This past weekend I went to the Phoenix in Toronto to see two cover bands play: the U2 cover band Elevation, and the Oasis cover band Supersonic. The crowd was singing their heart out to the Oasis song – Don’t look back in Anger. I think this is a funny song to be sung by Oasis, a band that has been notoriously angry. My husband had seen them in concert when he was in university, and the lead singer, Liam Gallagher, walked off the stage after getting angry at the crowd. I’m doubtful that he was singing this song at the time.
Listening to angry music or music about anger can be therapeutic for many people. Parents struggling with what their teens listen to seems to be a right of passage in every generation. I remember when I was a teenager, I was outside doing some work with one of my younger sisters (who is much cooler than I am). She had chosen to listen to Rage against the Machine and I went along with it – it was actually pretty good, although perhaps angrier than the types of music I would have normally chosen.
Many parents have asked me about their teens listening to screamo music or other hate-filled music and its impact on their child. The main thing is to help your child notice if whether they feel better or angrier after listening to the piece of angry music. If you’re feeling angrier, then consider a different choice. Or start with angry music and then shift to something that will help you feel better.
There are tons of angry songs out there, from passive-aggressive pop songs to rageful, expletive-filled screaming pieces. People are so creative at expressing anger.
So, when Liam Gallagher walked off that stage – which one do you think he was most likely to be singing in his head?
(In order from “singing about anger nicely” to “ragefully singing a song”)
1. Justin Timberlake – Cry me a River
Oh Justin, your bitterness works so well in this song. He never actually says he’s angry, but you can feel it simmering behind these words to Britney.
2. Kelly Clarkson – Since You’ve Been Gone
There are so many choices in the category of, “Look i’m hot, I’m doing really well without you, and you’re going to regret this”. I could’ve picked so many songs by Taylor Swift.
3. Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats
This is “Look i’m hot, I’m doing really well without you, and you’re going to regret this”, but with revenge too.
4. Alanis Morrisette – You Oughta Know
If you grew up in the nineties, this was the epitomy of angst and bitterness. I think I listened to Jagged Little Pill 100 times.
5. Pink – So What
Pink adds an extra edge to the pop songs about anger. She makes fun of her anger and flows with it.
6. Cee Lo Green – F*ck You
It’s always amusing when you the radio version of the song is a sugar-coated version of the original message. I guess depending on what mood you’re in you can choose the original or the revised version “Forget You”. Anger mixed with sugary-sweetness. And he has kids singing it in this video! Controversy!
7. Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings
I still have the album, Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness – this song probably captures my teen angst the most.
8. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Going to Take It
Eighties rockers sending a message about not taking it anymore – how much make-up and great hair will be involved?
9. Three Days Grace – I Hate Everything About You
Three Days Grace doesn’t mince words.
10. Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of
Ragefully singing an angry song. If someone is sure he’s angry, it’s this lead singer. If only there was a mosh-pit available for anyone listening to this song.
I have no doubt that as you look at this list you can see HUGE gaps – where’s the rap, metal, or screamo music? Don’t I have any choices past 2008? There are a lot of angry songs. I was googling “angry rap songs” – and to be honest I didn’t want to listen to them all to choose a favourite. So, if you see a song that is an obvious miss in this list – please post it in the comments.
When you’re angry, what piece of music speaks to you?