William Cosgreve once wrote "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
I, for one, concur. I would also add that if said woman is in possession of a guitar and a propensity to write music, then may God have mercy on the soul of the one who would dare cause such dire offense. Because, there is a good chance that the rogue in question will be hearing about it for the term of his natural life.
Heartbreak has inspired some of the best music ever made. There's no better medium than music for expressing one's emotions. And yet, I'd imagine most people, of either gender, would be horrified to hear themselves described in less than glowing terms in a song blasting out of the radio.
Women are capable of intense emotions. The expressions below of these emotions are enough to make the flesh crawl of every bloke within a five mile radius.
Alanis Morrisette - You Outta Know
This song used to terrify the hell out of me, and I'm sure it did for a heap of other guys as well. But that was the desired effect. And holy crap is she pissed off! Alanis has never disclosed who the song was written about, but you could bet that the lawsuits would have flown around thick and fast once the truth was out there.
Loretta Lynn - Don't Come Home a'Drinkin' (with Lovin' On Your Mind).
Loretta had a rough start to life. She was married not long before her 15th birthday and was 7 months pregnant by the time she turned 16 to a philandering alcoholic. Loretta makes it plain, in no uncertain terms, what to expect the next time he comes home after a boozy night with the boys. The steely determination of her vocal delivery leaves you with no doubt in your mind that she's serious, either.
Melissa Etheridge - Like The Way I Do
The five stages of grief are well documented, and it sounds like Melissa has recorded the exact moment when she goes from Denial (stage 1) to Anger (stage 2) on this track (around the 3:15 mark). It's compelling, to be sure, but you can't help thinking that you'd feel weird watching this if she didn't offer us this window into her pain.
Pat Benetar - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Given that Pat Benetar's records were helmed by pop music genius Mike Chapman, her rage has been tamed and boiled down somewhat on this track. One still gets the sense that the rage is just simmering below the surface, however...
Bikini Kill - Star Bellied Boy
Kathleen Hanna keeps no skeletons in the closet. Everything she committed to tape was a pure expression of her deepest emotions. On this one, she demands the boy she's interested in proves he's different, and unlike the rest. You won't doubt her intent.
Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin - Piece of My Heart
Written by pop svengali Bert Berns, Janis, as always, channels her raw emotions and puts 110% into her performance on this. Subsequent versions haven't been as bracing as this one...
Liz Phair - Divorce Song
The entire "Exile in Guyville" LP is one long expression of rage and pain after a breakup. We could have chosen any one of the 18 tracks on the original double LP, but this one meets the brief more than others. She never sounded this angry again...
This is not an exhaustive list. Which tracks have we missed? Let us know in the comments.