We’ve all thought about getting back at someone for what they did. Does that make us awful human beings?
The reality is that revenge might make us feel better in the moment, but rarely if ever does it solve a problem. It can even leave you with a seared conscience.
The best way to deal with frustration and anger is to channel it into something else – preferably, something productive, like creativity.
After all, the best revenge is success. When you succeed and leave your offenders in the dust, they’ll be faced with a difficult choice of apologizing or leaving you alone. If you outpace them, they won't have anything left to say to you.
And, fortunately, we’ve also got music. When you’re feeling angry, putting on a song about revenge can make you feel a lot better. It could be far less destructive, too.
Let’s look at some of the best songs about revenge for those anger filled moments.
“Songs For The Dumped” by Ben Folds Five
Song year: 1996
This is probably one of my favorite songs about revenge.
“Songs For The Dumped” begins on an angry and aggressive tone, though this isn’t exactly what you’d expect, with its catchy rock and roll piano.
This is a simple song about wanting your money back after a breakup. The Japanese lyrics heard in the song, by the way, are merely a straight translation of the English lyrics. In my opinion, they make the song more memorable.
For those times when breakups leave you feeling frustrated and angry, not just sad and heartbroken, there’s “Songs For The Dumped.”
“Get Outta My Way” by Kylie Minogue
Song year: 2010
“Princess of Pop” Kylie Minogue graces us with another great hook and an unforgettable piano riff. Only, this time… what’s this? This isn’t a song about infatuation or wanting to hook up as most of hers are.
That’s right. This song has the narrator frustrated with her partner: “You’re getting boring, you’re oh-so boring / And I don’t recognize the zombie you turn into.”
And, she quickly finds a replacement. I’ve always imagined this scene unfolding on the dancefloor at a nightclub.
No one can seem to agree on the official lyrics to this song, leaving a few lines a little fuzzy. Oh well. The intent of the song is clear. Move out of Kylie’s way!
“Watch You Lose” by The Veer Union
Song year: 2016
The way I imagine this song is that the narrator has been beaten down to the point of not being able to get back up. This could be literal or metaphorical – probably metaphorical.
Either way, we know for sure the he has suffered. But he’s pushing on despite the condition he’s in.
And, he says he’ll cut himself loose from the noose and watch his opponent lose!
This song is perhaps more about a battle than revenge, but thematically it still resonates.
“If You” by Harem Scarem
Song year: 2002
Every song on Harem Scarem’s Weight of the World album (which is kind of like a concept album) is basically about a nasty breakup. “If You”, specifically, contains themes of revenge.
The narrator tries everything to get his significant other off his back, but she doesn’t seem to take a hint.
“I switched your pills / I cut your brakes / Loosened the wheels / On your rollerblades / All and all it’s a miracle / That you’re here.”
Overall, the song has kind of a lighthearted, humorous vibe to it. But maybe that makes it even more sinister… You can be the judge.
“Hate You” by King’s X
Song year: 1998
We’ve all heard the saying, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”
The general idea is that if you have no idea what your enemies are up to, you could be in grave danger of a surprise attack.
“Hate You” by King’s X is a song that seems to bring this idea to life. Lyrically, it’s a sparse song, and the verses talk about never hurting or beating someone. That’s kind of a stark contrast to the chorus, which is “You don’t know how much I hate you.”
Sometimes, the best way to torture someone is to leave them living in their own insanity. Killing them, even metaphorically, would be freeing them.
“I’ll Get Even” by Megadeth
Song year: 1997
It seems like most of Megadeth’s catalog is about revenge, since Dave Mustaine was determined to outdo Metallica from the moment he was kicked out. To this day, he hasn’t managed to pull it off, but I can’t imagine he’s overly unhappy about it now.
But “I’ll Get Even” is a relatively direct message. The narrator briefly reflects on the wrongdoing of his abuser before he becomes obsessed with getting back at them.
The music to “I’ll Get Even” isn’t as dark or heavy as you might expect it to be. If anything, it’s got a good hook.
This song finds the narrator going off the deep end, making it a sinister song overall.
“Sweet Revenge” by Motörhead
Song year: 1979
Clearly, the narrator in “Sweet Revenge” is looking to get back at his “victims.” We’re not sure who they might be, but it’s mostly irrelevant. It’s clear that the song is about revenge.
This Motörhead tune has an oddly hypnotic mid-tempo beat, unlike most of their faster-paced hit songs we're familiar with.
There isn’t much more to say here. This song is far from innocent, but it isn’t the most gruesome one you can find either.
“F**k You” by Cee Lo Green
Song year: 2010
Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” borrows from classic R&B grooves, kind of like OutKast's “Hey Ya”. The song sounds positively cheery.
Green himself has said this is more of a cathartic song than anything. His comparison with the “Sesame Street” theme seems ill placed, but we get that it’s not meant to angry.
Still, lyrics like these let you know that the narrator didn’t emerge from the breakup unscathed: “Yeah I’m sorry, I can’t afford a Ferrari / But that don’t mean I can’t get you there / I guess he’s an Xbox and I’m more Atari / About the way you play your game ain’t fair.”
I guess it’s worth a spin, but maybe not a whole lot more than that.
“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood
Song year: 2005
This is a bit of an odd song, if only because the narrator seems to be imagining a hypothetical indiscretion. Despite it being all in her mind, she's taking preemptive action to “get back” at her cheating boyfriend.
I guess it makes more sense if you imagine the indiscretion taking place right in front of the narrator’s eyes, and she isn’t just crazy, acting on something that she hasn't even confirmed.
But this is still a popular cheating boyfriend anthem, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve found it.
Like Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You”, this is probably a “good riddance” type situation, not a “woe is me” type breakup that leaves you shocked and sad.
“Goodbye Earl” by Dixie Chicks
Song year: 1999
The notorious “Goodbye Earl” tells the story of a physically abusive husband. Mary Anne, the abused, and her best friend, Wanda, soon hatch a plan to get rid of Earl, which is exactly what they do.
The best friends go onto enjoy their lives without Earl, who no one seems to miss.
This was kind of a controversial song at the time, and it’s not hard to see why.
Maybe Earl had it coming, but “offing” him is maybe not the right way to go about it. We’re not entirely sure whether this is something the narrator is endorsing, but it certainly seems like it.
Either way, it’s a well-known, catchy country song about revenge.
“Better Than Revenge” by Taylor Swift
Song year: 2010
From the opening lines, it’s clear that this Taylor Swift tune is about revenge.
It’s the story of how another girl comes along to steal the narrator’s boyfriend. And, the narrator wants to get back at her. In this case, I’m assuming “getting back at her” just means writing a song and having the last word though.
Funny how the narrator doesn’t blame her boyfriend in the least, even though her picker might be kind of off.
I guess the point is that revenge is best in song form, which might be true.
“Having A Blast” by Green Day
Song year: 1994
The not-so-subtle “Having A Blast” is about someone who’s angry and probably depressed. They're looking to blow up their world. Literally. With explosives.
I don’t think there are any deep and hidden messages in this song. When I hear it, I basically imagine someone in high school who, after a lot of bullying, finally snaps and wants to take everyone with him.
Characteristically, this is a catchy punk rock song, and it may have flew “under the radar” when it was first released, but these days, this song might not get passed censorship.
“Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects
Song year: 2008
Earlier, I talked about how success is often the best revenge. Well, that seems to be what this song is hinting at.
It seems like it's a song about a relationship that went wrong. Maybe the narrator's significant other left him because he was lazy and unambitious. And, now he's successful.
But based on the following lines, the story he's sharing is all in his head:
“And truth be told I miss you / And truth be told I’m lying.”
What I like most about this song is that it sounds like a 90s pop song, and 90s pop was far more sophisticated than today’s music.
“Whatcha Think About That” by The Pussycat Dolls ft. Missy Elliot
Song year: 2008
The narrator in this song has probably had one too many bad experiences with boyfriends who didn’t measure up, because the message seems antagonistic from the outset.
It’s dangerous to paint an entire gender with one brush, but hey, I don’t think the song is meant to be psychoanalyzed.
Overall, “Whatcha Think About That” is a lot like Kylie Minogue’s “Get Outta My Way”, especially thematically.
Musically, it has kind of a boring midtempo pop groove.
“You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest
Song year: 1982
Overall, I like the message of Judas Priest's 80s classic, “You've Got Another Thing Comin'.” It's basically saying, “Life is happening now, and I'm not going to wait around to find out what happens. I'm going to make my own luck.”
“If you think I'll sit around as the world goes by / You're thinkin' like a fool 'cause it's a case of do or die / Out there is fortune waiting to be had / If you think I'll let go you're mad / You've got another thing comin'.”
It's funny, because I could see someone rapping these lyrics instead of singing them. Either way, don't let anyone drag you down. Show them what's comin'.
“F**K You” by Mourning Widows
Song year: 2000
In this song, it seems the narrator was seriously wronged by someone who lied and cheated him out of a ton of money.
Ultimately, I don’t think it’s a song about revenge, because the narrator just keeps repeating, “Take it all”, suggesting that he's not going to go after his offender.
But not surprisingly, he’s angry, and he even says, “I’ll see ya sorry / Cause what you greed is what you get.”
I’m sure there are plenty of people who can relate to the idea of being lied to by someone who appeared to be on their good side. If that's you, put this song on for some relief.
“I’ll Get Even With You” by Foreigner
Song year: 1979
There are many songs out there that sound happy but are, in fact, sad songs. “I’ll Get Even With You”, with its catchy rock and roll groove, could easily fool you into thinking it’s a happy song.
But it’s clear the narrator isn’t having a good time:
“You gave it to me real low / You gave me such a low blow / You hit me on the blind side / You took me for a big ride.”
And, now he’s determined to get even with his offender. We don’t know any specifics, but we do know he wants revenge.
“Me Against You” by Three Days Grace
Song year: 2018
From the opening lines, it’s clear that “Me Against You” is an angry song.
The narrator has been provoked. This isn’t coming out of nowhere. He’s ready to take it on and fight it if necessary.
He also says he’s got nothing to lose, which seems to suggest that he’s dangerous. He even says, “You can’t win against my kind of crazy.”
I like songs that are more outright heavy rock versus heavy rock merged with electronic music, but it does give this song a bit of an ominous vibe.
“Unstoppable” by Disciple
Song year: 2012
“Unstoppable” is a heavy rock song about fighting back when life is tough. To that end, we can certainly think of it as a vengeful song.
The time to get up and fight back is when things are toughest. You can’t sit around and wait. That’s what this song is saying.
“Now it’s time to rise / Time to fight / Time to run like you’ve never run in your life / It’s the moment of your life / The reason why / All the blood, the sweat and the tears are falling down.”
The narrator says there’s nothing that can take you down. You’re unstoppable. If you understand the truth of this statement, you truly will be unstoppable.
“Westboro” by Decyfer Down
Song year: 2013
I’m not sure what happened to the narrator, but it’s clear he’s been wronged and he’s angry. And, his anger is aimed at his offender, who he says should go back to Westboro, which is the same as hell.
All things considered, the narrator isn’t as riled up as he could be, but with Decyfer Down being a Christian band, it seems unlikely they would fill their songs with violent lyrics to begin with.
“Get out of here before you hurt yourself.” That's the theme of this song.
“December” by Collective Soul
Song year: 1995
We don’t often think of Collective Soul’s mid-90s mega-hit, “December”, as being a song about revenge.
But as the band has admitted, things weren’t exactly going well in their careers when they recorded this song. If anything, they felt like they were being robbed blind.
While the mid-tempo grooves of “December” don’t exactly light fire to your anger fuse, the narrator’s thoughts seem to be of someone who’s had enough and is basically saying, “get away from me before I turn on you.”
“December promise you gave unto me / December whispers of treachery / December clouds are now covering me / December songs no longer I sing.”
When someone stabs you in the back, there's “December.”
“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
Song year: 2005
“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” tells the story of a boy with a widowed mother. A new man enters her life but soon disappears, leaving a mess behind.
Then, on her deathbed, the boy’s mother tells her to go and get revenge on the man who left them. Soon, he becomes obsesses with getting vengeance.
The mariner hears a rumor of a man who fits the description of the one he’s after, so he sets sail. On his path, he encounters a whale and nearly loses his life. His opposer almost does, too.
But now he is face to face with the man who left him and his mother. The rest is up to your imagination.
It’s a brilliantly written song, and the opening lines actually tell how the story ends: “We are two mariners / Our ship’s sole survivors / In this belly of a whale / Its ribs are ceiling beams / Its guts are carpeting / I guess we have some time to kill.”
This also seems like a Biblical reference to Jonah and the whale, but maybe I’m just overthinking things.
“I Feel So Good” by Richard Thompson
Song year: 1991
“I Feel So Good” tells the story of a young man who was recently released from jail. As he explains, he’s on his way to “Take someone apart tonight” because he's had to pay for his crimes.
We’re not sure exactly what he’s done wrong to end up in jail in the first place, but we do know he’s probably back to his old ways after being released from prison. And, he's probably a serial killer.
The rest is left to our imagination.
“Someone Will Pay” by Justin Townes Earle
Song year: 2014
The narrator's been lied to and they’re looking to make someone pay for it (presumably the person that lied to them).
That’s the premise of this country song, but we aren’t given a whole lot more detail to go on.
It seems to me like the songwriter started with an interesting idea but didn’t fully flesh it out before putting it out in the world. Either that, or they are just that scary.
“Here Comes Revenge” by Metallica
Song year: 2016
Metallica’s “Here Comes Revenge” is probably one of the most well-written on the topic, so far as this list is concerned.
The good thing about this song is that it acknowledges the dark sides and downsides of revenge: “Revenge, you can’t undo / Revenge, it’s killing me / Revenge set me free.”
If you follow the trajectory of the lyrics, it sounds like maybe God or Satan himself is coming for revenge. Lyrics like “I’ve been here since dawn of time” and “Man has made me oh so strong” certainly seem to hint at this idea.
Either way, this list wouldn’t be complete without a heavy Metallica song, right?
“Game On” by Disciple
Song year: 2006
Not strictly a song about revenge, Disciple’s “Game On” is still incredibly satisfying to listen to when you’re feeling angry and frustrated.
If anything, this song is about fighting back and protecting others when you have no other choice.
Since Disciple is a Christian band, the context for this song is that there’s a spiritual war going on between good and evil.
Still, like I said, this song is insanely catchy, and it helps you vent all your anger. It was also WWE’s HHH theme song once upon a time.
“Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit
Song year: 1998
In the late 90s, we had plenty of angry white boy music, and Limp Bizkit was one of those nu metal bands leading the movement.
I think it’s at that point now where people only say they like Limp Bizkit to be funny or ironic, but on a day where everything’s going wrong, it’s hard to find songs as satisfying as “Break Stuff.”
I think you can make a good case for this song being vengeful too.
“Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” by Aerosmith
Song year: 1989
Nobody likes getting cheated on. It can provoke a lot of angry, frustrated feelings on the inside.
That’s what “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” is all about. Well, it may not have an amazing message, but for some reason, it’s just so satisfying when it’s accompanied by Aerosmith’s raucous blues rock.
“Next Time Around” by Harem Scarem
Song year: 2006
“Next Time Around” certainly isn’t the angriest song out there. In this song, we find the narrator having trouble in his relationship.
And, he declares:
“Next time around / No you won’t see me / Next time around / There will never be a / Next time around.”
Sometimes, you’ve got to cut your losses and move on. That's what this song reminds us to do.
Best Songs About Revenge, Final Thoughts
We hope you were able to get something out of your system. It’s rarely a good idea to act on thoughts of revenge, even if it seems like a good idea in the moment.
Music is truly a powerful thing, and it can give voice to unexpressed emotions and feelings. Sometimes it says it better than words.
So, whether you’re angry, frustrated, vengeful or otherwise, maybe put on a song or two to calm down. You’ll find it worthwhile.