10 Great Songs That Hate Love
Fleetwood Mac for "Dreams" - Fleetwood Mac / Youtube
This Top 10 list of anti-love songs shows that Valentine’s Day can be both a joyous occasion for those in happy relationships and a terrifying prospect for those whose romantic partnerships fall short of expectations. The following songs express empathy for the second situation, be it because they are about jilted lovers, heartbreaking breakups, or just plain love misfortune.
Van Halen – “You’re No Good” (1979)
After being covered by Van Halen, “You’re No Good” took on a new life as a slinky hard rock stomper. This rendition, which opens Van Halen II, blazes with stoner riffs, foreboding harmonies, and David Lee Roth’s squeals. Even if it’s obvious that the subject being addressed is a terrible choice for a date, Van Halen’s sleazy cover emphasizes the point that much more.
Harry Nilsson – “You’re Breaking My Heart” (1972)
You can see why Harry Nilsson is still considered a pioneering songwriter by listening to “You’re Breaking My Heart.” The abrupt vulgarity and vivid details of a violent split make it clear that this song was written in the heat of a breakup.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – “I Hate Myself for Loving You” (1988)
The self-loathing in “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” a top 10 single by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, is palpable. The song is a bubblegum-rock masterpiece because of its screaming stadium riffs, splashy hand claps, and vicious licks from ex-Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.
Bob Dylan – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (1963)
The title line is understood throughout the song to be passive-aggressive, resigned, and sorrowful. In the last verse, though, Dylan’s delivery is tinged with malice.
Nazareth – “Love Hurts” (1975)
Love is a cruel mistress; it stings, leaves wounds, burns, and lies. Frontman Dan McCafferty’s agony-twisted vocals emphasize the vile nature of the feeling, while the song’s understated guitar noodling and drumming keep out of his way as if they intuitively know that McCafferty needs to reach this catharsis on his own.
The Police – “So Lonely” (1978)
Sting’s agonized vamp on the song’s title at the song’s finale, as well as lines like “In this theatre that I call my soul / I always play the starring role / So lonely” makes it one of Police’s anti-love songs.
Def Leppard – “Love Bites” (1987)
Def Leppard’s only number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 is a tense power ballad. In the song “Love Bites,” the lyrics “Watch out, love bites / Yes it does / It will be hell” hint at a deadly desire. The song’s drama, from Joe Elliott’s tormented vocal turn to the massive guitars, is only amplified by Mutt Lange’s enormous production.
Aerosmith – “What It Takes” (1989)
In this epic ballad by Aerosmith, Steven Tyler repeatedly laments about his inability to forget a former. The second verse consists of him moaning, “Girl before I met you, I was F-I-N-E, fine / But your love made me a prisoner, yeah, my heart’s been doing time.” And the chorus, with Tyler pleading: “Tell me what it takes to let you go / Tell me how the pain’s supposed to go.”
J. Geils Band – “Love Stinks” (1980)
J. Geils and the gang have a realistic view of love. And besides, it just “stinks,” not in a serious sense, and the protagonist got himself into this mess by obsessing over a woman who doesn’t feel the same way. This method fits in nicely with the song’s zany organ, drunken harmonies, and the rather cartoon intonations of the title, “Love Stinks.”
Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way” (1977)
When Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, the romantic conflict between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was already well underway. Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way” is one of the greatest (if not the most lasting) musical records of that drama.