Rapper Eminem is no stranger to violent lyrics. His latest hit, Love The Way You Lie, has spent five weeks at number one on the Hot 100 charts, which has some speaking out about against glorifying violence in song, but we took a look and trust us, it’s nothing new. Here are the top seven violent songs people just can’t seem to get enough of.
Love The Way You Lie – Eminem featuring Rihanna
A song that chronicles a couple’s violent relationship sung by two performers who are no stranger to domestic abuse themselves. Eminem has sung extensively about his destructive relationship with ex-wife Kim Mathers, while Rihanna made headlines in 2009 after ex-boyfriend Chris Brown attacked her in a car.
Goodbye Earl – The Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks made revenge into cutesy, country pop with their hit Goodbye Earl, a song about a woman who kills an abusive husband, which peaked at no. 19 on Billboard’s The Hot 100 and at no. 13 on the country charts.
Frankie & Johnny – Folk Song
A folk song about a scorned woman who shoots her cheating lover, Frankie & Johnny has been re-recorded hundreds of times by a mix of artists and was even the basis for a 1966 film of the same name starring Elvis Presley. Ironically, Sam Cooke, who sings this version of the disconcerting tune, died violently when he was shot in a hotel room in 1964.
Kiss With A Fist – Florence & The Machine
A relative newcomer to the music scene, Florence & The Machine’s Florence Welch released Kiss With A Fist in 2008, which populated the indie music scene with lyrics like “You smashed a plate over my head, then I set fire to our bed.”
Janie’s Got A Gun – Aerosmith
Rock legends Aerosmith’s song about a young woman, Janie, who seeks revenge on a father who sexually abused her as a child, not only topped music charts internationally, but it also won the band its first Grammy Award in 1991.
Run For Your Life – The Beatles
It’s no secret that The Beatles’ songs were often threaded with hidden references, but 1965’s Run For Your Life is part catchy pop, part disturbing threat. Somehow, we trust Lennon’s vocals enough to love the song, even 45 years later.
Rock-A-Bye Baby – Traditional Lullaby
Even the most popular English lullaby in history has some seriously questionable content. “When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.” Why do we sing try to sooth crying infants with threats of them falling out of trees? We’re beginning to think this love of violence via song is a conditioning brought about at birth.