Revenge is a Bitch: The 10 Most Bitter Female Rock Songs
No matter how ugly your last break-up was, at least you can be thankful the girl didn't make a hit pop song about it. Those things can get downright nasty, as these 10 tracks prove.
"Irreplaceable" - Beyonce
"I could have another you in a minute, matter of fact he'll be here in a minute, baby"
Rumored to be about her split from Jay-Z, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 2006 and remained there for 10 weeks. The song's subject is a man who is arrogant enough to think that someone as hot as Beyonce could never replace him. So, surely it's not targeted at Jay-Z, who refers to himself as J-Hova, the Hebrew word for God.
Unlike many other female-revenge songs, "Irreplaceable" doesn't involve any violence, just a sense of independence and the smug assurance that she can get more dick than you might have suspected. Though, the opening lines that claim she was able to fit, "... everything you own in the box to the left," implies that rap mogul Jay-Z is in fact just one paycheck away from homelessness.
Bitterness level: 2.5
Hov has rapped in more than one song about his revolving door of hoes, so taking a brag that would be at home in one of his more misogynistic songs and throwing it back in his face has a nice sense of symmetry to it. Luckily, Beyonce stops short of packing the video with bethonged men booty dancing while she pours champagne on them.
"You're So Vain" - Carly Simon
"You're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you."
The thing that sucks the most about this song is that no matter who you are, if you've ever fucked Carly Simon, even once in college, you're going to at least for a moment entertain the possibility that the song is about you, and you're going to get called vain every single time. It's a Chinese finger trap of a mind fuck--the more you fight it, the tighter you're trapped.
The laundry list of celebrities that "You're So Vain" was supposedly written about is pretty much as long and shocking as Simon's hair in the below performance, which appears to have been combed with a Tesla coil.
At one time or another, the song has been rumored to be about Mick Jagger (doubtful considering he sang backing vocals), James Taylor (they were married at the time of recording--Carly has said "It is definitely not about James"), Warren Beatty (No official denial and Carly said in The Washington Post, "It certainly sounds like it was about Warren Beatty ..."), Kris Kristofferson and Cat Stevens.
When asked to reveal the target's identity by VH1 in 1990 she said that she "... can never give it away," a questionable statement since she seems to have fucked everyone who picked up a string instrument and grew his hair longer than shoulder length in the 1970s.
Bitterness level: 3.5
Confusing the hell out of a guy, though relatively easy, is just not very nice. It's also a sort of indiscriminate drive-by insult, firing the accusation wildly into a large crowd of males who worked in the entertainment industry in the '70s. They can't all deserve it. Also, wouldn't the most vain be the ones who assume the song isn't about them?
8. "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" - Nancy Sinatra
"These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do, one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you."
Easily the most passive-aggressive song on the list, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" was released in February 1966 and shot to No. 1. The song has been adopted as a rallying cry for everything from pulling out of Vietnam to the introduction of the Fembots in Austin Powers.
Nancy Sinatra was reportedly told by Lee Hazlewood, the song's writer and producer, to sing it as if she was a 16-year-old girl brushing off a 40-year-old man. Hazelwood presumably followed that creepy request up with, "Not that I know what that sounds like."
That was apparently an era when 16-year-olds could brush off a dirty old man with a few melodic words about how she had found an even more experienced lover ("And what he knows, you ain't had time to learn ..."). Today, she'd have to change her address, her cell phone number, get all new MySpace friends, and call To Catch A Predator.
Bitterness level: 4
Nobody ever said the Sinatra's were great actors. The lyrics may be bitter, but her voice and the performance in the original video suggest less enraged woman and more of a "I'll keep the boots on while we have sex if you'd like me to" vibe.
"Breakin' Dishes" - Rihanna
"I ain't going to stop until I see police lights, I'm a fight-a man tonight, I'm-a fight a man tonight"
Be careful standing under Rihanna's Umbrella ella-ella-ella. She may just be luring your ass under there to beat you down. Things are starting to get a little violent, now. These ladies' have gone from walking away, to gloating to full-blown domestic violence.
During an interview for U.K. radio station Capital FM, Rihanna says of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, "Bad is not sleazy. Bad has its own term to every individual and in my case it just means I've gotten a little rebellious on the album, broken out of my shell and I'm taking risks ... Michael Jackson 'bad' kind of way," Although breaking dishes would actually qualify as the most violent thing Michael Jackson has ever done, calling yourself bad in a Michael Jackson kind of way doesn't really have the same connotation it used to.
Bitterness level: 5
Rihanna sings that she doesn't even know if her man is cheating on her or not, but she's going to beat his ass anyway, you know, just in case.
"One Way Or Another" - Blondie
"Lead you to the supermarket checkout, some specials and rat food, get lost in the crowd"
Don't let the catchy upbeat refrain on this 1978 song fool you, this is a dark one. The catch is that, like the best horror movies, we never know why the protagonist of the song is after her prey. Like Halloween's Michael Myers, she relentlessly and mindlessly stalks her victim. All we know is that one way or another she's going to get him. We don't know why, and she probably doesn't, either.
She watches his house, follows him to the mall, monitors his calls and eventually plans to lace his dinner with rat food, for some reason. What did he do? Are they having an affair? Did he smile at her on the bus? Does he work in the cubicle next to her? Is he a hilarious writer of awesome and super-meaningful content on a comedy website? That shit could happen to anybody, man, and that's scary.
Bitterness level: 5.75
The implied murder would normally give Ms. Harry a higher score, but the fact that she plans on committing the act by feeding her prey rat food as opposed to rat poison shows that, no matter how terrifying her lyrics are, Blondie is, at the end of the day, totally harmless and kind of an idiot.
"Before He Cheats" - Carrie Underwood
"That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4-wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats ... I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires ..."
Carrie Underwood's breakout hit turned out to be a one of those rare crossovers that appealed to fans of nearly every genre of music. Apparently every female, be they goth, redneck, hipster or grandmother, wants to see a cheater get owned. "Before He Cheats" won a bunch of awards on a bunch of country video stations and the 2007 MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist.
Sure, an MTV award ranks somewhere between your high school marching band varsity letter and Hitler's skeleton on the spectrum of things you'd proudly display on your mantle. But, go ahead and turn on your radio. Any station, it doesn't matter. If you wait about 25 minutes, we guarantee you that you'll hear this song at least once. It may be a Finnish opera station, but someone, somewhere is playing it. If there's one thing that brings women of different cultures and backgrounds together it's a hatred of men.
Bitterness level: 7
Never before has destroying a man's automobile been catchier, and that is fucking terrifying.
"Smile" - Lily Allen
"At first when I see you cry, yeah, it makes me smile"
In an attempt to out-crazy Carrie Underwood, Lily Allen takes things a step further by wreaking havoc on her cheating boyfriend himself. Granted, all this goes down in the video rather than the song itself, but you still probably won't mess with Lily Allen. It's hard to say whether the gentleman in question is crying because of his lost love or the fact that she had his ass kicked and then spikes his coffee with a laxative.
Seriously though, the guy should have seen it coming. After all, who cheats on a girl who is a product of a broken home, attended 13 different schools, was expelled from several of them for drinking, smoking and giving blow jobs, then dropped out at the age of 15 to work in a record store and deal ecstasy. You don't cheat on a women like her, man! That's marriage material.
Bitterness level: 7.5
That whole laxative thing is just wrong.
"Shitlist" - L7
"I grab my pen and I write up a list, of all the people that won't be missed ... You made my shitlist"
If there is one person's shitlist you do not want to be on, it's a punk rock chick. Especially a punk rock chick like Donita Sparks, who once removed her tampon on stage and threw it into the crowd. Supposedly she did it as a symbol of protest about missiles or ... something.
Either way, if that's what she'll do to a huge crowd of adoring fans just imagine what would happen to the dude that ends up on that particular shitlist.
Bitterness level: 8.75
She says she'll grab her "pen" and write up the list, but one way or another we're pretty sure she's going to actually write the list in shit.
"Goodbye Earl" - Dixie Chicks
"Earl, ain't it dark, wrapped up in that tarp?"
Finally. After all the talk, implications and threats someone finally follows through, and no one deserved it more than Earl. If there is one thing that is inexcusable, it's battering women (especially since they're so much better naked! Right guys! Ahem).
"Goodbye Earl" only got as high as No. 13 on the Billboard Hot Country charts, presumably due to it's dark subject matter. Probably also, because it ends with the heroines running a fruit stand.
Regardless of rankings it remains one of the Dixie Chicks' most popular songs, once again proving that women are ruthless. Go to a Dixie Chicks' concert with your girlfriend and you will feel the venomous glee of 10,000 women singing this song at the top of their lungs.
Bitterness level: 9
Sure, it doesn't actually sound that bitter. It's an upbeat-sounding song. It does have a happy ending and Earl did deserve it, but that only masks the bitterness. There was an in-song murder, and that's fucking bitter no matter how many nah-nah-nahs you put in there.
"You Oughta Know" - Alanis Morissette
"And every time I scratch my nails down someone else's back, I hope you feel it"
How, you may ask, can a song about a jilted lover come in ahead of an actual in-song murder? That's because all of the above songs are more or less stories--women playing out bitter fantasies with a microphone in hand. Alanis Morissette is really fucking bitter here, and it comes across in every acidic word.
Remember that before this, Alanis was the Canadian Britney Spears, a teenage dance-pop sensation. What could have gone so terribly wrong to transform her from this ...
... into the shrieking harpy in "You Oughta Know"?The list of urban legends on who Morissette is singing about is nearly as long as Carly Simon's. The most notable of those honorees are Bob Saget of Full House, Dave Coulier of Full House, hockey player Doug Gilmour, hockey player Mike Peluso, Matt LeBlanc of Friends and musician Leslie Howe. According to
Go ahead and imagine them fucking for a while.
Coulier allegedly broke up with Morissette because he wanted to start a family and she felt she wasn't ready. It's important to note that, at the start of their relationship, he was 31 and she was 16. Really, Uncle Joey, you can't be surprised if your girlfriend isn't mother material if she needs your accompaniment to get into an R-rated movie. You know, the movie where she went down on you in the theater?
Bitterness level: 9.9
The only thing that could have made this a 10 was if Alanis also dated David Schwimmer, therefore having hooked up with the two dorkiest Full House stars and the two dorkiest Friends stars. Alas, she falls a bit short.
Stephen Handley also writes the pop-culture blog Cotton & Sand.