Revenge is a dish best served cold. But in our case, it’s best served on an awesome playlist.
The music industry is in no short supply of great revenge tracks. Artists and songwriters have found it to be such an inspirational topic that so many songs talk about or at least allude to revenge in some way. Perhaps that’s because it’s such a strong and complex feeling to want revenge on someone.
So we’ve made this playlist for all you people out there who are out for revenge. Whether you want revenge in the form of destruction of property, humiliation, or just plain old payback, we’re sure you’ll find a song here that’s right for you!
All-American Rejects – Gives You Hell
Okay, so maybe the “revenge” isn’t really played out in this song. But it’s a musical way of giving someone the finger. According to Ritter, the song is about a guy you gives you a hard time about everything, and the best part is that he’ll never know the song is about gloating about his misfortunes. Oh, and a little piece of trivia: the backing vocalists are practically screaming the lyrics because the band wanted them to actually sound like drunk assholes.
Revenge lyrics: Now you’ll never see
What you’ve done to me
You can take back your memories
They’re no good to me
And here’s all your lies
You can look me in the eyes
With the sad, sad look
That you wear so well
When you see my face
Hope it gives you hell
Florence + the Machine – Seven Devils
Florence Welch says the song (and the album, Ceremonials) is about an ecstatic exorcism. When asked what is being exorcised in the song, she says, “Self-doubt. Guilt. Pain. And constant questioning of who I am and where my morals lie.” So in a way, the song is taking revenge on a past that has dragged her down, and she’s now exorcising all that negativity to be more in control of herself. Pretty deep stuff,
Revenge lyrics: Seven devils all around you
Seven devils in your house
See I was dead when I woke up this morning
I’ll be dead before the day is done
Before the day is done
Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know
Now we’re moving onto songs that are more relatable. In You Oughta Know, Alanis sings about an ex-lover who has scorned her in some way. While she doesn’t go on a roaring rampage of revenge, she does go on a screaming songfest of revenge by releasing this song directed at a specific person from her past. The song itself is her revenge for a man who hurt her when she was younger.
Revenge lyrics: ‘Cause the joke that you laid on the bed that was me
And I’m not gonna fade
As soon as you close your eyes and you know it
And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back
I hope you feel it, well can you feel it?
Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around Comes Around
In this song, Justin Timberlake decides to let karma do the dirty work instead of exacting revenge. In What Goes Around Comes Around, he sings about a woman who cheats on him and ends up being miserable. Rumors say that it’s about Justin’s ex, Britney Spears. However, he has explained that the song is written for his best friend whose girlfriend cheated on him with a guy who crashed at their place.
Revenge lyrics: You spend your nights alone
And he never comes home
And every time you call him,
All you get a busy tone
I heard you found out
That he’s doing to you
What you did to me
Ain’t that the way it goes
When you cheated, girl
My heart bleeded, girl
So keep going without saying
That ya left me feeling hurt
Cee Lo Green – Forget You
It’s easy to think that this song was inspired by a lady who didn’t want to be with “The Lady Killer” before he became famous. But in reality, it’s a song Cee Lo Green wrote for Elektra Records because of their creative differences. He had recorded up to 70 songs for the label, and they didn’t seem to agree with which songs to include in his album.
Revenge lyrics: 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 pity the fool that falls in love with you
Oh shit she’s a gold digger
Beyonce – Irreplacable
Queen Bey’s song about a cheating ex has become an anthem to all the scorned ladies out there. In Irreplacable, she sings about a man who tries to weasel his way back into their home. But Beyonce has packed his bags to show him that she’s done with him. She’s also telling him to go get in the cab because she wants her car back. While harsh, this revenge song is an empowering one that might inspire some ladies to leave their cheating boyfriends.
Revenge lyrics: So go ahead and get gone
Call up that chick and see if she’s home
Oops, I bet you thought, that I didn’t know
What did you think I was putting you out for
Because you was untrue
Rollin’ her around in the car that I bought you
Baby drop them keys
Hurry up before your taxi leaves
Taylor Swift – Dear John
Taylor Swift is known for basing her songs on her ex, and in Dear John she has chosen John Mayer to be her muse. In the song, she sings about how she was so love struck and willing to handle his whims. While not exactly a revenge song when you listen to the lyrics, it has become a controversial song in Taylor’s career because of how overtly obvious it is that John Mayer is the subject. The song’s reputation has, in turn, become her ultimate revenge.
Revenge lyrics: You are an expert at “sorry”
And keeping lines blurry
Never impressed by me acing your tests
All the girls that you’ve run dry have tired lifeless eyes
Cause you’ve burned them out
James Brown – The Payback
Now let’s move on to a funky and soulful song about revenge. The song is actually a threat directed at a man who stole his money and his girlfriend. It’s not clear what he’s about to do, but you can hear just how angry James Brown is – he’s screaming and hollering, and his lyrics are almost fragmented. It’s the perfect arrangement for a song about an extremely angry man looking for payback!
Revenge lyrics: Lord, lord, you took my money, you got my honey
Don’t want me to see what you doing to me
I can get back I gotta deal with you, gotta deal with you
Gotta deal with you, I gotta deal with you
Sublime – Santeria
Santeria is such a fun and catchy song that you wouldn’t initially notice how violent and revenge-filled it is. Santeria is about a guy thinking of using black magic (in this case, through Santeria) to get his girlfriend back. However, she has been stolen by some “Sancho” or “other man” in Spanish slang. The singer also sends out a warning to the “Sancho” to go run and hide because he now has a gun.
Revenge lyrics: I don’t practice Santeria
I ain’t got no crystal ball
Well, I had a million dollars but I, I’d spend it all.
If I could find that Heina, and that Sancho that she’s found
Well, I’d pop a cap in Sancho and I’d slap her down
Blu Cantrell – Hit ‘Em Up Style
Blu Cantrell’s revenge song for a cheating ex is something that many of us want to resort to if we’re not the violent type. Hit ‘Em Up Style is a shout out song to all the ladies who finds that their boyfriend is cheating. Instead of trashing his car or trying to beat him up, Blu’s advice is to go get his card and cash and spend it all on a shopping spree!
Revenge lyrics: While he was scheming
I was beamin’ in the Beamer just beamin’
Can’t believe that I caught my man cheatin’
So I found another way to make him pay for it all
So I went to Neiman & Marcus on a shopping spree
And on my way I grabbed Sole and Mia
And as the cash-box rang I thought everything away
Lily Allen – Smile
Don’t let the title and the tune fool you, because this song is all about getting back at a horrible ex. Allen has stated that the song is actually meant for her ex-boyfriend, DJ Lester Lloyd, who treated her horribly while they were together. However, he still had the gall to want to get back together with her! So every time she sees him crying, all she can do is smile.
Revenge lyrics: At first when I see you cry
It makes me smile
Yeah, it makes me smile
At worst I feel bad for awhile
But then I just smile
I go ahead and smile
Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made for Walkin’
If you want a song about walking all over a guy who treated you badly, this is it. In this song, Nancy sings about a man who’s been messing around with other women. So she puts on her big girl boots and starts walking away. She leaves him with a threat that one day she’ll be walking all over him and there’s nothing he can do about it.
Revenge lyrics: You keep lying when you oughta be truthin’
And you keep losin’ when you oughta not bet
You keep samin’ when you oughta be a-changin’
Now what’s right is right, but you ain’t been right yet
Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue
For a moment, let’s move away from songs about revenge in a relationship. In A Boy Named Sue, the Man in Black sings about a kid whose deadbeat father left him with nothing but the name Sue. So he grows up to be big and mean, looking for revenge on the man who gave him such a horrendous name. Simply reading the lyrics is nothing compared to the experience of hearing Johnny Cash’s expressions as he sings this song!
Revenge lyrics: Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother’d had
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye
He was big and bent and gray and old
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: “My name is ‘Sue!’ How do you do!?
Now you gonna die!”
Yeah that’s what I told ’em
Eamon – F*ck It
And after that short interlude, we’re back at it again with a relationship revenge song. Eamon’s song is all about saying “f*ck it* to everything he shared with an ex who cheated on him. We suppose one of the best ways to exact revenge on someone is to just stop caring.
Revenge lyrics: You thought, you could, keep this shit from me
Yeah, you burnt bitch, I heard the story.
You played me, you even gave him head
Now you’re asking for me back? You’re just another hack
Look elsewhere, cause you’re done with me
Carly Simon – You’re So Vain
It’s one of the music industry’s biggest questions – who is this song about? Carly has admitted that part of it is about Warren Beatty. And in line with the song’s theme of vanity, Warren Beatty has gone on believing that the entire song is about him. The song, the mystery, and the subsequent self-fulfilling prophecy is enough revenge for Carly, we think!
Revenge lyrics: You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?
So which songs on this list perfectly fit your idea of revenge? Share them with us below!