 2014 pop tune and her duplicitous boyfriend. As a result she is kicking him to the curb:
You can buy me diamond earrings and deny-ny-ny, ny-ny-ny, deny-ny
But I smell her on your collar so goodbye-bye-bye, bye-bye-bye.
He has deceived and two-timed her so much that she has caught on to his tall tales. The narrator is no longer tolerating his infidelities, as she realizes that if his lips are moving then he is lying.
15. "Still Into You" by Paramore
Do you still get butterflies around your significant other, even after years of being together? That's the scenario in this sweet 2013 alt-rock release.
The couple has been a special item for awhile, keeping love strong through the both rough patches and the high crests. The narrator marvels how after all they have been through, after all this time, she is still drawn to her partner. She concludes that although it's not easy, some things just make sense, and she cannot deny that her partner is worth it.
16. "It Ain't the Whiskey" by Gary Allan
The despondent fella in this 2013 country song is full of denial as he sits among other broken people in the basement of a church self-help group. He swears that it's not the whiskey, cigarettes, or the stuff he smokes that is killing him.
Instead, it's the hole in his heart that was created when the love of his life up and abandoned him, ripping his heart from his chest as she left. The man still spends long sleepless nights drinking the pain away. Whiskey is only a symptom of his troubles, he claims, rather than the cause,.
17. "Tell Me a Lie" by Janie Frickie
Denying the truth that their romance is a lonely one-night stand, the somber barfly in this classic 1982 country song requests that her partner for the evening tell her a series of lies. She seeks a sad game of just pretend, romantically making believe that they are in love.
The man does not know his conquest's name, although the narrator has noticed him in the bar before. Regardless, the desperado wants him to say that she looks attractively familiar and pretend that he's just gotten into town.
Additionally, the narrator has witnessed him take off his wedding ring, but she ignores the quick move. (That's between him and the missus.) Our deluded lady requests that another woman's husband whisper "I love you" to her later tonight. She really is in denial. Perhaps it'll be a little awkward next time these two lounge lizards see one another.
18. "The Denial Twist" by The White Stripes
In love relationships usually there is one partner who is more dedicated than the other. If you're fortunate, the imbalance is barely noticeable and probably goes unspoken. However, in this 2005 rock ditty, a guy takes their relationship much more seriously than the girl. The narrator asks his friends' opinions of his plight. and he's in denial that they could be in such different places emotionally. His girlfriend didn't mean to lead him on. The relationship just meant different things to them.
19. "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera
Some people are completely destroyed when they are faced with others who take advantage of them, but the resilient woman in this 2002 pop tune resolves to learn from her relationship trauma.
How could this man I thought I knew
Turn out to be unjust, so cruel?
Could only see the good in you
Pretended not to see the truth
You tried to hide your lies
Disguise yourself through living in denial
But in the end you'll see, you won't stop me.
Rather than becoming resentful and bitter, the narrator thanks her ex for forcing her to become savvier and extra street smart. While he played a game hiding and denying who he really was, she's coming out swinging. Clearly, this gal is no victim. He's made her stronger, tougher, and more powerful than ever.
20. "Nobody to Blame" by Chris Stapleton
Perhaps he was caught naked with his wife's sister or best friend. (Hey, it happens! But not to the the best of us.) You won't catch this guy denying that the fault is his.
As a penalty, the narrator in this 2015 country tune finds his clothes in the yard, his wedding photo ripped down the middle, and the locks on the door changed. Whatever he's guilty of, he's not denying his wrongdoing. Did he have a hook up with his high school sweetheart? Did he acquire an STD or even a love child? Whatever it is, his wife is so mad that she broke his fishing reels, sunk his hot rod in the local pond, and burned his guitar. Now he has plenty of thinking time, alone in the front yard by himself.
Even More Songs About Denying and Denial
21. When You Love Someone
22. Thought of You
23. Almost Is Never Enough
Ariana Grande & Nathan Sykes
24. Deny, Deny, Deny
Brooks & Dunn
25. In Denial
Pet Shop Boys & Kylie Minogue
Twenty One Pilots
28. Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)
29. Can't Fight This Feeling
31. Better Than Me
32. Wall of Denial
Stevie Ray Vaughn
33. Handle This
35. Don't Tell Me You're Not in Love
36. Tell Me a Lie
37. Lie to Me
38. Mixed Signals
39. Secret Love
40. Just Say You're Sorry
The Black Crowes
41. F*ck Apologies
JoJo (Featuring Wiz Khalifa)
42. Suicide (Little Sad)
43. For You, and Your Denial
44. A Beautiful Lie
Thirty Seconds to Mars
45. It Don't Matter to Me
46. It Ain't My Fault
47. Ain’t My Fault
48. The Drugs Don’t Work
49. That Ain't Me No More
50. I Don't Care Anymore
51. I Don't Care
52. Last Name
53. Don't Blame It on the Whiskey
Jon Pardi (Featuring Lauren Alaina)
54. Lyin' Eyes
55. You Lie
The Band Perry
56. Would I Lie to You?
57. Please Forgive Me
58. When You Love Someone
59. It's Too Late
60. Live Like You Were Dyin'
61. An Innocent Man
62. When Can I See You Again?
63. Friend, Please
Twenty One Pilot
64. I’m Not the Only One
65. King of Wishful Thinking
66. Would I Lie to You?
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