Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Line Between Love (Songs) And Horror Just Got Even Blurrier

A sampling of Butcher Billy's genius.
Butcher Billy
via Instagram
A sampling of Butcher Billy's genius.

The Police's "Every Breath You Take" was already a pretty creepy song. So it's only natural, what with the Internet thinking of basically everything, that some genius would render it — and many other far more benign love songs, like Lionel Richie's "Hello" and Paul Young's "Everytime You Go Away" — as the cover of a Stephen King-style horror paperback.

Really, you owe it to yourself to immediately visit the Instagram feed of Butcher Billy, the Brazilian artist who created the series he calls "Stephen King's Stranger Love Songs." (He's been at this for some time, actually — a previous series amalgamated comic book characters and pictures of musicians, like Ian Curtis and Batman.) The whole thing is glorious, both as a design project and as a running commentary about how creepy love songs can be.

So far, Butcher Billy has stuck mostly to songs from the early '80s and late '70s, which makes sense: Among other things, his project works as a marvelous companion piece to the partially King-inspired Netflix series Stranger Things, which is set in 1983. But it's an idea versatile enough for any era, right up through Ed Sheeran's currently inescapable "Shape Of You," with its inevitable book-jacket subtitle, "I'm In Love With Your Body."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)