Fucking Valentine’s Day. Lucky for me, it’s not a big thing in Germany. If it weren’t for the internet, I might have forgotten about it completely. I will be celebrating with a listen of my favorite bitter love songs playlist. I’m not actually bitter about love (and I’m married and stuff), but the bitter love songs are just more fun.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Science Fiction Mix Tape will be straying from the science fictional this week to celebrate bitter love songs of all genres.
No Children by The Mountain Goats
If you listen to only one song on this list, listen to this one. The Mountain Goat’s song No Children is the number one most cynical, hilarious, black-hearted “love” song I have ever had the pleasure of listening to on repeat for days. Some of the bitter lyrical gems you’ll find in it:
“I hope I lie and tell everyone you were a good wife.”
“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. I hope you blink before I do. I hope I never get sober. I hope when you think of me years down the line you can’t find one good thing to say.”
“I am drowning. There is no sign of land. You are coming down with me, hand in unloveable hand. I hope you die. I hope we both die.”
Send it to all your happily single and happily bitter and black-hearted friends this Valentine’s Day.
Going to Marrakesh by The Extra Glens
Soooo, this is actually kind of also a Mountain Goats song, except when John Darnielle and Franklin Bruno get together, they sometimes call themselves The Extra Glens (now The Extra Lens). But any “love” song with the line “our love is like Jesus, but worse,” belongs in a top position on all lists of bitter love songs.
Another wonderful bitter moment from the lyrics: “Our love is a monster plain and simple. Though you weigh it down with stones to try to drown it, it floats.”
Fun fact! This is one of the few songs I can play on the guitar. It is easy! You should try it.
The Mystery’s Gone by The Doubleclicks
Girl falls in love with guy via twitter. Then they meet. It doesn’t go well.
“But then I met you in real life and now the mystery’s gone. I don’t want to have your babies anymore. In real you life you don’t edit and in real life you’re not cool. The brilliant mind I thought you had turned out to be a bore.”
“Too bad I met you in real life because now the mystery’s gone.”
Yeah oh Yeah by Magnetic Fields
The Magnetic Fields are champions of bitter love songs that, if you’re not paying attention to the lyrics, sound like they are actually real love songs. HA. FOOLED YOU. If you want more of that, check out their three-album 69 Love Songs, almost none of which are about actual, cutesy love.
“Are you out of love with me? Are you longing to be free? Do I drive you up a tree? Yeah, oh yeah.”
“Though I need you more than air, is it true you just don’t care? Are you having an affair? Yeah, oh yeah.”
“I enjoyed making you miserable for years. … What a dark and dreary life, are you reaching for a knife? Could you really kill your wife? Yeah oh yeah.”
Dark in my Heart by Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs
Holly Golightly is another contender for Queen of the Bitterest Love Song, particularly bitter love songs that sound like they might be about something happy if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics.
Prayer to God by Shellac
Ah Shellac. This will always be my favorite “your cheating heart angry revenge fantasy song.”
“To the one true god above here is my prayer. There are two people here and I want you to kill them. Her she can go quietly by disease or a blow to the base of her neck where her necklaces close, where her garments come together, where I used to lay my face. Him just fucking kill him, I don’t care if it hurts. Yes I do, I want it to.”
If bitter, violent revenge fantasies are your thing, then I also recommend Mattie Groves as performed by Alela Diane and Alina Hardin. Unfortunately, country music is filled with all kinds of sexist bullshit murder ballads. If you want to read an essay about the problems of misogyny in country music, then click right here.
Stuck With You by Voltaire
Voltaire have a very Magnetic Fields vibe to their (oft) bitter love songs. “Stuck with You” is a male-female duo about the bitterness that sets in when married people force themselves to take “til death do us part” seriously instead of getting the divorce they so desperately need. See also Future Ex-Girlfriend.
DIY Orgasms by Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains
If you have no stomach for really rough folk punk, then don’t listen to this song. But the lyrics! Oh the lyrics! I love Johnny Hobo for his lyrics, and this song ties with Urine Speaks Louder Than Words for my favorite of his tunes. DIY Orgasms wins my “best bitter love song title” this year and every year.
“I got my 40 ounce and a system to overthrow. No one to worry about and no where to go. I traded in my hope for a hangover and a headache. I’m contemplating rope, but can’t tie knots that great. Who needs love? NOT ME! Who needs friends? I got me. Who needs drugs? ME! Who needs sex? I got me.”
I love you forever Johnny.
Keep It to Yourself by Amy Rigby
This song made me laugh out loud at a very inappropriate moment. Sounds like it might be a sad-puppy-face ballad, but HA, nope. Revenge wrapped in pretty, sweet vocals. I won’t quote any of the lyrics because you need the surprise to get the most out of the humor.
Heart Factory by Sleater Kinney
Oh Sleater Kinney, you can break my heart. This bitter love song is even dystopian for a second, in the same way that El-P’s Stepfather Factory is.
“We’ve got the new love machine
Heart with and on/off switch and a remote control
Now you can program how you feel before you walk out the door
“Fucks me up
I’m not just made of parts
And you can break right through
This box you put me into”
Oh Shit by The Buzzcocks
Let’s end this fuck-love-fest with something you can dance to.
“Oh shit, I wish I’d known before now
Oh shit, that you were such a fuckin’ cow
Oh shit, I wouldn’t have wasted my time
Oh shit, chasin’ somethin’ which could never be mine
Admit You’re shit.”