Valentine’s Day is ten days away. In honor of that, I am sharing my favorite love songs. I decided to share my favorite angry ex-lover songs and why they mean something to me.
Breakups happen all the time. Sometimes they’re mutual, and other times, one person feels dumped. When the dumped one is angry about their fate, some great music can come out of the situation. My top three angry ex-lover songs are listed below.
1. “Sleep to Dream” written and performed by Fiona Apple (1996).
This song came out when I was a teenager. It brings back tons of memories from when I was in high school, trying desperately to get a boy to like me. Fiona has a haunting voice that screams with emotion. In this case, her anger cannot be contained as she tells the lover who jilted her where to go. She sets the angry/hurt tone immediately with her opening lines:
I tell you how I feel, but you don’t care
I say tell me the truth, but you don’t dare
You say love is a hell you cannot bear
And I say give me mine back and then go there
For all I care
I wouldn’t want to be the person who scorned her. She wants back the love she wasted on this person and for them to go to hell. That’s pretty angry. The title comes from lines later in the chorus:
I got my feet on the ground
And I don’t go to sleep to dream
She’s level-headed and grounded in reality. Her eyes are wide open to the deception from her former lover. I like the soft base and ominous build-up of the melody. At 21 years old, when I needed it most, the song still spoke to me as much as it did when I bought Apple’s album, Tidal, when I was 15.
2. “You Oughta Know” performed by Alanis Morissette (1995), written by Morissette and Gary Ballard.
I still remember the feeling of awe when I first saw this video on MTV (back when MTV aka Music Television actually played music) at 14. I was amazed at the messy-haired woman rocking out on the screen. The song starts out nice by wishing her lover happiness:
I want you to know, that I am happy for you
I wish nothing but the best for you both
It soon takes a more sinister tone as she begins to rant at her ex about how poorly she’s taking the breakup vs how he is. After a few more lines, her confidence is back enough for her to taunt him with these lines:
‘Cause the joke that you laid in 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
The final nail in the coffin for this guy is the final words in the chorus and the whole song:
You, you, you oughta know
She’s hurt and angry about the guy moving on to someone else, which can only mean she loved him deeply. Listening to her songs empowered me as a teen with the courage to write about my feelings, including the angry ones.
3. “Insensitive” performed by Jann Arden (1994), written by Anne Loree.
I first noticed this song on a movie, Bed of Roses (1996), starring Mary Stuart Masterson and Christian Slater. It was a beautiful love story with a little heartache mixed in. Even at 15, I loved that kind of drama like I do now at 36. In this song, a woman asks her former lover for advice on getting over their breakup, effectively calling him insensitive in the process. Her love for him is clear in the lyrics:
How do you block the sound
Of a voice you’d know anywhere?
Reality sets in as she realizes that she probably loved him more than he loved her (if he ever loved her):
Oh, you probably won’t remember me
It’s probably ancient history
I’m one of the chosen few
Who went ahead and fell for you
She blames herself for not picking up on the signs of their imminent demise, but still feels the pain from the loss of the relationship. The kicker is the question she has for him:
I thought that you might have some advice to give,
On how to be insensitive
Honorable mentions (listed alphabetically):
- “Elastic Heart” Sia.
- “Go Your Own Way” Fleetwood Mac.
- “So What?” P!NK.
Be sure to look for the next post tomorrow. The subject will be bittersweet songs about moving on.
Thank you for reading. What’s your favorite angry love song?
-Brandi Easterling Collins