Vitriolic Songs

I’m just wondering how many vitriolic songs there are. The most that I know are in Heavy metal music, but this could just be a reflection of my musical tastes.

Songs like Jimmy from Tool, and for the more obscure Frenzal Rhomb (You can’t move into my house, Ben, You are a Knob. etc) has a few and so do Lok (Some en hund, Skrubbsår) and Mr Floppy (Noonan, Witch, etc - the tshirt I wear proudly, only to provoke a reaction).

I know that John Lennon wrote a song spewing forth bile at Paul McCartney, and that various comedians have written wongs likewise (Kevin Bloody Wilson comes to mind).

My friend was saying that Alanis Morriset qualifies, but I don’t think that she conveys enough emotion for it to be vitriol.

Any vitriolic songs that have become popular that you know of? Any more to add?

Gordon Is A Moron by Jilted John, classic '70s novelty punk record.

There’s a song on John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” album called “Vanz Kant Dance”. Original title was “Sanz Kant Dance”, but it had to be changed because of fears that former Creedence Clearwater Revival manager Saul Santz would sue. Seems Saul took John for a whole lot of money, and the song was a pretty serious slam.

I never expected to see a mention of Kevin “Bloody” Wilson here. Continuing the Australian theme, Spiderbait’s Buy me a Pony is a nasty dig at their own record company.

Probably the meanest thing to do as a writer is to get singers to declare themselves to be a fool. Costello did this in reply to Wendy JamesNow Ain’t the Time For Your Tears. The whole album seems to be about how clueless she is.

Graham Parker’s “Mercury Poisoning”, about his struggles with his record company, comes immediately to mind.

Of course, it depends on what you consider vitriolic. Some songs I like feature someone screaming the lyrics, but the actual lyrics aren’t that vitriolic. (Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails features some screaming, but it’s pretty much a love song…I think.)

Here are some songs with vitriolic lyrics. Some of them are sung in a pleasant or upbeat voice:

Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole, Star*uckers Inc

Ugly Kid Joe - (I hate) Everything About You

Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours, New Dress (“Jet airliner shot from sky / Famine horror, millions die / Earthquake terror figures rise”)

Duran Duran - Drowning Man, Too Much Information (“Destroyed by MTV / I hate to bite the hand that feeds me”)

The Cure - Never Enough, How Beautiful You Are (“You want to know why I hate you?”)

Nitzer Ebb - Border Talk (“unless you’re the diplomatically immunised / you’re someone to be scrutinized / by governments in arms not opened nearly / as wide as their mouths, blabbing / about freedom”)
Erasure - 2000 Miles (“I’m glad you won’t be coming back /
I need to be at least 2,000 miles away from you”)

Poe - Angry Johnny (a woman singing in a lovely voice, about different ways to murder Johnny - “I can do it in the water / I can do on dry land /I can do it with instruments / I can do it with my own bare hands”)

Rage Against The Machine seems to have some pretty angry songs. And of course, there are a lot of Rap songs filled with rage.

Now, have any of these been successful?

“Buy me a pony” was quite successful, and “Bloody” Wilson’s “Hey Santa Claus” was a huge hit at school. I have actually met non-Australians who have heard of him too, picmr. (and say, you picked up on Wilson, but not Frenzal Rhomb or Mr Floppy?)

Just because the singer is angry, doesn’t mean that they are vitriolic. It could just be anger, or singing style. Rage is not vitriol. Vitriol is something distilled into a cold pent up loathing and spat at someone.

And I would say that Perfect Drug is a love song. And I would disagree that Blasphemous rumours is vitriolic. It is just discussing some religious issues.

Might I suggest:

[li]Queen - Death on Two Legs[/li][li]Sugar - The Slim[/li]Rollins Band - Just Like You

I used Blashpemous Rumours as an example because it is a very bitter song about suicide and death. Like I said, it’s all in how you define “vitriolic.”

So, are you just fond of these kinds of songs, or do you have a specific reason for asking?

Oh. I thought this was a thread for old records that are played on a Victriola! :smiley:

Does Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart qualify as vitrol? She loud and the lyrics are so overwrought with emotions as to be silly. I love this song. I sing it at the top of my voice and I annoy my whole family with it.
I now return this thread back to the 1990’s.

I mentioned KBW because he’s shocking. Frenzal Rhomb are ok and I have fond memories of Mr Floppy. The last time I saw them was when our band bus passed their’s and they flashed brown eyes. Aah memories.

To mention another anti-music industry song Warren Zevon’s Even a Dog Can Shake Hands. OOh and his classic reply to Sweet Home Alabama, Play It All Night Long.

"You’re So Vain" by Carly Simon leaps to mind. (And is it true that song was written about Warren Beatty?)

Also, Margaret Thatcher inspired a lot of vitriol among British acts when she was Prime Minister. Examples: “Margaret on a Guillotine” by Morrissey (self-explanatory) and “Tramp the Dirt Down” by Elvis Costello, wherein he sings about dancing on Ms. Thatcher’s grave. Neither of those songs got a lot of airplay, though.

Reminds me - Anarchy In The UK and God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols

Tramp the Dirt Down is usually where I have to pause the album Spike and take a rest. Great record, but hard to listen to. The first time I’m in the UK after she dies I’ll be visiting Thatcher’s grave.

Hooker with a Penis - Tool
Bad Town - Operation Ivy
Lagwagon - Lagwagon
New Noise - Refused

Oh yeah, and how about “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley?

And speaking of Sweet Home Alabama, that song packs a bit of vitriol itself:

This was of course a response to Neil Young’s own bit of vitriol, “Southern Man”.

Dammit, spoke-, ya beat me to it.

I’ll just have to step back a few posts and point out, in good pedantic-old-fart style, that the Lennon song that excoriated McCartney was “How Do You Sleep.”

And also mention the Grand Master of the Vitriol Songs, Bob Dylan’s “Positively Fourth Street.”

*I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you*

Okay, so it doesn’t look that mean and nasty on the page. But trust me, kids, it’s all in the delivery…when you hear it you can FEEL how much he hates her…

[doing her Bee Palmer shimmy-shawobble]

"I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!
I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!
I’ll be singin’ ‘hi-di-hi!’ when they drag your body by—
I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!

Oh, I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!
I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, you know!
When you’re layin’ in your grave, no more blonde women will you crave—
I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!

I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!
I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you dirty dawg!
What is it that you got, made me think you were so hot?
I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you!"