5 Great Songs For Ruining Father's Day


Well, Father's Day is here, and that's the perfect time to tell good ol' dad how much you love him and what he's meant to you through the years. Unless, of course, you hate his guts, in which case you probably won't want to do that. For many, this day is a bitter reminder of all the things children deserve but sometimes don't get. And if that applies to you, why not ruin Father's Day by spitefully sending dad a song that sums up all his failures? I mean, what's the point of bad fathering if not to perpetuate the cycle of misery?

5 Great Songs For Ruining Father's Day
Andrew Olney/Photodisc/Getty Images

"Here ya go, dad. A big box of spiders!"

To that end, I've compiled a list of five songs about crappy dads, each of which would be the perfect way to tell the one you don't love, "Have a crappy day, you sperm-donating d-bag."

"Father Of Mine" -- Everclear

If you remember the '90s and super disposable music, then there's a good chance you loved this song. Oh, and also if you sucked. Odds are definitely higher if you sucked. But for many white boys from Penn State or the University Of Michigan, this will remain the ultimate "fuck you, dad" song. And that's fine. We have plenty of time to talk about how much they and Everclear suck later. This is a column about how your dad sucks and the best songs for ruining his greeting-card manufactured holiday. So in the 5 spot we have "Father Of Mine." A faux grunge pop classic about a dad who left.

It's very easy to place this one in the 5 spot because, of all the dads here, the father of Everclear leader singer Art Alexakis seems to suck the least. Indeed, he seems to have been a super awesome dad for the first 10 years of Art's life. But then, he left. We don't know if he had an emotional breakdown, or if he was married to a hellacious she-beast bent on his destruction, or if he was wanted by the mob and exposing the family to danger. Who knows? Art doesn't say.

Most Cutting Lyric:

My dad he gave me a name
Then he walked away.

Sad song, right? His dad left him and walked away. Even sadder, he left before teaching Art how to shave off that horrific soul patch.

5 Great Songs For Ruining Father's Day

Missed a spot. There's a dab of mediocrity just below your lower lip.

Anyway, compared to the other dads on this list, it seems that Art's dad might be father of the year, but if you're still pissed off at your dad for leaving home, why not visit him and his new wife this Father's Day and slip this song into his hi-fi?

EDIT: Since publication, some have pointed out the lyric in the final stanza about domestic abuse. Yes, obviously, that's a grittier lyric than the one I cited. I was wrong. In my defense, when i re-listened to the song and re-read the lyrics in preparation for this article, I actually got too bored before the very end. That's not a great excuse, but completely true.

"Papa'z Song" -- Tupac

Now, let's up the ante on the venom and discord. No doubt about it, Tupac's dad had more flaws than the pops in entry #5. Or maybe Tupac just writes better lyrics. Actually, I'm pretty sure both of those things are true. Anyway, "Papa'z Song" is a brutal tirade against an absentee, criminal dad:

Pac's dad teaches his kid nothing, seemingly leaving him with no positive memories. Trying to make ends meet, his mom is working all the time and possibly "entertaining" men to help her pay rent.

Most Cutting Lyric:

So don't even start with that "wanna be your father" shit
Don't even bother with your dollars, I don't need it
I'll bury moms like you left me all alone G
Now that I finally found you, stay the fuck away from me.

That's some pretty rough stuff, so you might be wondering why this entry is only fourth on the list. Well, it's because in the final part of the song, Pac raps from the father's point of view, at least showing some regret and circumstances. At least jail was keeping him from his boy, but hey, if you want to send dad the big eff you on his special day, you can always fade the song before you get to that point. Or, hey, maybe your dad is an ex-con. Then you can just let it play, provided his parole officer says it's OK.

"Cat's In The Cradle" -- Harry Chapin

You knew this one was gonna be on the list, right? Maybe the ultimate bad dad song, especially for white suburban people. It's Harry Chapin's O. Henry-esque story of an absentee dad who turns around to find he has an absentee son.

Most Cutting Lyric:

I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I can find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

At first glance, this song might not seem any more vitriolic than the two before, especially since it's not sung from the son's "drop dead" perspective, but I would offer that makes it all the more insulting. Think of it this way. Ever have a really bad fight with your girlfriend or boyfriend? You're yelling and screaming and saying you never really loved them, and somewhere in the back of your mind you still know there's a tremendous amount of feeling. Somewhere there's the possibility that all this hatred could turn to passion on a dime and you'll be having great make-up sex. Well, apply that to these songs. No, I'm not talking about banging your dad.

5 Great Songs For Ruining Father's Day
Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

"Well, then what are you talking about, you pervert?"

I just mean that, when there's screaming there's still a chance for communication and reconciliation. But here, it's all too late and no one even notices. The chance to form a bond has seemingly passed for good. So if this song speaks to you, may I suggest showing up for your dad's Father's Day celebration at wherever super white people who know this song hang out. Yacht club, golf course, Eagles reunion concert -- and pump this number out on your father's boombox, just at the moment your dad might think you actually care about him.

5 Great Songs For Ruining Father's Day

"The Greatest Man I Never Knew" -- Reba McEntire

It occurred to me I had no country songs on this list, and no women, so I searched and searched, and I learned something: Lots of people who went into country had dads with drinking problems. I mean lots. And seriously, it's hard to pick one from another. So this next song is by no means the most mean-spirited country song ever written, but of the five songs on this list, it does get to me the most. And not just because '80s hair and melodies pushed through singers' nasal cavities always make me cry.

This is a song about a man more consumed with business than family, and more than that, about a man who's emotionally distant. A well-regarded man, maybe even a well-meaning man, but a horribly emotionally scarring man who left his daughter feeling unloved.

Most Cutting Lyric:

The man I thought could never die has been dead almost a year
Oh, he was good at business, but there was business left to do
He never said he loved me. Guess he thought I knew

This is a good one if you really hate your dad and he wasn't a stray or a criminal, just a cold son of a bitch. Make a big show of coming over for Father's Day, drive up to his villa or estate or whatever, and have Jeeves put this song on the mansion's internal PA system just before dad blows out the candles.

"Where Have You Been" -- Jay Z

Remember when Jay Z didn't live in a mansion, making babies with Beyonce and hangin' with the prez? Well, neither do I, actually; I was still listening to rock in those days, just as it was gagging on the last remnants of its death rattle. But back in the day, Jay did a mighty fine job of being an angry young man, and in "Where Have You Been," he tells dad to piss off, perhaps more aggressively than any other singer here, leaving no measure of understanding.

And I'm not sure what understanding there could be. The dad here is an abusive criminal, beating on his wife, putting a gun in his son's hand, and abandoning his family.

Most Cutting Lyric:

Fuck you very much, you showed me the worst kind of pain
But I'm stronger, and trust me, I will never hurt again
Will never ask mommy, "Why daddy don't love me?
Why is we so poor? Why is life so ugly?"

To get the maximum amount of contempt and hatred out of this song, I think you, like Jay Z, need to rise above your circumstances. No, no, you don't have to hang around with Chris Martin of Coldplay and start some self-important streaming-music venture. That would be horrible.

5 Great Songs For Ruining Father's Day

Who's having a worse time?

You just need to do better than you were doing with your dad around. Invite him over to bury the hatchet. Have him notice the non-beaten family you have, the absence of crushed beer cans and illegal narcotics strewn about the house, and the semblance of a life. Then give him an iPod as a gift. (He's old. He'll think people still use iPods instead of phones.) Then hit play on "Where Have You Been" and wait for him to cry. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!


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