We’ve all heard songs about revenge. They are catchy, loud, and make you sing with passion. When you want to let out some anger, these songs are the perfect emotional release. Grab your phone and create the best playlist of these revenge songs. You’ll be blasting them in no time.
1) You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
Warren Beatty was well known for having dalliances with women. His former girlfriend, Carly Simon, was a spurned lover who decided enough is enough. While the song doesn’t explicitly call him out, the debate has raged for decades because of the lyrics. Beatty himself thanked her for writing it. Becoming an anthem for women spurned, Simon was the only girlfriend of Beatty that had a solid revenge track that took the world by storm. The song has since been played in romantic comedies, shows and remains a solid revenge topper today.
2) Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
Irreplaceable is an anthem to all the women that have had scorned love. Beyoncé sings about a man who hurt her and tries to make his way back into her life. Not having any of it, she packs his suitcases and promptly shows him the door. This is a harsh lesson, but this is one revenge song that shows that you can be empowered by moving past a cheating boyfriend that won’t stick around. For many women, it also served as a wake-up call. Throughout the video, we see Beyoncé stick with her convictions and remain strong because she is done being hurt and won’t take any more. Women saw her strength and wanted to be in control for themselves the way she is in the video.
3) These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra
If you need a song that’s about walking over a man that mistreats you, this revenge track is the one you need. Nancy sings about a man who has been seeing other women behind her back. In retaliation, she puts on her best boots and walks away. As she leaves, she warns him that she’s going to be walking all over him, and he has nothing to do but watch.
4) Much Better – The Jonas Brothers
In response to a song written about him, Joe Jonas penned the song about his feelings stating that his new girlfriend is much better and he’s glad to be done with ‘superstars.’ Since the song came out, it gained popularity, though there was debate if it was as hot as the song that inspired it. Nonetheless, it made quite a statement for breakup revenge.
5) Forget You – Cee Lo Green
Green has stated that this song was about breaking ties. His revenge was topping the charts with a piece that has classic R&B and a smooth hook that doesn’t leave you wondering. Men everywhere loved this song as it reflected how they felt about the women who had done them wrong. Polls have shown that many people felt revenge songs were performed mainly by women, and it was a nice change to see a strong male performer show that that wasn’t always true.
6) Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
Justin hasn’t said who this song is about, but the world knows it well—using his talent and skill to sing about a woman who cheats and doesn’t dare to tell him herself. The man she cheats on him with does. He had admitted that a phone call before a recording session was the inspiration for this video. His breakups and love life have been tumultuous. Still, this video, in particular, shows his hurt and anger as he films himself kissing another woman before placing it in the lookalike ex-girlfriend’s room. Topping the charts immediately, he got his revenge, and now it’s his ex who wants to cry.
7) Bad Blood – Taylor Swift
Bad blood gained instant fame when it appeared because it had a great theme, a great cast, and was amazingly catchy. While there are many other revenge Taylor Swift songs, this remains one of her most popular ones, and people still blast it every day. Since another singer came out with her hit in retaliation, many played the two hits to see which they liked better.
The song was revenge for issues that she had with another female singer about to go on tour. Taylor felt that the singer sabotaged her and, in return, wrote Bad Blood. Her ‘squad’ made appearances letting them know where they stood, and celebrities made cameos. Taylor sings unashamedly about how the relationship will never be the same and for the offender to look at what they’ve done. The end showcases two squads about to face off as the world implodes behind them.
8) Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
She is telling the story of a potentially adulterous relationship. In her mind, he is seeing another woman and her revenge is to take a baseball bat to his car. While Carrie has experienced a cheating relationship, she doesn’t recommend causing property damage. However, this has become an anthem for women worldwide, and it sold over four million digital downloads. Maybe this song will inspire men to start thinking before having an affair. This is definitely a great storytelling song, to say the least!
9) So What – Pink
Following her separation from Carey Hart, Pink wrote the revenge track So What. There are several references to her relationship in the song, and through it all, she doesn’t wallow or get despondent. She rises above, enjoys her career, and lets her ex know that he didn’t break her. She is still strong, and she feels great. Shooting up the charts, it became a message to other women not to let a breakup get you down as well as becoming one of the best revenge songs of all time.
10) I Hope You’re Happy Now – Elvis Costello
When you break up with someone, you feel hurt, angry, and emotionally shattered. Elvis decided to write a perfect way to let your ex know exactly how you feel. While it sounds cheery, the words are passive-aggressive and dig at his ex while simultaneously making comments about her new man. Revenge isn’t sweet, and in this case, it is pretty petty.
11) The Outlandish Knight – Shirley And Dolly Collins
Well known and an ancient story about revenge, this song has a common revenge theme. A young woman discovers her boyfriend is a horrible murderer and wants her to disrobe so he can have her expensive dress. Instead of letting him kill her as he has to the others, she requests that he cut a thistle from a branch; when he turns to do so, she pushes him in the water and refuses to help him. Instead of becoming a victim, she becomes the aggressor in perfect revenge. Though murder is not something that should be joked about or performed, the song encapsulates female rage. Read more songs related to water in our top list now!
12) Piece By Piece – Kelly Clarkson
Not all revenge songs are about someone experiencing a cheating relationship. Some are about revenge against a neglectful parent. In this song, we hear Kelly sing to the point of almost crying about her father being indifferent and her stepfather renewing her faith that a father could stay. It offers the ultimate revenge in showing how she has a new father that showed her love that her biological father never could.
13) Don’t Speak – No Doubt
Imagine the awkwardness that would ensue from writing a revenge song about someone while still in the band with said person. That’s what happened in the band No Doubt. Rumored that Gwen Stefani’s relationship with a band member was through, she penned Don’t Speak. They performed it on tour and for concerts everywhere. A strong revenge statement, indeed.
14) Rolling In The Deep – Adele
An unrevealed ex has inspired Adele’s album. Rolling In The Deep is widely considered one of the strongest revenge songs that she has ever written though that is arguable as she has others that are highly ranked and loved. Singing passionately about her pain and letting her ex know that she is not one to be underestimated, Adele’s song has resonated with people who have genuinely experienced the pain of betrayal. Adele has a strong personality through her music, and it inspires anyone who has a painful breakup to show yourself that you are stronger than you think and can move on gracefully. Find more painful songs in this list here.
Read next: Our list of the best songs about betrayal
15) Wide Awake – Katy Perry
Wide Awake has been rumored to be inspired by Katy’s famous ex-husband. She sings about how she felt on top of the world until she slams back down to Earth. Her song quickly topped the charts and resonated with people because the music is so relatable. Everyone has experienced a love that makes you feel like Icarus flying into the sun. However, many people have also experienced what happens when the sun burns the wings. Soon after this revenge hit had been written, she began dating again.
16) Obsessed – Mariah Carrey
Obsessed is a revenge hit that came out from constant dilemmas with the media about claims of a relationship with another musician. Controversial yet catchy, it became the most popular song on her album, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. While she never said who the song was about, everyone had a solid idea. Mainly when another musician came out with a revenge hit of their own in response. The song ponders why a man would be so obsessed with Mariah, singing about her and claiming that they were in a relationship. It paints the man in a negative light as she asks, “why you so obsessed with me?”
17) 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
9 to 5 is not a song about revenge against a person. Instead, it’s a revenge song against workplaces. In the song, she conveys her experience as a woman in a workplace that is sexist. Unlike other revenge songs that portray murder, the mistreated workers take action against the boss’s mistreatment another way by kidnapping him in this revenge song. Though this isn’t an acceptable answer either, people see that revenge hits have gotten more violent in recent years. Dolly has received praise decades later for creating a revenge hit that is not overly violent. It has also retained a reputation for being one of the best revenge songs.
18) Done – The Band Perry
When country music singers hit their limit, many decide to write a revenge song. The Band Perry has written a tune about cutting the ties when someone mistreats you. In the video, you watch as Kim Perry sings about that the breakup will hit him hard enough to see stars. It follows the trend of women mistreated and responding with disgust, but also distrust and fury. Violence is a common theme as well, and it is seen most often in Country music.
19) Hit ‘Em Up Style – Blu Cantrell
For those who don’t believe in being violent when breaking up, this revenge hit is excellent for you. Instead of being violent and cruel, this revenge hit showcases a scorned woman who stops paying for the cheater’s bills, car, and instead, she sells all of his things before treating herself to a shopping spree. Many have preferred songs like this because they portray non-violent ways to treat a breakup. The joke is that stealing isn’t the answer either, but the singer knew someone that did this to their ex, proving it does happen.
20) Don’t – Ed Sheeran
No one likes adulterous relationships, and Ed Sheeran doesn’t either. The song ‘Don’t’ is said to be about a musician he was involved with who cheated on him with a member of a popular boy band. Ed himself hasn’t revealed the truth, but the song lyrics themselves are telling. As he sings about never seeing the other man as a threat until the woman runs off with him, he reiterates that she should never mess with his love. The song became an instant hit and let women know that it isn’t just them that have a problem with cheating.
21) I Bet – Ciara
Ciara was in the midst of a public breakup with her fiancé and the father of her child when she made her album Jackie and has said the album comes from the events that were taking place in her personal life at the time. ‘I Bet’ became one of the most well-known songs about revenge. In her lyrics, she sings that even though her ex bought her a car, she can take care of herself. The music is powerful and stands out as a strong message to women that you don’t need a man to make you feel upgraded. You can make yourself feel that way and retain your strength instead of letting a man tear you down.
22) Take A Bow – Rihanna
‘Take a Bow’ is about Rihanna not wanting to get back together with an unfaithful ex-boyfriend. She won’t take any more excuses, and she wants out. It has received praise for being an act of solid revenge hit with a message for women about recognizing that enough is enough. It also shows women that you can remember when someone is putting on a show because they feel guilty. Her inner strength shines through in the video. Throughout the music video, we see her rebuking her ex-boyfriends’ advances, and the song fades into silence as she sets his clothes on fire before walking away for good.
23) White Liar – Miranda Lambert
White Liar is a revenge hit that sounds a bit country with a rock edge. In the video, she walks down the aisle for her wedding and passes every woman her groom has cheated on her with. In a surprising twist of fate, Miranda gets her revenge by revealing she’s been lying to. Immediately running off with his best man, she gets her revenge as he stands there in shock. The lyrics tell a woman who realizes her fiancé is a liar and warns that he needs to be careful about what he is saying. She also confirms that she’s glad she is not in his position.
The white lies come out little by little, and as she reveals that people have seen him being unfaithful, she has been too. She gleefully admits that she is a white liar, too, though Miranda reflects that she doesn’t know how it came to be this way.
24) Get Outta My Way – Kylie Minogue
Kylie is known for being a princess of the pop world. In this song, she sings passionately with a background of fantastic piano chords and riffs. The difference between this song and her previous ones is that instead of an upbeat song about love and happiness, you get a revenge title about being frustrated with the person that you are with. Instead of being happy, she laments that she doesn’t understand what has happened to them. Singing that if they cannot meet her needs, she will leave, the video has her surrounded by men in various states of undress, and she repeats that her current boyfriend needs to get out of her way.
Everyone reaches a point in their relationships and their lives when they realize love isn’t working and that the two people are only hurting each other as time goes on. Instead of letting it get worse, Kylie laments that her boyfriend needs to become alive again, or she can’t continue this relationship the way that it is. It contains a sad message, but one that holds true, and in the video, Kylie is unapologetic about understanding what she needs in her life and heart. A great video to check out if you want to see what self-awareness and strength look like.
25) Goodbye Earl – The Dixie Chicks
Goodbye Earl is one of the most controversial revenge songs because they show domestic abuse and then murder. With a catchy tune and powerful visuals, we see a horrific, abusive relationship that doesn’t end until he places his wife in intensive care. Instead of going to the authorities, the wife and her best friend plot to kill him, and the song begins to ask if he likes it in a tarp. As they dispose of the body, they slowly move on with their lives as the investigation wanes, and everyone seems to forget that Earl even existed as life gets better.
While the Dixie Chicks were already well known, this song helped cement them into a popular band that people were eager to listen to. To this day, decades later, the song still has a cultural impact. However, some people say as a song about revenge; it is solid; however, it hasn’t aged well as a presentation of specific issues.
26) Hate (I Really Don’t Like You) – Plain White T’s
Rumors swirled for years about this song but without answers. However, this is one of the band’s most popular hits, and it has an impact decades later. The video showcases a woman and a man who has broken up, and he wants nothing to do with her. As she explores the town in the video, people visibly cringe and clutch themselves so that they don’t touch her. The singer almost seems to have a twinkle in his eye when he sees this, and he continues to belt that while hate is a strong word, he really does not like this woman. Understandable after a breakup. After this song gained popularity, it became a favorite as couples breaking up would send the music to each other or call the other out on social media letting their friends know what had happened. Not exactly the most mature option, but it is good to know that a good song will never die.
27) One Way Or Another – Blondie
This revenge hit stems from a coping mechanism. Debbie Harry co-wrote this song, and it followed Heart of Glass. It was her response to an ex-boyfriend that she had. He would call her repeatedly, stalk her, and make her terrified. As a result, she came up with One Way Or Another. Now considered one the best revenge hits to come out of the seventies, Harry explained to magazines that it was a survival mechanism for a situation that is so personal. She believes the song gained traction because everyone can relate to it, and it is a way to shake things off and move on with your life. Her guitarist has had comments to make on the song, telling people that the girl in the song isn’t a victim; instead, she is a self-empowered figure. A strong message for women everywhere this song appears in everything from movies to shows to podcasts.
28) Fighter – Christina Aguilera
‘Fighter’ came to be because Christina went through an emotionally difficult time upon discovering her ex-boyfriend was gay. When you listen to the lyrics, it is clear that she was hurting and that after all this time, she may still carry hurt feelings. Upon revealing what triggered the song, someone told her that he would be upset and hurt for her calling him out. Christina simply said that she hoped that were true.
The lyrics are about taking a challenging situation and making it better while trying to make sure that you don’t stay there if you get knocked down. Finding your inner strength is essential, and if you can find the will to keep going when things seem impossible, you will be better for it. Christina had said that she wanted the song to reflect who she was and wrote it when she had a lot on her mind. It was an outlet and emotional release. Christina takes the good and the bad and becomes better for all of it. Her song has inspired people of all ages, cultures, and situations to fight for themselves while becoming more robust and better each day.
29) The Thunder Rolls – Garth Brooks
This is a song that has two areas of revenge. When the song came out, they thought that the music was too dark, so it became edited. The story portrays a man cheating on his wife and thinks she doesn’t know. However, he makes the fatal mistake of leaving his mistress’s perfume on him, and she learns the truth. As they fight, a storm is blowing outside their home, and she tells herself in the mirror that it is the last time she will wonder where he’s been.
The second part of this revenge is that Garth wanted to play the entire song, not the clean version. He did against people advising him not to and proceeded to win coveted awards for the choice. In addition to that, he has played the version he wants on tours and in front of audiences as well.
30) Trailer For Rent – Pistol Annies
Romantically, people can sometimes hit their limit, and when it happens, there is usually fighting and hurt feelings. In ‘Trailer For Rent’, you see an innovative solution for when your man has taken things too far, and you quit. Where other country songs use violence to get their point across, these ladies do not. The music starts nice and chipper, the way most country songs do before you hear the annoyance comes through. Soon after, the song picks up, and you hear the frustration rolling off the women in waves.
A woman comes home and puts her jeans on before leaving beans on the stove and leaving. She immediately puts an ad in the local paper that offers a trailer for rent, no down payment. After ten years, her husband is still in that same trailer. He never noticed his wife left, or he didn’t care, but either way, the female lead doesn’t care because she’s moved on with her life.
31) The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Vicki Lawrence
A song about revenge and murder, this reached number one in 1973. Vicki decided that she thought it would be a hit and told her husband that they should try to make it a success. The exciting thing about the music was that her husband had wanted to give it to other artists, and they didn’t want it. Finally, on the advice of his producer, Vicki decided to go into the studio and record it herself. It instantly shot to number one even though it’s a darker theme. People felt that it resonated inside them and her career changed drastically as a result. When asked about this song, she has joked that she lost her marriage, but her revenge was getting the dog and her music hitting number one. She received a gold record for the song as well. Revenge doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.