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He Said She Said: The Sweet, Sweet Sounds of Revenge

"A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well." - Sir Francis Bacon

She Said has never been one for revenge, preferring to believe (at least), that people make their own beds. But if she was the vengeful type, she'd seek it out not so much in the form of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who famously set fire to boyfriend Andre Rison's mansion as payback for his infidelity. Instead, She Said would probably emulate the tactics of Alanis Morissette, and put her revenge into words. After all, the pen is mightier.

Which might be why there are so many songs about sweet, sweet revenge. Because, after all, a platinum-selling record about the places you like to give blow jobs is much more effective than spreading some rumor on Facebook or silently seething inside about someone's malevolent behavior. "Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson

Maybe this is less about the lyrics and more about the video, though Kelly's got a kick-ass voice, and the first few beats of this song made She Said want to pump her fists in the air. Kelly runs through a house destroying everything in sight as a kind of emotional purging, all leading up to the video's final payoff. "Hit Em Up Style," Blu Cantrell
Daaaaaamn, girl! Don't cut him any slack! She Said understands the urge to indulge in a little retail therapy, especially if the money is someone else's. 'Cuz revenge is better than money, you see. "Irreplaceable," Beyoncé
Beyoncé gives the best bershon look at the start of this video., despite looking like RuPaul for a good portion of it. We still love RuPaul, but we gotta say... "Tyrone," Erykah Badu
... Miss Badu did the "Get your shit outta my house" routine first. "It's Not Right," Whitney Houston
Whitney's triumphant return, in more ways than one. She Said wonders who Whitney could possibly be referring to in this song. It's a borderline crazy rant; seriously, Whitney's scaring even She Said. "You're So Vain," Carly Simon
Let's face it, no one cares who this song's about. The fact that we don't know allows us to apply it to anyone at any time. But She Said doesn't want to give the impression that all revenge songs are by women, or that they're all about romance. So let's see the work of some men too.

 

"Cry Me a River," Justin Timberlake
In movies, a woman's quest for revenge often ends turns her into a deranged huntress (see Fatal Attraction, Single White Female and the opus known as She-Devil). But it's music where a man's inability to let go often turns to obsession. J.T. follows a long line of previous stalker-singers, including The Police and The Toadies. "The Mariner's Revenge Song," The Decemberists
The Decemberists harken back to old-timey story-telling, complete with echoes of Hamlet, including the woman driven mad. It's a beautifully done sea chantey in the tradition of the ode. Revenge is delicious, no? "The Best Revenge," Fischerspooner
The best part of Les Liaisons Dangereuses comes at the end, when Valmont, fatally wounded in a duel, gives his dueling partner Dancey letters which reveal the shady dealings of the Marquise de Merteuil, publicly ruining her reputation and causing her to suffer from a stress-induced illness that also permanently scars her once-beautiful face. This is the novel that gave us the famous line, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Wait. What were we talking about? "Ballad of a Thin Man," Bob Dylan
Finally, a revenge song not about relationships gone bad. Opinions differ as to what this song's about, but the frequent citation is that it's Bob Dylan's takedown of the media, especially a particular British journalist. In a career of confusing songs, this one turned out to be one the most enigmatic, and also one of the best.

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