Bitter Songs
December 14, 2011 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Tell me you favorite bitter, angry songs.

I'm going through a terrible breakup right now. Instead of asking for advice I just want to know your favorite bitter, angry, and break-up-y songs. I'm thinking more in terms of lyrics than sound (I don't like screamy music.) I've been listening to Damien Rice's song Cheers Darlin' over and over, I find it to be a perfectly bitter and beautiful piece. Also a lot of Bright Eyes. But I really want music with that sad angry bitterness that most songs don't seem to express. Youtube or other links would be awesome.
Even bitter pieces of poetry would be of interest. I want others' experiences of that acidic biting type of hurt.
posted by catatethebird to Media & Arts (158 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
No Children by The Mountain Goats. Can't get much more bitter than a chorus that goes, "I hope you die. I hope we both die."
posted by Laura Macbeth at 9:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]

Sing another song, boys
posted by unliteral at 9:12 PM on December 14, 2011

You Oughta Know comes immediately to mind.
posted by cairdeas at 9:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]

Bob Dylan - I Don't Believe You
posted by brennen at 9:13 PM on December 14, 2011

When I was where you are last year, the petty anger of Gives You Hell scratched this itch for me. Also The Dresden Dolls' Backstabber.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:14 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Boots and Skulls by the Interpestuals
posted by Seamus at 9:15 PM on December 14, 2011

Golden Chain of Hate - Porter Hall Tennessee (actually a Gene Wilcox song)
posted by Seamus at 9:17 PM on December 14, 2011

Holly Golightly - Can't stand to see your face, and Give Back Time
posted by grapesaresour at 9:19 PM on December 14, 2011

Sinead O"Connor, The Last Day of Our Acquaintance
Harry Nilsson, You're Breakin' My Heart
posted by Crane Shot at 9:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Unhappy Birthday by The Smiths
posted by 4ster at 9:20 PM on December 14, 2011

You said "A lot of Bright Eyes" so I assume you're familiar but just in case, what has to be the best breakup song ever written:

Our love is dead but without limit/
like the surface of the moon/
or the land between here and the mountains...

posted by drjimmy11 at 9:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

No Children is one of the single greatest bitter about love songs of all time.

During my epic break-up just after high school, I got a lot of comfort from Toadies' Quitter.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing that No Children is probably the angriest song I know.

Full lyrics:

No Children lyrics

I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come up with a failsafe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it's already too late
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
And I never come back to this town
Again in my life
I hope I lie
And tell everyone you were a good wife
And I hope you die
I hope we both die

I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow
I hope it bleeds all day long
Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises
We're pretty sure they're all wrong
I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn't over
And I hope you blink before I do
Yeah I hope I never get sober
And I hope when you think of me years down the line
You can't find one good thing to say
And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You'd stay the hell out of my way
I am drowning
There is no sign of land
You are coming down with me
Hand in unlovable hand
And I hope you die
I hope we both die
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Except you said you don't like screamy music. Sorry :/
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:21 PM on December 14, 2011

Richard Thompson writes some amazing and bitter songs about failed and failing relationships. This one comes to mind :

When The Spell Is Broken
posted by newfers at 9:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Everything About You by Ugly Kid Joe
posted by 4ster at 9:22 PM on December 14, 2011

Oh and Lily Allen - Smile. Not so bitter, but satisfying.
posted by grapesaresour at 9:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

A little older (and a little self-mocking as well as bitter), Flowers on the Wall:

I keep hearin' you're concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you're givin' me is conscience I guess
If I was walkin' in your shoes, I wouldn't worry none
While you 'n' your friends are worried about me I'm havin' lots of fun

Countin' flowers on the wall
That don't bother me at all
Playin' solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothin' to do

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Everything by the Nine Inch Nails. I mean EVERYTHING. It's all bitterness and anger.
posted by gertzedek at 9:25 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I asked a similar question a while back and got some good answers.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:26 PM on December 14, 2011

Ooh oooh, Harry Nilsson, "Don't Forget Me." Heartbreaking. There's also a cover by Neko Case.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:26 PM on December 14, 2011

Ani Difranco's Dilate album pretty much rocks the angry and bitter. Especially the first half.
Here's the title track, which has seen me through dark days. Her tone is quiet rage, her guitar is a desperate wail, and the lyrics are fantastic too:

Life used to be life-like
now it's more like showbiz
i wake up in the night
and i don't know where the bathroom is
and i don't know what town i'm in
or what sky i am under
and i wake up in the darkness and i
don't have the will anymore to wonder
everyone has a skeleton
and a closet to keep it in
and your mine
every song has a you
a you that the singer sings to
and you're it this time
baby, you're it this time

when i need to wipe my face
i use the back of my hand
and i like to take up space
just because i can
and i use my dress
to wipe up my drink
i care less and less
what people think
and you are so lame
you always dissapoint me
it's kind of like our running joke
but it's really not funny
and i just want you to live up to
the image of you i create
i see you and i'm so unsatisfied
i see you and i dilate

so i'll walk the plank
and i'll jump with a smile
if i'm gonna go down
i'm gonna do it with style
and you won't see me surrender
you won't hear me confess
'cuz you've left me with nothing
but i've worked with less
and i learn every room long enough
to make it to the door
and then i hear it click shut behind me
and every key works differently
i forget everytime
and forgetting defines me
that's what defines me

when i say you sucked my brain out
the english translation
is i am in love with you
and it is no fun
but i don't use words like love
'cuz works like that don't matter
but don't look so offended
you know, you should be flattered
and i wake up in the night
in some big hotel bed
and my hands grope for the light
and my hands grope for my head
the world is my oyster
the road is my home
and i know that i'm better
off alone
posted by seachange at 9:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]

Once again I find myself talking about the great Reel Big Fish:
”Some day, maybe she'll come back to me and I'll say
Hey why don't you go fuck yourself!”
-All I Want Is More

And Save Ferris:
” you say you're just confused, that's really no excuse
You don't get sympathy cause I don't need this mind trip”
- Mistaken

I'm sure I'll think of more.
posted by ApathyGirl at 9:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Jen Doesn't Like Me Anymore by Less Than Jake
posted by pwally at 9:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, "No Children" is brilliant, but it's pretty jokey and lighthearted. "Old College Try" is the real bitter tearjerker off that album.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:28 PM on December 14, 2011

Sleep to Dream by Fiona Apple
posted by unannihilated at 9:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

It might be overplayed by now, but I like Cee Lo Green's Fuck You.
posted by Flunkie at 9:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

There it is!
Semi-previously: Get Bent.
posted by ApathyGirl at 9:33 PM on December 14, 2011

I should add at this point that last Valentine's Day I may have made a bitter mixtape called "It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends." MeMail me if you want a link.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2011

Shellac - Prayer To God
posted by naju at 9:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

5 Years by Bjork

Lost Cause by Beck
posted by smokingmonkey at 9:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cake's cover of I will Survive

Joan Baez and the indigo girls singing "don't think twice"

Both excellent fuck-you songs.
posted by purenitrous at 9:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also when in this situation I listen to a lot of Daniel Johnston. It's a mix of love songs/lonely songs/life is weird songs/just weird songs. It tends to remind me that life is absurd and I'll get over it eventually.
posted by grapesaresour at 9:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

5 Years, by Björk

Ever Fallen In Love, by the Buzzcocks

Like A Friend, by Pulp

Train In Vain, by The Clash

Everything You Need, by Adem

Through With You, by Maroon 5. I know, I know, but I swear there's some super great shit on their first album.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

baby bitch by ween

valentine by carol ann duffy
posted by fake at 9:43 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh Shit has gotten me through just about every breakup since 1985.
posted by pernoctalian at 9:43 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mental Revenge, best performed by Waylon Jennings
posted by hamsterdam at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Awesome everyone, keep it coming. (No Children is actually one of my favorite songs, and The Mountain Goats is my favorite band.)
posted by catatethebird at 9:45 PM on December 14, 2011

Ha, Like A Friend is another song I'd forgotten. You guys are great.
posted by catatethebird at 9:47 PM on December 14, 2011

Landed, Ben Folds.

I may or may not have belted a little more emphatically than I should have at a drunken karaoke session one cathartic and drunken evening.

And if that's too melancholy, well, Mr. Folds recommends his Song for the Dumped.

posted by pts at 9:48 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

the "happiest" sounding, snarky bitter breakup song i've ever heard is of montreal's "she's a rejector"
there's a girl that left me bitter
just want to pay some other girl to get up and hit her
posted by raihan_ at 9:50 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Last to Know by Three Days Grace
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 9:52 PM on December 14, 2011

The bulk of the albums Gentlemen and Congregation by the Afghan Whigs are bitter songs about broken relationships.
posted by lemonwheel at 9:55 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"

Ben Folds Five "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces"
posted by Gilbert at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2011

Adding to fake's Ween recommendation, I would also add "You Fucked Up"
posted by Gilbert at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2011

As I continue my tour through Embarrassingly Relevant Playlists on my machine:

Hide And Seek, by Imogen Heap

Bloody Motherfucking Asshole, by Martha Wainwright
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Phil Ochs. All of it.
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:00 PM on December 14, 2011

Idiot Wind and Masters of War by Dylan. Love is Blindness by U2. Zip City by Drive By Truckers isn't exactly angry, but it's very mean.
posted by Occula at 10:03 PM on December 14, 2011

Oh! Duh! Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes.
posted by Occula at 10:04 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

What, no Elvis Costello?

Pretty much the entirety of his divorce album "Blood and Chocolate," and "I Hope You're Happy Now" in particular.

"If I knew then what I know now /
I never loved you anyhow /
And I hope you're happy now"

Jesus, you can taste the sarcasm. S'beautiful.
posted by bardic at 10:05 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan? Sorry. Dylan has the best breakup and betrayal songs.
posted by Occula at 10:06 PM on December 14, 2011

Oh man, can't leave out another EC track: "The Next Time Around"

"There's a second-hand emotion on that battered 45 /
My tears were never enough to keep that girl alive"
posted by bardic at 10:09 PM on December 14, 2011

Ani Difranco's Untouchable Face (Youtube link) got me through my first painful breakup.
posted by high5ths at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

The Duke Spirit - Bottom of the Sea
posted by squeak at 10:14 PM on December 14, 2011

Nthing Ani Difranco's Dilate, but on more Stephen Merritt notes:

"I Don't Want to Get Over You" by the Magnetic Fields

"I'm Lonely and Loving It" by the Future Bible Heroes
posted by deinemutti at 10:17 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Somebody More Like You by Nickel Creek
posted by McPuppington the Third at 10:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Desperate Things You Made Me Do by The Magnetic Fields
posted by gyroscope at 10:29 PM on December 14, 2011

Seconding Richard Thompson. I like to think that in real life, he isn't the bitterly resentful scowl he so often, and so masterfully makes the subject of his songs.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:39 PM on December 14, 2011

Did it really take this long to get to Dead Flowers?
posted by timsteil at 10:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

So breakups are when my musical taste goes to hell apparently, because here's what I've got:

Lady Gaga, Speechless
McFly, Nothing
Lenka, Bring Me Down
posted by ootandaboot at 10:41 PM on December 14, 2011

One of the two really, really good songs ever made by Blue Rodeo: Trust Yourself. Official wintry video (you have to wait out an annoying commercial -- sorry) OR Live on Letterman. Think young, bitter Dylan with a sheen of Canadian sweetness over the vitriol.
posted by maudlin at 11:02 PM on December 14, 2011

I Don't Mind If You Forget Me - Morrissey
Happy Now - No Doubt
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac
Don't Shed A Tear - Paul Carrack
posted by SisterHavana at 11:08 PM on December 14, 2011

Almost forgot Salt In My Tears - Martin Briley
posted by SisterHavana at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Elvis Costello is the master of this. Blood and Chocolate's one place to start.
posted by ifjuly at 11:22 PM on December 14, 2011

this might not be at all to your taste, but this whole album is about a breakup, and it's really powerful. She has an amazing voice - there's definitely some very angryscreamy bits, but I think it's amazing

Battery -Aftermath

Oh, how
you could make me smile
and how
you could make me laugh
i felt so safe
i loved you more with each breath

but how
things have changed now
the way
you pushed me out
it's time to come back around
it's time to let you know that

i hope you hurt as much as me.

this love turns to hate
i watch you make the same mistakes
now that i've pulled through
i hope it all comes back to you ...
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:24 PM on December 14, 2011

Queen's "Death on Two Legs"
posted by cadge at 11:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Somebody That I Used to Know by Elliott Smith, depending on what the ex is like

Guts by John Cale if you want a song that stars with the line "the bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife" and ends with curled-lip resignation re: why he can't shoot the dude. General sense of superiority throughout.

Death of Samantha by Yoko Ono with Porcupine Tree: it's a ballad.

Stay Away by Heavens to Betsy (the band Corin Tucker was in before Sleater-Kinney) ... OK, this one's a little screamy.

I also found "I Hope You're Happy Now" extremely empowering.
posted by Adventurer at 12:53 AM on December 15, 2011

Another Elvis Costello: "You Bowed Down" ...can't find the original online but here's a nice cover by Roger McGuinn.
posted by pete_22 at 1:20 AM on December 15, 2011

Give my love to Kevin - The Wedding Present
posted by freya_lamb at 1:23 AM on December 15, 2011

Unlovable by Darren Hayes (from his album "The Tension and the Spark", which is incredibly bitter and disillusioned and just what I needed to help me through a bad patch).
posted by parjanya at 1:24 AM on December 15, 2011

Bevis Frond is really good at these.

I got no point I wish to make, I just wanna be your undertaker (lyrics)
Lord Plentiful Reflects
Rejection Day (am) (pm)

And when the rage and fury have burned themselves out and all that's left is sadness,

posted by flabdablet at 1:55 AM on December 15, 2011

Morphine Gone for Good.

Lyrics are here and I'm on a linux machine that I don't have root access to so I can't check but I think this is the song.
posted by koolkat at 2:02 AM on December 15, 2011

Hopefully you will eventually push through all the bitterness and find your way to here.
posted by flabdablet at 2:08 AM on December 15, 2011

I came in to recommend Ani DiFranco and the entire Dilate album, but I can see that's been covered. It doesn't get more bitter and literal than using "Done Wrong" as a song title.

You said you'd be interested in bitter poetry as well. Take a look at Margaret Atwood's "You Fit Into Me."
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:56 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

THC - Need to Destroy: Don't show me your weakness / I can't rely on you / To know by now.

Sunday Munich - Smallest Tragedy: Inside your eyes there's nothing left to see / Just a dull reflection of what I use to be / No more us just me and just you and just things that aren't true / There's no more tolerance in me no patience no understanding [...] I stuff and swallow them these razor sharp memories / And they cut on the inside / Where it's most unapparent to you
posted by Su at 3:22 AM on December 15, 2011

Bif Naked is quite bitter and angry. "I love myself today" and "Tango Shoes" are two good breakup angry songs.
posted by gwenlister at 3:23 AM on December 15, 2011

"I Thought I Knew You" by Matthew Sweet (songwriter who specialized in happy songs)

"(Believed You Were) Lucky" by 'Til Tuesday (Aimee Mann, songwriter who specialized in bitter)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:42 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dylan: Don't think Twice, it's Alright
Beautiful South: A Little Time
posted by dreamphone at 4:12 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Empty Chairs - Don McLean

"Morning comes and morning goes, with no regret
And evening brings the memories I can't forget
Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs
And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs

And I wonder if you know that I never understood
That although you said you'd go
Until you did, I never thought you would"

This is the saddest song in the world.
posted by genesta at 4:25 AM on December 15, 2011

Insensitive by Jann Arden
posted by kimdog at 4:25 AM on December 15, 2011

Going Missing by Maximo Park! That whole album is like they are wound tight, and just getting tighter and tighter.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:37 AM on December 15, 2011

Not breakup-related, but XTC's Dear God is plenty bitter and angry.
posted by jon1270 at 4:50 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

John Prine's "All the Best"
posted by njk at 5:13 AM on December 15, 2011

Go Sailor's "Fine Day for Sailing" sounds like a happy pop song, but the lyrics are pretty creepy and unsettling:

this is the last time that I'll wish you dead
I think I've decided to like you instead
I'll throw away the letters that I never meant to send
'cause now I've got more love to give than to end
therefore this time I mean it
this time will stick
you're easy to like when you're not making me sick

posted by southern_sky at 5:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jawbreaker - Sluttering (May 4)
If you hear this song a hundred times it still won't be enough
if you hear this song a hundred times it still won't be enough.

posted by namewithoutwords at 5:35 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Pogues and Kirsty McColl: Fairytale of New York.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:37 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Matthew Sweet's Altered Beast
posted by any major dude at 5:42 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Piggybacking on a Phil Collins suggestion: I Don't Care Anymore.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:47 AM on December 15, 2011

The album Deja Entendu by Brand New
posted by unreasonable at 6:00 AM on December 15, 2011

These are more venomous than angry, strictly speaking, but they're the first ones I usually think of.

Elastica: Never Here. (lyrics) The song's about lead singer Justine Frischmann's relationship with former Suede bandmate Brett Anderson. Actually, a lot of the Britpop scene was fueled by that relationship and its aftermath; after they broke up, Anderson allegedly wrote Animal Nitrate (lyrics) about Justine's subsequent relationship with Damon Albarn from Blur; then, when Justine and Damon broke up, Damon wrote an entire album mourning the relationship: 13. The Blur album's more sad than angry, so probably give it a pass for this.

The Kinks: Who'll Be the Next in Line (lyrics) Pretty straightforward bitterness. ("Who'll be the next in line / who'll be the next in line for heartache / who'll make the same mistakes I made over you?")

? and the Mysterians: 96 Tears (lyrics) Bitter and vindictive, in a weirdly ominous and fairly creepy way.
posted by orthicon halo at 6:07 AM on December 15, 2011

Pink Triangle
posted by J. Wilson at 6:13 AM on December 15, 2011

Not angry and bitter, but a great break up song: Promises - Eric Clapton ... soon its just history.
posted by digital-dragonfly at 6:19 AM on December 15, 2011

Still more Dylan: Positively 4th Street
posted by TedW at 6:29 AM on December 15, 2011

This is one of the best songs for bitterness about a breakup: ("You're gonna Miss Me" by the 13th Floor Elevators.) Or how about this one: ("We Used To Be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols.)
posted by ATX Peanut at 6:54 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Deb Pasternak, One Regret. (the video substantially alters the text of the song, and I don't know how I feel about that.)
posted by endless_forms at 7:16 AM on December 15, 2011

White Blank Page by Mumford & Sons is the Brokeback version of "You Oughta Know."
posted by BrashTech at 7:40 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hankshaw - Everyday I Wish You Harm
posted by ndfine at 7:42 AM on December 15, 2011

The whole With Teeth album from Nine Inch Nails was very catharitc, especially You Know What You Are.
posted by The Deej at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2011

Speaking of Dylan: Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez:
"My poetry was lousy, you said..."
posted by ovvl at 7:50 AM on December 15, 2011

The Wedding Present - Fleshworld
Jim O'Rourke - Memory Lane
posted by hydrophonic at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2011

Alan Parsons Project, I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You.
posted by not that girl at 7:56 AM on December 15, 2011

Melissa Etheridge is a great source of sad-angry-bitter breakup songs. Sometimes they veer into crazed and obsessive longing, which might not be the flavor you're looking for.

I'm the Only One
Like the Way I Do
Bring Me Some Water
I Could've Been You
Let Me Go
Precious Pain
Similar Features

And so on.
posted by expialidocious at 8:07 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Violent Femmes, He Likes Me.

And of course, the Willie Nelson classic (performed here by Lyle Lovett and Al Green), Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away?
posted by j-dawg at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2011

I can't believe nobody's mentioned any Fleetwood Mac. Rumours is your album; give up your preconceived notions and listen to the lyrics. Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham were breaking up while the album was being made and it really comes through in the songs.
posted by immlass at 8:20 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter by Nina Simone is good vintage break up nastiness.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2011

Warren Zevon's Finishing Touches.
posted by leapfrog at 8:51 AM on December 15, 2011

Jack Off Jill - Unknown Author

In fact, half that Jack Off Jill album (Clear Hearts Grey Flowers) would fit the bill (and is wildly underrated).
posted by coolguymichael at 9:12 AM on December 15, 2011

Almost anything off the wedding present's george best album
posted by jeffe at 9:17 AM on December 15, 2011

Nickleback - How You Remind Me
Alanis Morrisette - You Outta Know
posted by twinA at 9:30 AM on December 15, 2011

A little known gem - So Much Song by Tanya Donelly.

So much to lose
Anyway so much to prove
Step away from the wreck
But leave a match for my last cigarette

Someone's got to pay
Someone's got to pay for this

I know my name has not been easy on your lips
And I know that smile is evidence of this
And I know my picture will not be carried with you
Now someone's got to stay and clean up this mess

So much to leave
Anyway so much for me
Have you held your breath
Through this tragic display of my last laugh

Someone's got to pay for this

So much to do
Anyway, I'm done with you

posted by elendil71 at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2011

Neko Case, Hold On, Hold On

I leave the party at three a.m.
Alone, thank God
With a valium from the bride
It's the devil I love
And that's as funny as real love
And that's as real as true love

posted by cmyk at 9:52 AM on December 15, 2011

Inside Out by Eve 6
posted by Boogiechild at 10:07 AM on December 15, 2011

It's even appropriate to the season!

Fairytale of New York.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:08 AM on December 15, 2011

Thanks so much for all these. I've been working my way through the list, and so much awesome stuff. I'll mark a few of my favorites, but really, I like almost every single one so far.
posted by catatethebird at 10:21 AM on December 15, 2011

Matt Skiba - Good Fucking Bye:So very, very bitter. I couldn't find a very clear version of it on YouTube, but worth tracking down. It might also be listed as performed by Alkaline Trio.
posted by diamondsky at 10:26 AM on December 15, 2011

Elvis Costello is the master.

I'm Not Angry
I Hope You're Happy Now

And the truly seething I Want You.
posted by Decani at 10:27 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Dolorean - Country Clutter: One more off the top of my head. I have a couple bitter breakup playlists I can't access now, but I'll try to remember to post other suggestions later.
posted by diamondsky at 10:32 AM on December 15, 2011

Oh, and I can't find a decent YT of it, but "Silver Eyelashes" by David Poe is pretty full-on...

This is the beginning of a song about the end of our lives
Honey, don't get me wrong when I say
I hope you die soon
I hope you live hard
I hope it's dark now in your room
I hope your heart becomes stone
I hope it's heavy
I hope it feels like you died, and then you do

If I can't have you, I don't want anyone else to

Robot works good today, you can self-medicate
You can swim the sea without the waves
I can't believe your silver eyelashes
I can't believe how the mermaid fades
I know you hide your love away
Somewhere inside your perfect body

You're not alive, you're just alone
I hope you die slow on shiny lies he made you believe
And then he leaves, he leaves, he leaves
And you have nothing left except to come back to me

Do you feel anything?
Do you feel feel anything yet?
I only want my hands around your neck
Your sweet sweet breath when you drink all night and sleep like the dead

I hope I die soon
I'm so numb it wouldn't hurt
And you're just waiting like a landmark to get saved
And my heart's already stopped beating
And I've loved you in the most pathetic ways

But if I can't have you, I don't want anyone else to

posted by Decani at 10:32 AM on December 15, 2011

Heh. Obviously "Lyrics" shouldn't be in there.
posted by Decani at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2011

If you love the Mountain Goats, check out The Extra Glenns (another John Darnielle project) and in particular, Going to Marrakesh. This one has been quite meaningful to me in wrestling with one of those "it's complicated" situations.
posted by Polyhymnia at 10:34 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Real Mean by RVIVR (Download free here)

Before you told me
That I'd fucked up worse than none before
You whispered that I was a better person than you
I disagreed then, don't anymore

And whats the use? I know that you're just sore to lose
'cause I was never half as bad as you were bad to me
Being real, not being mean

You tried to twist it.
I tried to fix it more than you could ever know
To do things right and be your friend and make it right
To find a thread that I could start to sew

You're old enough to know the difference between
Being real and being mean

or Radio by Alkaline Trio:

Shaking like a dog shittin' razorblades,
waking up next to nothing after dreaming of you and me
I'm waking up all alone, waking up so relieved
while you're taking your time with apologies,
I'm making my plans for revenge
Red eyes on orange horizons
If Columbus was wrong I'd drive straight off the edge
I'd drive straight off the edge

Taking your own life with boredom,
I'm taking my own life with wine -
it helps you to rule out the sorrow,
it helps me to empty my mind
Making the most of a bad time
I'm smoking the brains from my head
Leaving the coal calling the kettle black and orange and red
This kettle is seeing red

I've got a big fat fuckin' bone to pick with you my darling
In case you haven't heard I'm sick and tired of trying
I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you,
plugged in and ready to fall

posted by indeterminacy at 11:08 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Feeling Better by Sugar (can't find an audio link, sorry).
posted by usonian at 11:46 AM on December 15, 2011

Lying ass bitch by Fishbone.

Note: The Roots got in trouble for playing an instrumental of this song when Michele Bachmann was on Jimmy Fallon.
posted by stinker at 11:48 AM on December 15, 2011

Traffic: Feelin' Alright Also covered by Joe Cocker, the rotating rocker.
posted by TedW at 12:30 PM on December 15, 2011

You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine - Lou Rawls

Kissing a Fool - George Michael

Never Wanna F'n See You Again - Rich Hardesty (Lyrics very NSFW)

The Only Flame In Town - Elvis Costello

Worn Me Down - Rachael Yamagata
posted by SisterHavana at 12:34 PM on December 15, 2011

Leave by Glen Hansard. The bitter part comes near the end.
posted by cnc at 12:54 PM on December 15, 2011

The Butterfly Collector.
posted by peagood at 1:25 PM on December 15, 2011

And, for that matter - the Bitterest Pill, also by the Jam.
posted by peagood at 1:31 PM on December 15, 2011

Two weary oldies:
Tired of Waiting
I'm So Tired
posted by lathrop at 1:39 PM on December 15, 2011

The Traveling Wilburys - Congratulations (more Dylan!)

New Order - Thieves Like Us (it cuts your life like a broken knife)
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 6:34 PM on December 15, 2011

Lick my lips, I'm on fire
posted by jason's_planet at 7:08 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's something unnerving and powerful about Neutral Milk Hotel's Oh Comely. The way Jeff Mangum sings his heart out, straining his vocal chords with vibrant nuance (which at times is nearly cacophonous) through the whole song is nearly overwhelming. There's a sadness and grief about the way he strains the song's enigmatic, harrowing lyrics that's only made all the more powerful by the way the chords complement his voice. It's truly the stuff of legends.
posted by fantodstic at 7:12 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tori Amos's entire Boys for Pele album is made for this. It is a breakup album and is extremely emotional and vivid, despite the lyrics that on the surface often don't seem to make sense. It got me through the most painful breakup of my life. A couple songs from it:
Putting the Damage On
Caught A Lite Sneeze
Hey Jupiter
posted by wondermouse at 9:02 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tom Waits - Who Are You?

They're lining up
To mad dog your tilta-whirl
Three shots for a dollar
Win a real live doll
All the lies that you tell
I believed them so well. Take them back
Take them back to your red house
For that fearful leap into the dark
I did my time
In the jail of your arms
Now Ophelia wants to know
Where she should turn
Tell me... what did you do?
What did you do the last time?
Why don't you do that?
Go on ahead take this the wrong way
Time's not your friend
Do you cry, do you pray?
Do you wish them away?
Do you still leave nothing
But bones in the way?
Did you bury the carnival?
Lions and all
Excuse me while I sharpen my nails
And just who are you this time?
You look rather tired
Are you pretending to love
Well I hear that it pays well
How do your pistol and your Bible and your
Sleeping pills go?
Are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?

Well I fell in love
With your sailor's mouth and your wounded eyes
You better get down on the floor
Don't you know this is war?
Tell me who are you this time?
Tell me who are you this time?

posted by fancyoats at 9:05 PM on December 15, 2011

Tomorrow, Wendy by Concrete Blonde. I always thought this verse was especially potent:

I told the priest, don't count on any second coming.
God got his ass kicked the first time he came down here slumming.
He had the balls to come, the gall to die and then forgive us.
No, I don't wonder why, I wonder what he thought it would get us.
Hey, hey, good bye.
Tomorrow Wendy's going to die.

posted by holterbarbour at 9:19 PM on December 15, 2011

oh, god. How has no one put fool of me on their list? Holy hell.

That's Me'Shell NdegéOcello from her album Bitter.
posted by metasav at 10:00 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fear - I don't care about you (fuck you)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:10 PM on December 15, 2011

Richard Buckner - the whole Bloomed album, especially 22 and Blue and Wonder.
posted by bendy at 11:41 PM on December 15, 2011

Don't Turn Around - Aswad (or Ace of Base or Tina Turner)

Feel A Whole Lot Better - The Byrds (or Tom Petty)

Needles and Pins - The Searchers

You Suck - The Murmurs

Linger - The Cranberries

Your Woman - White Town

Angry Johnny - Poe

Divorce Song - Liz Phair
posted by SisterHavana at 11:48 PM on December 15, 2011

The Wrens’ Meadowlands is the bitter-breakup album. The lyrics are raw, honest, and miserable (without sounding the slightest bit like high school poetry), and the music builds from despair to catharsis perfectly.

The whole album is great; Happy and Hopeless are essential.
posted by nicepersonality at 6:40 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Say Anything: The Futile
posted by craven_morhead at 7:05 AM on December 16, 2011

Harvey Danger, "The Show Must Not Go On", available here for free download.

So much that we so grandly call love is simply in our heads.
How many doors slammed closed, and stepped-on toes,
and songs composed, and poems and prose
about things we've heard in words nobody said?

posted by Zozo at 9:34 AM on December 16, 2011

Julie Doiron - "Soon, Coming Closer", "Sorry Story", "Condescending You", "So Fast", "He Will Forget", "Again, Again", "Stay Now, Then Go", "The Last Time", "The Best Thing for Me", "Gone Gone"...

nthing Fleetwood Mac (my personal bet is "Dreams" and the many covers out there of it), The Wrens, Boys for Pele ("Doughnut Song"), and certain Liz Phair. And of course yes, PJ Harvey's infamous early raw work (for clarification, lick my legs, please...he left you dry anyway). Possibly Big Black? Not really bitter about break ups per se, but nasty and faux-tough, which might be a helpful mood musically.
posted by ifjuly at 9:38 AM on December 16, 2011

And Tami Hart - "You're No Good"

also forgot to nth that Me'shell Ndegeocello song, yes
posted by ifjuly at 9:38 AM on December 16, 2011

Joe Pernice has written a ton, now that I think of it. Morrissey too. And yes yes yes to Afghan Whigs--all of Gentlemen, Black Love, Congregation...
posted by ifjuly at 9:56 AM on December 16, 2011

And I would assume there are lots of Wedding Present/Luna etc. songs in this vein, similar to Magnetic Fields stuff. Also, "Houseguest" by Nothing Painted Blue.
posted by ifjuly at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2011

I keep thinking of more to add!

Jerk - Kim Stockwood

Before He Cheats - Carrie Underwood

Never Again - Kelly Clarkson

Now I Am A Was - Morrissey
posted by SisterHavana at 11:53 AM on December 16, 2011

John Lennon's "Just Give Me Some Truth".
posted by xammerboy at 1:47 PM on December 16, 2011

Damien Rice - Rootless Tree
This is the bitter break up song by Damien Rice I would go for
posted by jamaisvu at 3:51 PM on December 16, 2011

Parts of Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know remind me of Phil Collins, and I find the whole song heart-achingly bitter.

But that was love and it's an ache I still remember
posted by Kingsk at 4:28 PM on December 16, 2011

Yet another vote for Elvis Costello, but I'd go with "I Want You." Bitter, beautiful, and has an absolutely perfect guitar solo.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:05 PM on December 16, 2011

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds might assist. "Brother, My Cup is Empty" is a good one for this sort of thing, and "I Let Love In" might be even better.

Despair and Deception, Love's ugly little twins
Came a-knocking on my door
I let them in
Darling, you're the punishment for all my former sins
I let love in...

I'm sure there are more, too. Mr. Cave has been at various points in his career quite good at angry and bitter. Let Love In, Henry's Dream, and Murder Ballads are probably your best bets.

"Good Day" by the Dresden Dolls is good. I'd like to do more than survive/I'd like to rub it in your face

And check out much of the album "The Golden Hour" by Firewater. Just do that anyway, no matter what. That's one of Those Albums. The perfect ones. "Feels Like the End of the World" might be an appropriate place to start.
posted by Because at 9:57 PM on December 16, 2011

U-Turn (Burn Motherf*cker Burn) by Samantha
Hurt Me by Kerli (warning: domestic violence trigger)
posted by IndigoRain at 10:58 PM on December 16, 2011

Pantera - Shedding Skin, because sometimes it's okay to be terrible at allegory.
posted by vanar sena at 12:23 AM on December 17, 2011

I love this song by Soko - I'll kill her
posted by ben30 at 3:31 AM on December 17, 2011

Good Things by Sleater Kinney (#1 break up song of all time)
I'm Lonely and I Love It by Magnetic Fields
No One Will Ever Love You by Magnetic Fields
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright by Bob Dylan
Box Elder by Pavement
Whistling Teapot by Smog
The Moon by The Microphones
You Will Miss Me When I Burn by Palace Brothers
I Never Want To See You Again by Quasi

CHEESY BUT POWERFUL ROCK BALLAD :) In The Air Tonight by . . . the one and only Phil Collins
posted by dottiechang at 12:38 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

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