Friday Top: 25 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time

As voted by UG community.

Ultimate Guitar
Friday Top: 25 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community discussing the most disturbing songs ever. Based on your votes and almost 450 comments, we rounded up a Top 25 list, make sure to check it out below.

Unlike our "Darkest Songs of All Time" rundown, this list is focusing on the songs which are really distressing in terms of music or lyrics (or both).

Before kicking things off, this week's honorable mentions are:

  • Placebo - My Sweet Prince
  • Oxbow - 3 O'Clock
  • Foetus - Enter the Exterminator
  • Diamanda Galás - Wild Women With Steak-Knives
  • Robert Johnson - Hellhound on My Trail
Also, judging by your prank votes the most disturbing song is... Justin Bieber's "Baby."

Anyhow, with all that out of the way, the goods await below.

25. Lisa Germano - ...A Psychopath

In the song "...A Psychopath," American singer-songwriter Lisa Germano sampled a real 911 call in which a woman confronted an intruder in her home. The track was inspired by an experience Germano had as a child, when she was riding her bike and a strange man exposed himself to her.

The song was written about the general feeling of powerlessness that women can experience, especially with regard to sexual predators. She was initially hesitant to use that 911 call recording, thinking it was "too intense"; however, she ultimately decided it was something worth saying. Germano said that making the song was scary and very upsetting, and that she had trouble sleeping after recording it.

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24. Einstürzende Neubauten - Armenia

"Armenia" is a song by German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten released on their second album "Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T." The title refers to artist Oswald Tschirtner, an institutionalized schizophrenic who earned recognition for his art.

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23. Slayer - Dead Skin Mask

Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask" is a song about Ed Gein, an American murderer and body snatcher from the mid-20th century who took bodies from caskets for the sake of keeping their bones and skin. He also admitted to killing two women in the '50s.

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22. Dir En Grey - Embryo

"Embryo" by Japanese act Dir En Grey is a song about a girl who's being raped by her father as her deceased mother looks on from heaven. The girl's memory of her mother's face and voice slowly distort until they are no longer recognizable, ending with the girl murdering her father.

It's worth noting that the track's single edit of features lyrics entirely different from those on the album: the "censored" single version speaks of the filth of society and the wish of rejoin a deceased mother.

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21. David Lynch - Crazy Clown Time

Up next is the title track of film director David Lynch's ("Mulholland Drive," "Inland Empire," etc.) debut album. Like a fair portion of the man's work, this one portrays some rather dark and uncomfortable imagery.

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20. Nine Inch Nails - Closer

Featured on the band's 1994 album "The Downward Spiral," "Closer" is widely acknowledged as one of the top songs by Nine Inch Nails. With controversial lyrics and an accompanying disturbing video, it has earned enough votes to make the Top 20.

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19. Blut Aus Nord - Inner Mental Cage

"Inner Mental Cage" by French avant-garde black metal band Blut Aus Nord is up next, capturing the very essence of insanity.

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18. Cannibal Corpse - I Cum Blood

You technically voted for "every Cannibal Corpse song," we figured "I Cum Blood" applies as much as the rest.

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17. Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy

You cited both Aphex Twin's song and video as one of the most disturbing things the world of music has produced. Therefore, here's the full uncensored video. And yes, the scary face in the video is none-other than Richard D James (aka Aphex Twin) himself. Fun fact: full name of the song is "Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)"; the "Little Lord Faulteroy Mix" and "Mummy Mix" versions also exist, each boasting a completely different sound and mood.

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16. Silencer - Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels

Silencer was a Swedish depressive/suicidal black metal band formed in 1995. They released one album before splitting up - 2001's "Death - Pierce Me." There have been many rumors about vocalist Nattramn, most notably that he had cut off his own hands during the recording of the album.

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15. Diagnose: Lebensgefahr - Transformalin

Appropriately enough, Silencer is followed by Nattramn's next project - Diagnose: Lebensgefahr. Shortly after the release of the Silencer's sole album, Nattramn was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He was offered to write and record music as therapy and rehabilitation during one year, resulting with "Transformalin."

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14. Throbbing Gristle - Hamburger Lady

Throbbing Gristle are widely known as early pioneers of industrial music. The band's hostile live performances and use of disturbing imagery, including pornography and photographs of Nazi concentration camps, gave the group a notorious reputation. The lyrics for the song "Hamburger Lady" were inspired and largely taken from a letter written by American artist Blaster Al Ackerman, describing a woman in a burn unit.

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13. Immortal Technique - Dance With the Devil

"Dance With the Devil" by Immortal Technique is frequently ranked among the most violent rap songs of all time. It tells a story of a kid who wants to join a gang. Among other crimes, his final test is to take part in a gang rape and murder of a woman. After committing the act and right before killing her, the fella removes the cover from his victim's face, only to discover that the woman in question is actually his mother.

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12. Misfits - Last Caress

"Last Caress" by Misfits is up next as one of the band's most well-known songs, especially after Metallica covered it.

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11. Fantômas ‎- Delìrium Còrdia

"Delìrium Còrdia" is the third album by Fantômas, the avant-garde band featuring Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Buzz Osborne and Trevor Dunn. It consists of a single track and a theme of surgery without anesthesia. A quote on the album's label backcard reads: "Like the surgeon, the composer slashes open the body of his fellow man, removes his eyes, empties his abdomen of organs, hangs him up on a hook holding up to the light all of the body's palpitating treasures sending a burst of light into its innermost depths."

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10. Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows - A Strange Thing to Say

Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows is a darkwave musical project founded in 1989 by Anna-Varney Cantodea. Cantodea's persona is voluntarily isolated and complicated and Sopor Aeternus aimed to express his (or her) extremely personalized and dark vision.

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9. Tool - Prison Sex

"Prison Sex," the second single from Tool's debut full-length album "Undertow," became quite controversial upon its video release. MTV stopped airing it after just a few viewings due to the sensitive subject of child abuse. Maynard James Keenan, who wrote the lyrics, was very direct in stressing his negative feelings towards his stepfather during early interviews about the song.

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8. Pearl Jam - Jeremy

Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" takes its main inspiration from a newspaper article about a 15-year-old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle from Richardson, TX who shot himself in front of his teacher and his class of 30 students on the morning of January 8, 1991. In a 2009 interview, Eddie Vedder said that he felt "the need to take that small article and make something of it - to give that action, to give it reaction, to give it more importance."

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7. Matt Elliott - The Kursk

Matt Elliott is an English singer-songwriter from Bristol, England. Matt plays dark folk music and is known for his electronic project The Third Eye Foundation. "The Kursk" track off "Drinking Songs" album is about the Kursk submarine tragedy, it is "sung" by the slowly dying and drowning crew trapped in a submarine...

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6. Stalaggh - Projekt Misanthropia

Little is known about this group of extreme musicians from the Netherlands and Belgium. Stalaggh comes from the German word "stalag," a WWII concentration camp, while the extra G and H stand for "global holocaust." The real names and faces of the members involved will never be revealed.

The most extreme factor/rumor about this project is that the musicians have used actual mental patients to do the vocals. One particular "guest" vocalist was locked away for brutally stabbing his own mother over 30 times at the age of 16. The stories also claim that one of the musicians was almost murdered during the recording process. The reason behind such an extreme approach was the band's supposed desire to capture REAL hatred and painful emotions.

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5. Slipknot - Iowa

The closing track of Slipknot's sophomore album "Iowa" is one of the darkest tracks in the opus. Quoting drummer Joey Jordison: "When we did 'Iowa,' it was a very dark time for the band. Some of our strongest and most meaningful songs are on that record, but we were all on drugs and drunk and it sucked. It's a time I don't like to talk about much because I don't like to condone any drug use, whatsoever."

The song also contains a secret message: after the verses finish and the guitars fade out, Corey Taylor can be heard screaming stuff. One of the things he is screaming is something that sounds like "Gah makin' noises." When the song is played backwards, you get Corey saying "don't look at me."

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4. Suicide - Frankie Teardrop

"Frankie Teardrop" is a song by Suicide from the band's acclaimed 1977 self-titled debut album. The song tells a story of a young father, a poor factory worker whose poverty drives him to insanity. One day, Frankie comes home from work, murders his wife and child and commits suicide. The narrative then continues to follow him into hell...

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3. Sunn O))) - Báthory Erzsébet

"Báthory Erzsébet" by Sunn O))) was recorded as a tribute to the countess Bathory, a serial killer acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer. The band supposedly went so far as to lock the claustrophobic Malefic from Xasthur in a casket to record the vocals on this song.

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2. Eminem - Kim

Written in 1998, "Kim" is the prequel to 1997's "'97 Bonnie & Clyde." It is frequently referred to as Eminem's most controversial song, and sees the rapper explaining what he would do to his ex-wife if he could get away with it.

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1. Korn - Daddy

At the throne of UG this week, you folks voted Korn and "Daddy." The song is about singer Jonathan Davis' experience of being molested as a child, and his own parents not believing him about it. Full of hatred and sadness, the song is available below.

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That's all folks, hope you enjoyed the ride, stay tuned until next week for another WQ!

90 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Maxwell's Silver Hammer by The Beatles could be an honorable mention. A happy sounding song about serial killer
    And as always - here's the rest of the list if you're interested - more disturbing songs here: Eisregen - 19 Nägel für Sophie Krzysztof Penderecki - Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima Gojira - 1990 Quatrillions de Tonnes The Crystals - He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss) Scott Walker - Jolson and Jones Gustav Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde Jay Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots - Goose Walking Over My Grave The Residents - Kiss of Flesh Therapy? - Diane (Hüsker Dü cover) Karlheinz Stockhausen - Gesang Der Jünglinge Björk - Cocoon Nirvana - Polly Gulaggh ‎- Vorkuta Nicole 12 - Ballerina Type O Negative - Prelude to Agony Sonic Youth with Lydia Lunch - Death Valley '69 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Skeptics - AFFCO Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music Tori Amos - Me and a Gun [as well as "Bonnie & Clyde" (Eminem cover)] Cradle Of Filth - Venus in Fear Team Sleep feat. Mike Patton - Kool Aid Party Acid Bath - Bones of Baby Dolls The Who - Fiddle About Avenged Sevenfold - Little Piece of Heaven The Beatles - Revolution 9 Radiohead - Climbing Up the Walls Steve Roden - Airria Bucketed - Unemployment Blues Motörhead - Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me Pantera - Good Friends and Bottle of Pills The Cure - One Hundred Years Slipknot - (515) Peter Sotos - Buyer's Market [whole album] Shining - Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta The Mentors - Golden Showers The Buoys - Tomothy Cop Shoot Cop - Room 429 Pink Floyd - Jugband Blues Tomahawk - Flashback Cattle Decapitation - Forced Gender Reassignment Mudvayne - Nothing to Gein Torsofuck - Raped by Elephants Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours Porcupine Tree - Wedding Nails Marilyn Manson - Kinderfeld Pig Destroyer - Starbelly Manic Street Preachers - 4st 7lb Rammstein - Mein Teil Current 93 - I Have a Special Plan for This World Swans - Lunacy Peter Gabriel - Intruder Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat John Zorn/Moonchild Trio - Litany IV
    Thanks for including Buckethead. Every song sung by Inside Out Face is wonderfully disturbing.
    "Cocoon" by Bjork? Little boys on UG are disturbed by sex through the lens of a female I suppose.
    Dir En Grey's trilogy video was pretty messed up. 1) Saku - A boy strangles his mother to death and kills his father with a golf club 2) Kodou - The same boy kidnaps his girlfriend and hangs her in an abandoned warehouse, gets arrested. 3) Revelation of mankind - Boy is released from prison, lives in an internet cafe. Looking for a new family. Finds one only to find the parents are abusing his new young "brother and sister", so he breaks into their house, ties up the parents, and helps the young kids torture and kill there parents while he records it.
    You forgot the part where it's left open as to whether he actually did the shit in the Revelation of Mankind video or not, as after he hangs himself you hear one of the kids crying.
    Ole' Nessie
    I heard 'every breath you take' on the radio yesterday and thought that it was pretty fucking disturbing but I missed the chance to nominate it. Pretty twisted song!
    Always found "interlude with ludes" by Them Crooked Vultures to be pretty disturbing. "is my face still bleeding? Then what is your problem?" "I hate to be the bearer of bad new..... but I am"
    None of them come close to this mess:
    Otherwise, I've gotta go with Krzysztof Penderecki "Kosmogonia" is disturbing but so too is "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" (however, audiences find the latter to be more accessible)
    Just wanna jump in and say that Anna-Varney is definitely a woman. No "he (or she)" about it. Her full transition from male to female is very much unknown but she announced she was indeed a woman in 2005 or so. Props to people on UG knowing about Sopor Aeternus though! Great stuff (though A Strange Thing To Say is definitely not her most disturbing. Gotta trek through her early stuff to find that).
    Again On GP by Death Grips didn't make it :/ such an awesome song with strong lyrics that make you think
    Ayyy my nomination at least got an honorable mention. PS: Now I got some songs to listen tonight before going to sleep, thanks ug.
    A bit disappointed "Climbing Up The Walls" by Radiohead didn't make it - I consider one of the creepiest songs I've ever heard, especially towards the end where amidst washes of detuned descending violins, white noise of machines, and that slow distorted beat, Thom Yorke begins lets loose one of the most spinechilling screams I've ever heard
    C-C Beatroot
    Wondered if I'd find any Whitehouse, "Birdseed" is maybe the most stomach-churning thing I've listened to. Maybe wouldn't call it a song, though they have more musical nightmares
    A lot of these songs are industrial/metal stuff designed to shock. And while most are great songs that do just as they intend, it is usually stuff that isn't so overt that gets to me. Elvis Costello's "I Want You" always disturbed me. Even though the subject matter is less extreme, the delivery is so unsettling, but in a genuine way devoid of shock value that it gets to me. Maybe it's the old fashioned nature of the song, but "Goodbye Baby" by Jack Scott makes me think the woman in the song is getting murdered, not because of the lyrics, but the music and vocal style. Also disturbing is the Beatles' "Run for Your Life", primarly because it was a simple pop song not intended to be disturbing at all. John Lennon even distanced himself from the song years later.
    Metallica - One ? :\
    Don't understand the downvotes, its literally about a WW1 Soldier who was hit by a landmine, I get chills everytime they do it live and James screams "please god help me!"
    I was going to write off this entire list if there wasn't a single Dir en grey song on it, and you couldn't have picked a better one for this list. Also "Kim" is my favourite Eminem tune just because of how utterly disturbing and brutal it is.
    If you are going to put Pearl Jam shoudln't "Alive" be the song instead of "Jeremy"? If I remember right "Alive" is about his mother molesting him.
    Next topic: unintentionally not disturbing songs. Top of the list might just be Ozzy's Bark at the Moon. Scary shit right there.
    The only thing disturbing thing about Sun0))) is that someone paid them to record anything.
    I always thought there was something wrong with Jonathan Davis...
    Go to the 3 minute mark. Here's Jon recording "Kill You" another sick classic. Sidenote: I really got into Korn in the early days after watching "Who Then Now" as they seemed just like regular dudes making heartfelt, original music not just churning out stuff that almost is just a mimic of their first 2 or 3 albums like they seem to nowadays.
    If these are the most disturbing songs this site voted for,,, wow Kim as #2 lmfao and Jeremy are you serious lol. That first song is ridiculous, unless you read the description the 911 call does not work. Of the others I know most are either gross or violent, not disturbing. Country death song is though, check it out if you don't know it violent femmes
    Hold on,, is the site full of emos and metal heads? Smh
    Tons of songs on Slipknot self-titled are much darker than stuff on Iowa, i dont get why Iowa always gets first place.
    Liam Gallagher trying to mewl his way through 'Wonderwall' at the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012 was so disturbing it actually made me wish I was deaf!
    Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon: "He took little Suzie to the junior prom, excitable boy, they all said. And he raped her and killed her and he took her home, excitable boy, they all said. Well, he's just an excitable boy. After ten long years, they let him out of the home excitable boy, they all said. And he dug up her grave and made a cage with her bones, excitable boy, they all said. (excitable boy) Well, he's just an excitable boy."
    That Korn Daddy song might be about something disturbing but it sounds like a ten year old has wrote it, and not in a good 'childlike' way. Emo shite
    Maybe he found it hard to be poetic because he was a child getting fucked by an adult! I think if you're brave enough to write a song about that in the first place you get the right to write the lyrics how you want.
    That song was around at least 10 years before "emo" was even a thing you fucking tard.
    Not really. Sunny Day Real Estate released their debut a year after Korn did, Indian Summer existed around the same time and Rites of Spring released their only album 8 years before Korn. Not that Korn had to do anything with the genre, but emo was already a thing back then.
    I thought remainder the black dog or something else from Steven Wilson might get a look in