Relationships can, at times, be pure torture. Hopefully, instead of identifying with today’s playlist, it will actually make you feel a little bit better about your own life, no matter what your situation. It wouldn’t matter if you were happily married, desperately seeking, or just sank the final nail into the coffin of your last relationship, because today’s playlist is dedicated to those really, really messed up relationships that haven’t yet taken their final breath – but really, really need to. Yes, today we’re putting the funk in dysfunctional!
What qualifies as ‘Dysfunctional’
One of my good girlfriends always gets a kick out of a song I turned her onto some years ago about a woman who embraces her affection for sociopaths. Every time she hears the song at my house she says, “Val, you gotta put together a playlist of all the pathetic, dysfunctional relationship songs in your arsenal.” I just happen to have a few. Well, as it turns out, more than a few. Turns out I’ve got songs about desperate women, womanizing men, obsessive stalkers, cheaters and beaters and revenge seekers. In fact, some of these songs aren’t even about romantic relationships gone bad. Eminem’s “Stan” is about an obsessed fan, and William Shatner’s most brilliant effort ever (even better than Captain Kirk) is his portrayal of an estranged father (and a really shatty father at that) alongside Aimee Mann and Ben Folds.
There’s just not a lot of happy in these songs (although the witty Lily Allen seems pretty thrilled to get back at her cheating guy in “Smile” and Avril Lavigne is blissfully ignorant of the impact her actions have on others in “What The Hell.” But if you’re looking for happiness, today’s playlist is not the place to find it. But if you’re looking for revenge, or if you’re a tortured soul looking for a little empathy, perk up your ears.
Don’t shoot the messenger
Some of these songs will piss you off, as they should! Oh, I hope they do. Many of them make me downright angry. Sometimes I even forget they’re just songs. Every time I hear the pathetically desperate and sweet voice of Sara Watkins (from her Nickel Creek days) calling out to Anthony, I wanna shake her! Likewise, every time Sara’s former bandmate Chris Thile’s song “Alex” comes over my stereo, I want to reach through the speakers and knock one of his teeth out. This is a man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting twice (and he’s really nice), but still, I find it difficult to separate reality from songwriting. The lyrics are so callous and heartless, that I forget it’s not an actual guy singing about luring women away from their boyfriends just for fun. Or is it? Regardless, every time I hear these songs I end up simultaneously furious and in awe of the songwriting skills that make me feel that way.
There’s some pretty strong language in this playlist. I’ve dropped a few F Bombs here and there in the past, but there’s some very passionate language in almost half the songs on this one. And by passion, I’m talking about the kind of hateful rage that can only be fueled by intense love gone sour. I remember once somebody explained to me that hate is not the opposite of love, but that love and hate are equal on the scale of passion. (The opposite of both love and hate is apathy.) When passionate love turns sour, it can turn into passionate hate, and passion is what fuels amazing songwriting.
- Enjoy (well, experience) this playlist on
* = F Bombs and other nasty name calling