At some point in everyone’s life, they have probably used music to channel their inner anger, and we all have heard that music can soothe the savage beast. Just like everyone else when we were younger we had similar challenges, whether it be work, relationships, or any other of life’s many obstacles. Music helped us get through times when we needed to let off some pent-up steam. There was always a lot of great music to help us out. We may be older and may have different challenges, but it’s still great to let this music rip, especially in the world’s current state. We thought it would be fun to take a look at some of our favorite songs to “rage” to.
So my list could be probably 20-30 songs easily, I have zero representation from Tool, The Stone Temple Pilots, The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, or Styx(just kidding although Mr. Roboto rocks). Half of my list is grunge and it’s mostly all 90’s music. I really looked for something older or more recent, but there is nothing that can really ramp it up like the ’90s. For a nanosecond, I thought of Helter Skelter by the Beatles but it just didn’t fit. So, create a playlist from the below picks and go burn off some steam.
- “Would?”, Alice in Chains. This one is a build up, it starts slow but it ends with pure Layne Staley angst.
- “Silverf*ck”, The Smashing Pumpkins. I could have put all of Gish, Siamese Dream and some of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on here but this song does the best at being mellow just before it unleashes pure anger.
- “Whipping”, Pearl Jam. “Whipping” is so aggressive right from the start. The lyrics “Don’t mean to push but I’m being shoved” screamed by Vedder is pure energy. “Porch” is a clear second.
- “Blow Up the Outside World”, Soundgarden. My number one song when I hate everything and just want to figuratively blow everything up. It builds slowly but Cornell is able to take it home with the masterful voice.
- “Turn You Inside Out”, R.E.M. Probably not the best fit for this list and different than all the rest but a pissed off Michael Stipe is a good one, especially if he was fighting social issues. Besides who doesn’t want to just rip someone a new one.
- “Freedom”, Rage Against the Machine. The number one song to make me want to smash things, the word rage isn’t part of their name for nothing and like they say “anger is a gift”.
- “Movie Star”, Cracker. Another strange and surprising pick, but Cracker is so aggressive with the guitars here. It makes my adrenaline flow like a red river.
- “You”, Candlebox. A great kiss-off song to a significant other is an underrated Candlebox song with a well-timed ef you.
- “Break Stuff”, Limp Bizkit. A perfect song when you want to punch a co-worker in the face but can’t, hit the break room, put on the airpods, and let the Bizkit do the threatening.
- “Iris”, Live. Great opening riff, all of Live’s rage in one song, gives me goosebumps especially live.
Bonus: “Crazy Bitch”, Buck Cherry. Not safe for work or appropriate for anyone but damn does it have a great opening scream and a fantastic angry riff.
MG: “Freedom” is definitely a go-to for me, especially when I’m angry about something socio-political, although almost any Rage song would fit the bill. “Would” is a great track, though I find most of the other songs on the Dirt album to be even more angry. I like that you included R.E.M. – another good choice by them would be “Ignoreland”, where Stipe is truly pissed-off. People can say what they want about Limp Bizkit, and Sheryl Crow can complain about them being misogynist, but “Break Stuff” is perfect for when you are screaming inside. The song lyrics pop into my head all the time – i.e. “It’s just one of those days/When you don’t wanna wake up/Everything is f*cked/Everybody sucks!”.
I’m a believer in the full spectrum of human emotion. I get that many people are afraid of anger, and its sometimes destructive consequences, but we all feel angry at times and it can be channeled into a positive outcome. If you keep getting angry about a job, relationship, bully, president, etc, then it’s probably a sign that you need to make a change. Certainly, being younger and naive, when you get hit with an injustice, it really makes your blood boil. Over time, you learn to deal with it better, but I still get pissed-off about things. I have a playlist that I crank up to both wallow in the anger and help diffuse it when needed. Music can be such a good catharsis. Here are some of my go-to tracks:
- ” I’m Broken”, Pantera. The guitar-riff that drives this song is just killer. Paired with Terry Glaze’s death metal vocal delivery – it’s a perfect rager
- “Rusty Cage”, Soundgarden. This is a song of hopeful angst. Even though the singer gets hit with a “hand of broken nails”, he’s going to “break my rusty cage…and RUN!”. Chris Cornell was such a powerful singer. Soundgarden’s music was like a life-preserver for me emotionally at times.
- “Monkey Wrench”, Foo Fighters. Such a great train-coming-down-the-track type of song. It starts off fast and yet Grohl still builds to a great crescendo at the end. I love playing this loud in the car.
- “Change of Heart”, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. A song doesn’t have to have thrashing guitars to be good for an angry moment. I once played this driving my girlfriend home on the night we broke up. I still don’t know if she got it.
- “Whatever/Keep Away”, Godsmack. I associate this pair of songs with my first foray into a corporate manager role and the office politics that came along with it. My inability to consistently “toe the company line” did not serve me well.
- “I Don’t Care Anymore”, Phil Collins. The intense opening drums and dark synthesizer are the perfect sparse backdrop for Phil’s bitter lyrics. This is for when you just want to wallow in your bad feelings. At one point it starts to sound hopeful, then just plunges back into the darkness.
- “Rearviewmirror”, Pearl Jam. This is the perfect song to crank up in the car when you feel like you just need to get away. The motif of putting things in the rearview mirror is helpful, particularly for a broken past relationship that you just can’t fully shake. Another good PJ angry tune on that same album is “Animal”.
- “Down With The Sickness”, Disturbed. This is one track that probably goes too far, depending on my mood. However, the singer’s diatribe against the childhood abuse from his mother does make you think “Gee, maybe my issues aren’t that bad in comparison.”
- “Welcome To Paradise/Longview”, Green Day. These songs aren’t overly angry, but I’ll never forget when DJ and I (and another partygoer) tore apart our basement at 2:00 in the morning after a party we threw in our rented condo. These two songs seemed to set us off. That was just crazy, angry, madness…but a lot of fun.
- “Aenima”, Tool. The “bring on the apocalypse” lyrics are more appropriate now than ever. If we are being honest with ourselves, there are times when human behavior, especially in America, just seems hopeless, and one gets tempted to think it might be preferable for Mother Nature (or God if you prefer that) to course correct and “flush it all away”.
Bonus: “Everything About You”, Ugly Kid Joe. Fine, label it cheesy, but it’s the rare angry song that is also comedic. It’s good not to take one’s anger so seriously all the time.
DJ: No Rage Against the Machine? Your list is very different than mine, the only carry over bands are Pearl Jam and Soundgarden which says something about those bands. Tool is a great addition as is Pantera. I can’t say “Change of Heart” would ever help me deal with anger but it’s a great song. Godsmack is a good choice, “Whatever” is a great song. Maybe we can get Ugly Kid Joe trending on Twitter. Love the faux metal rap in the middle.