The world has a funny relationship with enemies. For instance, you might hear the phrase “I have no enemies” and think, “Wow! That person is perfect!” But then you might listen to the word “I’m going to make an enemy out of that person” and think, “Oh man! That person is a psychopath!” So, it’s safe to say that most people don’t particularly like having enemies (psychopaths notwithstanding).
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There are many songs about enemies, but only a few truly capture the right blend of anger and satisfaction. You want to celebrate your victory over an enemy, but you also don’t want to let them off the hook too quickly. These ten songs are the best at doing just that.
“I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor’s upbeat disco classic is a staple of the karaoke scene and has been a powerful feminist anthem for generations. The lyrics of Some songs are about enemies, and some pieces are about lovers, but Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is about both. The disco anthem is about a woman who’s just broken up with her boyfriend and is determined to move on. There’s no mention of enemies in the song, and she doesn’t want to be friends with him either—she’s just going to get through it alone. However, the phrase “I will survive” has become a kind of battle cry for women (and men) who have been through difficult times with their significant others, so the song has come to be applied in an enemy context. After all, if you can survive a bad breakup, you can survive anything.
“Enemies” – Shinedown
Shinedown has a lot of songs about running into anger and rage, so it should be no surprise that they have one that addresses an enemy directly. When you feel like you want to cut someone out of your life, this song is a great way to express that without saying a word. When this song came out in 2012, it was everywhere. It was a number-one single on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart and was often heard playing on the radio. Its meaning is clear: “You want to be my enemy? Okay, then that’s what you’ll be.” The lyrics are full of metaphors about getting caught in the crossfire, feeling like you’re losing ground, and being pushed around.
“Real Friends” – Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello’s debut album, “Camila,” is full of relatable lyrics. One of the stand-out tracks, “Real Friends,” speaks openly about the struggle of maintaining friendships and protecting yourself from toxic relationships. She sings, “I had real friends, but they’re not around now/, I feel like me, and you are just the same somehow.” In the chorus, Cabello repeats the line, “I know I’m not the only one/Who would give it all just for a little love.” This song describes how difficult it can be to keep friends in your life, especially as you get older and grow apart. Despite being wary of close relationships, Cabello admits that she still longs for a genuine friendship where she can give her all.
“The Way I Am” – Eminem
There are so many lyrics in this song that demonstrate Eminem’s frustration with those who doubt his success or misunderstand him. In addition to the title lyric, he says, “I don’t write these things to entertain you,” “This is for self-inflicted gashes/, and I take these thoughts/captive/through rap like a hostage.” He’s making it clear that if you hate him or think he’s a wrong person, it doesn’t matter to him—he’s not going to change his ways.
“Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift
It’s a song you would want to hear when you’re in the middle of a feud with someone. That’s because it’s an aggressive, get-back-at-your-enemy kind of anthem. Swift sings the first verses as if she were retelling an action movie: “Did you think we were done? Did you think we’d come undone? Now, look at what you’ve done.” The song is about how a friend turned into an enemy and how Swift plans to exact revenge. In the song, there is a lyric saying band-aid will not fix bullet holes; she talks to her former best friend, who is undoubtedly looking for a truce. The final chorus includes the lyric, “Now we’ve got bad blood!” That sums it up—Swift has no intention of making amends with this person anytime soon.
“Bad to the Bone” – George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Though it’s unclear exactly who this song is about, George Thorogood’s honky-tonk blues number sounds like it’s about a downright scary. The songs are about running from the perspective of an observer. He tells a story about a guy who takes no prisoners, doesn’t care if people like him or not, and does what he wants when he wants.
“Like a Stone” – Audioslave
This 2002 hit by Audioslave is about a man going through his life alone, thinking that nobody cares about him or believes in him. This feeling of loneliness and abandonment leads him to seek revenge against those who have wronged him in his past: “I will wait for you there/Like a stone/I will wait for you there/Alone.” He also vows to get revenge on anyone else who tries to hurt him in the future: “And I will climb this mountain with my own two hands/And I’ll leave this burden where it belongs.”
“Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen
The boss of blue-collar rock, Bruce Springsteen, is as intense in his songs about enemies as in his songs about love. He’s dedicated a whole piece to the misfit men and women struggling to survive. Those who want to throw off the shackles of their lives and make it past their “town full of losers / I’m pulling out of here to win” will enjoy the song. He wants them to find their way because they were born to run.
“Karma Police” – Radiohead
Radiohead’s “Karma Police” is a song about how karma works, if it does at all. The music video for the song (which received a nomination for Best Music Video in the 1998 Grammy Awards) was directed by Jonathan Glazer. It depicted a man who drives around in an old car in a barren wasteland. He encounters a bear, which he starts to kick repeatedly. After some time, the man seems tired from kicking the bear, walks over to his car, and falls asleep. When he wakes up, he sees that the bear has been replaced by Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke and the rest of the band members standing on top of his car and playing the song. Yorke leaves behind a tape recorder playing and disappears into thin air as the man screams in terror.
“Go Your Own Way”- Fleetwood Mac
Lindsey Buckingham wrote this song shortly after the demise of his relationship with Stevie Nicks (who isn’t a good witch). Whether or not the lyrics are meant to be directed at Nicks, his message is pretty straightforward: he’s over her, and she should take a hike. Though it may not be a kiss-off in the traditional sense (no name-calling here), Buckingham’s decision to let her go her own way is still aimed at getting her out of his life for good.
In the end, we all want to be loved and appreciated, no matter the reason. And if someone is hurting us, we don’t want them to feel isolated. If you’re trying to figure out how to get over an enemy who’s made your life miserable, some songs will help put things in perspective.