Love Stinks: 15 Songs for Your Anti-Valentine’s Day Playlist
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is a fan of Valentine’s Day or love songs. You might be single, happily married, or uninterested; this anti-Valentine’s Day playlist is your escape.
Depending on the interpretation, there are many songs released over the years that potentially qualify as anti-love songs. From those who push the envelope on the boundaries of love to those who rebuke it altogether, how artists interpret songs is what makes each truly unique and distinctive. Brace yourself for a musical journey that pokes fun at romantic clichés and provides a refuge from the usual V-Day sentiments. Whether you’re feeling sad, angry, or indifferent, there is a song for you.
1. “You Give Love a Bad Name” (1986) by Bon Jovi
The first hit from the mega rock group is also one of their most potent, with the band eschewing love from the very start of the song with explosive lyrics and hooks to match. While Bon Jovi went on to become one of the biggest bands of the ’80s and ’90s, their anti-love song remains a classic that resonates with folks who need a break from love — at least for the time being!
2. “Goodbye to Love” (1972) by Carpenters
Written by Richard Carpenter, it was his sister Karen Carpenter that put so much anguish into the track that it caught fire and became a top ten hit. In the song, the female Carpenter makes it known that she has made arrangements to live the single life. As one of Carpenters‘ signature power ballads, Karen sings about feelings that everyone can relate to. Next time you’re feeling through with love, put this one on.
3. “Love Sick” (1997) by Bob Dylan
Taken from one of Dylan’s critically acclaimed albums, Time Out Of Mind, the entire release quickly establishes a tone that suggests a departure of some kind. This rockabilly cut laments heartbreak that looms just around the corner, and even though Bob Dylan sings about being in the midst of it, he is simultaneously ready to let it go — a sentiment that the lovelorn can surely identify with.
4. “I’m Thru With Love” (1959) by Ella Fitzgerald
One of the quintessential classic compositions, “I’m Thru With Love” has been performed by a plethora of performers over the years, but no version stands the test of time better than from the master herself, Ella Fitzgerald, who best captures the essence of the song. With her distinctive jazz vocals sprinkled expertly throughout each phrase, this version is a master class in conviction, and listeners will believe every word from one of the queens of the genre. Plus, we’ve all been there.
5. “Dancing on My Own” (2010) by Robyn
Being one of the greatest pop singers of her generation comes with lots of responsibility, and Robyn comes to task with a song that covers the feelings of entanglement when a lover resurfaces with someone else. That defiance and rejection can be felt from every angle of this dance hit and serves its audience well as an anti-Valentine’s Day song.
6. “Sorry” (2016) by Beyoncé
A woman scorned is not a woman to be messed with, and Beyoncé takes it all the way there with “Sorry,” a song about infidelity that lays out the narrative in fine sonic form. In this soon-to-be classic anti-love song, the pop diva is down but never out, and at the end of the day, she will be just fine. It’s a fresh take that shows vulnerability and strength at the same time. A must-have for your anti-Valentine’s Day.
7. “Love Is a Losing Game” (2006) by Amy Winehouse
Listen to Amy Winehouse‘s groundbreaking 2006 album Back to Black and you immediately get thrown into the midst of heartache at every angle. The chanteuse, known for her masterful storytelling, laments the repercussions of love gone away, all while concocting an exit strategy to protect her health. For those who have been in love and are through with it, sometimes there are no extra innings. Sometimes, it’s over and done with no turning back. It’s about as anti-love as it gets.
8. “Caught Out There” (1999) by Kelis
When love leaves, why go quietly? In this bombastic anti-love song, Kelis comes alive with a romance gone wrong due to infidelity. Here, she brings both the honey and the sonic salt, sprinkling the track with her alluring vocals that are juxtaposed with the shrieks that enter and take the record to an otherworldly level. A vivid ode to getting over the hump, “Caught Out There” is a Galentine’s Day musical act of rebellion, and a warning shot to unfaithful partners everywhere.
9. “Thank U, Next” (2018) by Ariana Grande
Miss Grande is not playing with this song, and she goes where few pop stars have gone before by naming exes instead of the typical roundabout way of calling out infidelity. Here, Ariana Grande decides to choose herself before any lovers, embracing every side of her being in a move of self-affirmation. The hit song brings an edge and grit not typically in line with the pop star’s public persona and is a welcome departure from her standard fare — the perfect complement to any anti-Valentine’s week.
10. “Shake It Off” (2014) by Taylor Swift
Of all pop stars today, Taylor Swift is undeniably the queen of crafting a catchy ditty about breakups. So it comes as no surprise that “Shake It Off” delivers on all fronts as a playful listen that breaks down how to work an ex-lover out of your system. As soon as the drumbeat kicks in and Taylor instructs listeners on how to protect their hearts, it’s a clear message that true happiness lies within. This beat will rock any anti-Valentine’s Day party. Dance without caring who’s watching.
11. “Company” (2016) by Tinashe
Flirty, fun, and fierce, “Company” offers just the right mix of playfulness and spunk that propels the track to the top of the anti-Valentine’s Day song list. Tinashe is a pop star that is not looking for love, and certainly is not about to turn down a bit of lust! There are no expectations here, and sometimes that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
12. “Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)” (1997) by Aerosmith
As a band celebrated for their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, Aerosmith proves here that even when they are being playful and funny, there is more than enough edge thrown into the mix to charm even the most casual of listeners. Frontman Steven Tyler knows a thing or two about heartbreaks, and he’s not afraid to let everyone know how debilitating it can be on the body. By the end of the song, there is a fresh take on how difficult and risky love can be and how those perspectives inform us.
13. “Someone Like You” (2011) by Adele
Adele, renowned for her vibrant charisma, crystal-clear vocals, and self-assured demeanor, waxes poetic here with a love song about loss and not being able to let go and move on. As a singer-songwriter who has always worn her heart on her sleeve, Adele is at her most enigmatic here and takes listeners on a rollercoaster of emotions as only she can.
14. “You Oughta Know” (1995) by Alanis Morisette
Now considered a classic rock song, Alanis Morrissette threw all of her energy into this angsty anthem that infuses all of the rage and anger associated with a diabolical ex. As the ultimate anti-love song, Morrissette lays it all on the line with each stanza, calling her ex-lover out for all the ways she was wronged. She does so in an unapologetic way that skillfully articulates the emotional rollercoaster one must sometimes navigate to get to the other side.
15. “Love Stinks” (1980) by J. Geils Band
Rebellious rock was at the forefront of the 80s and “Love Stinks,” an anti-love song from J. Geils Band, came out at the start of the decade. It immediately made an impact on radio, securing a top spot on the charts and across radio stations all over the country with its release. The song features a mean riff and a new attitude to match, eschewing the intricacies of love and diving into the thick of it with heartfelt lyrics that struck a chord with audiences. The song is raw, emotive, and poignant — in short, a masterpiece!
Artists release anthems as a cathartic outlet for listeners navigating the complexities of love and relationships, offering solace and empowerment. Listen to these anti-Valentine’s Day songs and let music help validate your diverse emotional experiences, both bitter and sweet.
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