They say that the opposite of love isn’t hate but instead indifference. Songs about hating someone you love speak to the complexity of relationships and remind us how easy it can be for emotions to change.
“Hate Me” by Blue October
Song Year: 2006
A deeply personal song, “Hate Me,” is a look at addiction mixed with family. In it, band member Justin Furstenfeld discusses the hate he received from his mother but also the love that ultimately helped him get through it.
Like most songs about hate mixed with love, there are no simple explanations or solutions, especially when addiction gets involved. However, it’s also a fundamentally optimistic song, as it comes from the perspective of someone who finally overcome their hatred and suffering.
“Someone Like You” by Adele
Song Year: 2011
Adele has made more than a few songs about relationships, and “Someone Like You” is a look at one of the most complicated situations she’s felt. While she cares for the other person in the song, she’s also filled with deep remorse.
Most of the hatred in this song gets directed toward herself, including displeasure at her inability to control herself and her feelings. While it’s crucial to love yourself in life, it’s just as easy to hate yourself for your failures, and that’s on full display here.
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
Song Year: 1995
Morissette won two Grammys for this raw portrayal of emotion and sexuality after a relationship. While she cared deeply for her ex, she’s also upset at the broken promises and wants to remind her former lover of things they said in the past.
Ultimately, this song is a stark reminder that emotions don’t stop just because a relationship is over. They can affect someone for a long time afterward, but they won’t always be pleasant or easy to deal with. In the end, though, we do have to move on.
“Forget You” by CeeLo Green
Song Year: 2010
Relationships are complicated to start with, but betrayal can make things even worse. Green’s pop hit from a 2010 album discusses his feelings about seeing someone he cares about in a relationship with someone else and the sense that a lack of money led to the situation.
While he cares about her, he also sees the girl in question as a gold digger, focused on finding a wealthy partner instead of happiness. Green’s censored version of this song performed well in its own right, but he also released a more explicit version (“F**k You”) for those who prefer to express their emotions in full.
“Epiphany” by Staind
Song Year: 2001
“It’s Been Awhile” may be Staind’s most-recognized song, but “Epiphany” from the same album shares the emotions and focuses on the singer’s love and hate towards himself. While he wants to care for others, his inability to express himself correctly causes him constant trouble and frustration.
Beyond this, however, understanding the problem can also be the first step toward solving it. Some songs work better as a single, but listening to the entirety of Break The Cycle is the best way to understand this song.
“Gives You Hell” by All-American Rejects
Song Year: 2008
The All-American Rejects aren’t known for hesitating to express themselves, and this hit song from an album of the same name has their passion on full display as they talk about hoping someone they cared about suffers now.
However, more than some generic pain, they specifically hope that their success is what causes trouble for the one they hate. Rather than passive suffering, they want to be an active component of their revenge after a loss. It’s not a positive sentiment, but it’s hard to deny that this is a catchy and memorable tune.
“Drink You Away” by Justin Timberlake
Song Year: 2013
A creative mix of pop, rap, and R&B sounds, Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” is ultimately a song about emotions and failure. No matter how hard he tries to drink away his pain, it doesn’t go away, and the heartbreak is threatening to consume him entirely.
In a way, the title is a trick for this song. It implies that the drinking will work, but Timberlake’s character is increasingly unable to do so and only gets more restless as time goes on. Love can be hard to forget, even when you wish you could.
“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift
Song Year: 1989
Swift may be known for songs about love, but “Bad Blood” is about a different sort of relationship. In interviews released later, she explained that the song was about another musician and an inability to tell if that person was a friend or an enemy.
Singers put a lot of passion and energy into their careers, and when emotions are riding high, it’s easy for love and hate to intertwine. Outside of its thematic fit for this list, though, “Bad Blood” is also an early hit from Swift’s long and storied career, and entirely worth listening to on its own merits.
“Love The Way You Lie Part II” by Rihanna and Eminem
Song Year: 2010
The first part of this song was a multi-billion listen hit in its own right, but Rihanna decided to continue the story and collaborate with Eminem again. Throughout the song, she expresses frustration at her relationship, including the sense of comfort and satisfaction that she gets from fights.
A little masochism isn’t rare, but delighting in the emotional pain can take things to an entirely different level. Eminem steps in for the long third verse, offering a different point of view on the relationship and showing how it’s just as messed up from the other side.
“Love Bites” by Def Leppard
Song Year: 1989
While you might suspect this to be a song about a cat, or possibly a vampire, Def Leppard’s glam rock hit is a song about complexities in relationships and especially the singer’s feelings toward himself.
In it, he touches on things like his confusion over whether a relationship is real and his desire to make things work even though it’s driving him mad. He doesn’t even know if he feels love or hate anymore, but wants to pursue the relationship regardless.
“7 Things” by Miley Cyrus
Song Year: 2008
Some songs are suspiciously specific about what the singer hates, and Cyrus’ “7 Things” goes into detail about the things she dislikes most in the relationship. However, the biggest complaint she has is that she still cares even when there are many things in the relationship she dislikes.
Of these, the tendency to act like a jerk and showing interest in someone else is near the top of the list. Both of these can be deal-breakers, but when you know they’re wrong and still can’t break away, emotions can continue bubbling up.
“My Give A Damn’s Busted” by Jo Dee Messina
Song Year: 2005
Songs about hating someone you love tend to be pop tunes, but Messina breaks from the crowd with this country song about finally snapping and losing the ability to care about someone after they caused too many problems.
That’s a rare sentiment, and in the lyrics, she specifically notes that she wants to care but ultimately can’t. Some people have a hard time letting go of their emotions, but others find it so easy they can never grab hold of those feelings again.
“Daughter” by Pearl Jam
Song Year: 1993
Relationships with parents are some of the most complex of all. You can choose your partner, but you can’t choose your family. The story in the song centers on a girl with a learning disability who’s trying but failing to learn how to read and make her mother proud.
It’s hinted that the mother can’t tolerate the problems, though, and ultimately lowers the shades to strike her child. Both of the people in this relationship feel love and hate for each other, but a later track on the album suggests the child ultimately escapes from this fate and finds a better life.