On the days when you’re unbelievably angry, it’s great to hear a musical artist also share a similar emotion in a catchy song. So in this article, I’m going provide you with my absolute favorite songs about rage and deep-seated anger. Hopefully, one or two of these songs will become your go-to theme song the next time you need to blow off a little steam.
What About by Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson’s best album—in my humble opinion, of course—is The Velvet Rope. That album, which is certainly her most revealing album, allows us behind the curtain to see all of the various facets that make up Ms. Jackson.
And while we all love “Together Again” for its glorious tribute to friends and family members that have passed on, and tracks like “I Get Lonely” for their sexy music video imagery, Janet’s “What About” gets a little lost in the shuffle—and it’s a real shame.
On this track, Janet is raging against a man that has dogged her out verbally and harmed her physically. On this song, which teeters back and forth between quiet passages and intense, bass heavy moments, Janet sings about never wanting to return to a toxic relationship where she felt trapped and had to deal with emotional abuse.
Kim by Eminem
Well, if you thought Janet Jackson’s “What About” was a doozy…whoo boy, buckle up folks. You ain’t seen ‘nothing yet.
Eminem’s “Kim,” in many ways, is almost like the opposite side of the same coin with “What About.” In many ways, they could be companion works of art, despite “Kim” appearing to sound a bit more like a dark, twisted fantasy, and “What About” feeling a bit more grounded and real.
But, that doesn’t take the fright out of Eminem’s “Kim.” This is a disturbing track to listen to, one in which Marshall Mathers raps about beating and killing his ex-wife Kim.
Whether intentionally done on purpose, or perhaps just a result of the state of the media, Eminem found himself ensnared in controversy for so many songs on his The Marshal Mathers LP album, and this song may have in fact been public enemy number one.
This was always a song that I felt had incredible storytelling and imagery, so much so that it never felt “real,” but more of a twisted nightmarish fantasy conjured up by a deranged individual. Sure, it’s meant to be disturbing, but never literal. To me, that always felt quite evident based on the performance by Em, and how the track was produced. In fact, for me, this was always the brilliance behind the song. “Kim” felt like a movie—even though it was solely an auditory experience.
Nevertheless, I suppose that doesn’t change how the song makes people feel. And this is indeed a disturbing song, especially if you’re a survivor of abuse. But it’s also a great song, and perhaps a cautionary tale too.
Caught Out There by Kelis
I remember being in preschool when I first saw the video to Kelis’ “Caught Out There.” There she was, a stunning woman with fiery red hair, screaming with raw rage about a bygone Casanova.
I may be a peaceful soul now, but back then, I was an angry spirit trapped in a child’s body. I will never forget the awe-inspiring feeling I felt when I first heard the chorus ring,
“I hate you so much right now! I hate you so much right now! Aaaaaaaaaaaah! I hate you so much right now!”
I could understand neither her feelings of heartbreak, nor her shameful feelings of being deceived in a romantic sense. However, one universal feeling I could grasp was that she was angry, and I wanted to be angry with her.
I had so many people to hate when I was a kid; more than any child should ever have to list. Thus, dancing around the living room to this song became one of my favorite pastimes, and it’s awfully clear I was a headbanger at a very young age.
Rage by Rico Nasty
Rico Nasty is the embodiment of my former self. She has no grudges or bitter resentment held towards anyone. She’s sort of just a chaotic spirit roaming the Earth, searching for a reaction from anyone who is unlucky enough to witness her wrath.
“My b****** ragin’ and blackin’ out, keep my name out your f***** mouth before you find out what we about. Type of s*** that you read about.”
Rico Nasty made it very clear that she prefers her social circle to be filled with rage, as well. She warns us that if anyone tries to get in their way, they are sure to be met with an unspeakable violence. She takes pride in her outwardly destructive behavior, especially now that it’s earned her the fame and money she proclaimed she was destined to earn.
“Two bands on my shoes, they ain’t even got laces; I-I-I like bad b****** who be ragin’. Rage, ragin’, ragin’, rage!”
Venom by Little Simz
If Rico Nasty is an ode to my former, unhinged rageful self, then Little Simz’s powerful “Venom” helps me celebrate the introverted, focused, and controlled rage broiling within me nowadays. With dead shot energy, Simz gives you a glimpse into the frustration she feels about the music industry.
F*** those who don’t believe
They would never wanna admit I’m the best here
From the mere fact that I’ve got ovaries
It’s a woman’s world, so to speak
P****, you sour
Never givin’ credit where it’s due ’cause you don’t like p**** in power
Simz is well-aware she is an extremely talented individual, and humbly admits the fact she successfully manifests her blessings. However, due to the misogynistic industry she has had so much success in, she is constantly plagued by people who feel the need to attach the label “female MC” onto all her achievements. It’s a perplexing thing that strikes both Simz and myself as strange.
“…because I’m a woman, they find me intimidating and I’m a threat,” she says in an interview.
I love “Venom” and it often shows up in my many workout and rage playlists. Every day of my life, I feel the anger within me caused by people saying dumb things, such as “Wow, you know how to drive a manual engine ‘for a woman,’ I’m impressed!” or “For a woman, you’re so strong!”
I want to tell those people to get the f*** outta here—there is nothing more infuriating than someone who thinks less of you because of your anatomy. Yet Simz gives me the strength to pay them no mind. Even with anger, she channels her emotions into her passion and continues to make strides; but don’t underestimate her…she will cut you down if you try to get in her way.
“Rage, nothin’ but rage; can’t figure out if I’m goin’ insane. Ain’t no doubt we’ll be showing no mercy, so think twice if you wanna get blazed.”
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I.H.E. by Miss May I
Although many artists make music with lyrics that we can relate to, we have to understand that the rage many artists feel are mainly directed towards the toxicity of the music industry that has both helped and hurt numerous lives.
In an interview, Levi Benton, lead screamer of Miss May I, explains how an agent corrupted paperwork of a home he purchased, and put he and his wife, his clothing company, and his life savings, out on the streets.
“I was just mad because no one could help me…because nobody cares in the music industry…. I was calling everyone; not that I wanted help, I just needed some guidance. It was a nightmare; it’s still a nightmare.” – 2015 Interview, Alternative Press
On “I.H.E.,” an acronym of “I Hate Everyone,” Benton spills out his frustrations toward his situation:
“I’m sick of it all, burying me; take the weight, and let it out. Dying inside of my life, I suffocate and burn alive. I hate everything! I hate everyone!”
Anyone would be outraged if they were in Benton’s shoes, and would likely use this song to let it all out in a place of safety. On a lighter note, this tragic event happened years ago, so Benton is in a much better situation now.
Actually, Miss May I recently played a show in my city, so they’ve grown since the release of this track. Let the band’s experience be a reminder to you that even if you feel temporary anger in the moment, things will surely work out with time and dedication.
FU by Sordid Pink
Sometimes people push us to the brink of our sanity and make us into people who are capable of intense hatred. Sordid Pink gives us a much needed and well-deserved outlet that allows us to express our anger towards someone in our lives who is a liar, a manipulator, and a consistent antagonizer.
You’ve met that person who will push your buttons, then apologize, pretending they don’t know any better. Yet they will turn around and do the same thing over and over because they know you will just take it.
Well, not anymore buddy.
“For everything you put me through, believe me when I say it’s true. I hate you. I hate you.”
I know how that feels. I had to get burned multiple times before I embraced the fact that the people in my life just weren’t healthy for me. I felt such freedom when I acknowledged my deep-rooted anger that went for miles within my soul. And if you’re angry or full of rage, perhaps about a past event or family member, don’t worry—you will feel that freedom one day, too.
Cutthroat by blessthefall
As a fiery single from their album Hard Feelings, the title of Blessthefall’s album says everything. In Cutthroat, the lyrics reflect the state of mind of someone who is utterly fed up with the unhealthy antics of the people in question.
Jared Warth comes out of the gate swinging on this track, holding nothing back as he describes how the formative years of his life impacted him.
“A life less than perfect; more rips at the seams. You can’t sew me together to fix what’s been done; I’ve felt it all, but I can’t feel numb…. So, stay away; we’ve been down this road before.”
Whether you’ve dealt with unhealthy romantic relationships, unhealthy familial relationships, or unhealthy friendships, take a page from Blessthefall’s book and put your foot down. No one has a right to hurt you, let alone be a repeat offender in your life.
It’s okay to feel the anger bubbling up within you, as you think about another person’s transgressions. Uuse that anger to get you to a place of safety and peace. Just as Beau Bokan and Jared Warth say in the chorus:
“It’s safe to say I can’t do this anymore, and I’m not the only one. It’s so wrong.”
I Came Back to B**** by L7
This article wouldn’t be complete without an indie goth song to get us rowdy. While it isn’t clear what happened to make L7 returned to the spotlight after so many years, one thing is clear: They came back to b****.
“’Cause I’m the big dog; you’re simply the bone. You got friends in high places, but I got ‘em real low, I got ‘em real low…. I came back, back to b****.”
I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I have sang, jumped, and head banged to this song. At the end of the week, we release all the pent-up anger we accumulated during the ridiculousness of the week that our jobs brought to us.
This party track is perfect, as it’s very clear towards the end that the singer, Donita Sparks, is having fun with the anger she likely cultivated in the years she was dormant.
I’m So Sick by Flyleaf
It’s not often one comes across such a timeless track with a timeless meaning. “I’m So Sick” has a quietly unstable beginning that always catches me off-guard, as she roars at the end of the first verse. She is past the edge of no return, and desperate to break free from the environment that make her so rife with mental disease.
“I’m so sick, infected with where I live. Let me live without this empty bliss, selfishness, I’m so sick!”
I used to live in a toxic environment that made me sick. It made me feel like a caged animal, which is why I truly appreciate the animalistic growls and howls Flyleaf performs on this track.
I developed such a deep-seated anger that is still taking years to fully release. As Flyleaf describes it, the feeling is like an invasive bad smell that seeps into your clothes and can’t quite be washed out.
Mental Filth by Galactic Goth
This gothic electronic, grungy masterpiece was performed by one of the most formidable renegades in music. The track begins as a low, brewing rumble, as the singer growls out the many feelings he’s experienced in the past.
From suicidal ideation, rage, the isolation of being weaponized against, he’s overcome with the myriad of emotions that result from the depression of a traumatic past, that he sets ablaze, screaming out into the void.
“Mental filth! Mental filth! I can’t do this anymore!
Anger can lie slumbering inside of us for so long, until an event so massive can trigger us, sending us into a flying rage. This is the “mental filth” Galactic Goth describes, as anger is like a pus-filled infection that needs time to bubble up, fester, and pop, releasing all the anguish we have kept inside for so long.
Marked for Death by Emma Ruth Rundle
If you’ve ever been in an unhealthy relationship, whether platonic, romantic, or various family issues, you’ll know that getting out is about as easy as pushing a massive boulder uphill. Clothed in soft torment, Emma Ruth Rundle looks back on the relationship she had with a lover.
It was right that we did meet each other in each other’s eyes
It was right that we did see each other in our shadow sides
It was wrong then too that crazy love, loves crazy as it does
And each of us and both of us so crazy, as it was
Despite knowing how tumultuous her relationship is with her lover, she then tumbles into a rage, listing many reasons why no one will ever love her lover like she does. She asks who else would care for them until the end of their days, keep them safe, and stay by their side. No one, she implies, for her lover is marked for death (i.e., unlovable and doomed to live in misery for eternity).
Though she’s angrily pointing out all her lover’s flaws, with time, she finds clarity on the fact that she was projecting all of her insecurities on her lover all along.
“Who else would ever stay? Who else is going to love someone like…me? Who else is going to love someone like me that’s marked for death?”
Now that her lover is gone, she is left with nothing but her rage, which she in turn directs onto herself.
Death Sequence iii by The Physics House Band (feat. Steward Lee)
The Physics House Band’s ominous act three of their “Death Sequence” EP features Stewart Lee, who pays homage to music hall entertainer, Fred Barnes. While Barnes created music enjoyed by all, he lived in a society that rejected his way of life, for he was openly gay.
In “Death Sequence iii,” the bitter and resentful words of Lee identify himself with Barnes’s lived experiences and alludes to one of Barnes’s popular 1907 songs, “The Black Sheep of the Family.”
“I’m the black sheep of the family, that’s what they call me. I’m the black sheep of the family.”
Lost in his own anguish, Lee continues to act as the voice of Barnes, wistfully reminiscing about his achievements that seem like nothing to him now.
“I was the Duke of Solihull. So are you, so am I. I’m the Black Sheep of the Family, that’s what they call me. And I sung it out, in Hackney, what difference does it make now? The Duke of Solihull. How success has ruined me.”
The Duke of Solihull was a leading role Barnes played in a popular theater in Hackney, England; he mentions playing this role a second time, now mockingly, for he kicks himself for ever becoming famous. If he had known the world would turn on him for being queer, he probably would have never blessed the world with his talents.
The tone of Lee is tired and quietly brewing with an unfathomable rage within him that is only released at the end; his screaming is unintelligible, yet indicative of years of pent-up anger that is having its heyday in a release.
If you’ve ever been so caught up in your own anger that you begin to identify with tragic artists, you would love this amazing track.
Tape End by Agent Fresco
Agent Fresco manically tells a fascinating narrative of a recording of the final angry words of a dying man. With both words that trip over one another and alluringly chaotic instrumentation, the Icelandic band describes the man’s last moments, spinning the tale into a whirlwind of emotions.
“’It’s always a f****** half-moon on New Year’s Eve,’ the dry lips angrily flooded out, ‘…and the stars fail me!’ So as the audio repeated itself, a long burned-out recorded romance was now an overdubbed orgy of heart-broken howls.”
Dry lips are indicative of dehydration, which can be a symptom of someone who is very ill and in their last stages of life. The man is not taking this so well, as he mourns the fact his miserable life is now coming to an end.
Faster and faster, his psyche begins its violent shift to the brink of madness. Agent Fresco parallels the man’s experience with allusions to Edgar Allen Poe.
“…His head started to waltz to the sound of a polluted pendulum. Playing dead with open eyes, he slowly places the recorder close to ear and is left with a lick from a thousand coffin tongues: ‘You are listening to a dead man speak.’ He was found with the face of a dirty sea rising….”
The music quiets with muted mania, before erupting into a chorus of screams repeating “Tape End! Tape End!” before the recording is left on a consistent loop of the man’s final screams of agony.
Scream by Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
Who ever thought you would get a rage-filled song by two of the biggest, yet most quiet, superstars in all of pop music? Well, I certainly didn’t, but that’s exactly what we have here on the song “Scream” by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.
This song is probably most remembered for two things:
- Having one of the most expensive music videos at the time
- Michael Jackson actually utterly a curse word (and the F-word, at that).
But as a song, standing solely on its own, it’s really quite something. On this song, we get to see these two pop legends let loose all their grievances and frustrations, hitting on topics like paparazzi, the media, and worldwide injustice.
Tired of injustice
Tired of the schemes
Lies are disgusted
So what does it mean
Kicking me down
I got to get up
As jacked as it sounds
The whole system sucks, damnit
Don’t you feel better now? These songs about rage get me so fired up and ready to take on the day.
Now that your blood is boiling at a nice, hot temperature, take all of that energy and channel it into something you love, such as writing, dancing, video games, anything that is safe and productive.
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This article was written by Randa, with three select additions by Michael (“What About,” “Kim,” and “Scream”).