There is nothing like a villain power ballad to boost confidence. It may not be ethical for a girl to gleefully promise that family members will bust her ex’s knee caps, but it sure is entertaining to sing along.
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Here is a collection of ten villain songs that are perfect for auditions, character inspiration, or shower jam sessions.
When no one follows through with their promises, villain songs like this are a great way to let the anger out. Sung at the turning point of the musical Into the Woods, “Last Midnight” is the witch’s furious rant. This song is perfect for belting, and Meryl Streep sings it with the full power of a Broadway hit.
Of course, anything Queen is a classic, but this song takes Queen’s unique style to a wicked level. Unlike many of the songs on this list, the “Killer Queen” lyrics center around someone other than the singer.
This means this song can be used to describe best friends, girlfriends, or siblings with an attitude that has an edge. With the captivating style and sassy lyrics, this glam rock song is bad to the bone.
In this blend of alternative rock and blues, it is clear that villains don’t always sit around looking pretty. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel cool, however. This upbeat and wicked song makes sure of that.
It’s hard to find a Taylor Swift song that isn’t perfect in its own way, but the vengeance in this one calls to mind her old country days. If there is a need for a haunting tale of a woman taking matters into her own hands, this song is a perfect choice.
Female country singers are so famed for their villainous retribution that this list would be incomplete without one of the prime examples. In the famous chorus, Carrie Underwood brags that she keyed the car of some unsuspecting, unfaithful man. This song is great for post-breakup car jam sessions and maybe enough free therapy to prevent women from following through with the revenge mentioned in the lyrics.
For a more indie feel, Pomplamoose’s “Bust Your Knee Caps” may be the best choice. This song has a confident sway that lends itself to singers with softer voices, but it still doesn’t lose the unhinged undertone. In the song, a young girl warns her boyfriend that he should think twice before leaving her. The consequences of leaving may be disastrous, and she doesn’t seem to care if they are.
Though the plot of Wonderland is said to leave much to be desired, this song will prevail. It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to female villain songs, and Kate Shindle’s passionate rendering of the melody will not go forgotten.
Billie Eilish’s song “bad guy” was almost overplayed on radios for its wickedly powerful feel, but her musically villainous side doesn’t end with that hit. In “you should see me in a crown,” Billie takes that “bad guy” mentality and puts it in a position of power. This song showcases her unique style in an excellent combination of powerful and haunting energy.
Not every villain song has to be shouted from the rooftops. This particular song has an underlying feel of creepiness that sets it apart, even within the saturated pop genre.
One of the most fascinating songwriting techniques involves reimagining classics. In this twist on Fauntine’s famous lament from Les Misérables, the man gets to sing his side of the story. The lyrics say that he is just as misunderstood as Fauntine, but the shift to minor key gives this song a creepy vibe and lands it decidedly in the villain category.
“Bad to the Bone” is the quintessential villainous track. From the moment you hear those first few unmistakable chords, the image of a black-clad evil-doer in sunglasses is evoked immediately.
Performed by the relatively unknown musicians George Thorogood and The Destroyers, the song was not a commercial success on its initial release in 1982. Frequent play on the newly-created MTV and constant licensing in television, movies, and even commercials brought “Bad to the Bone” to the iconic status that it holds today.
A featured single on Dua Lipa’s otherwise happy and upbeat dance album, Future Nostalgia, “Don’t Start Now” is a ruthless warning written to an ex-lover.
She declares, in no uncertain terms, that now is the wrong time to suddenly start caring about where she is and what she is doing. While “Don’t Start Now” is musically very bright and uplifting, the harsh wording of its lyrics will have you feeling just fine with being a little bit bad.
Bobby Brown is going to do whatever he feels like doing and has no problem making that clear in “My Prerogative”. An anthem of the new jack swing genre released in 1988, it combines elements of rap, swing, and jazz.
The type of brash lyrical style and bold beat featured in this track would help guide the direction mainstream hip-hop would take in the 1990s and on to the present day. It will definitely deliver more than little villainy to your day.
Easily one of Queen’s most iconic songs, “Another One Bites the Dust” is a hard-hitting rock with aggressive instrumentals. Featured on 1980’s The Game, it was also the second chart-topping #1 hit from the timeless British rock ensemble. Its theme of accomplishing your goals no matter how many people have to have to be cast aside on the way should resonate with villains of all kinds.
Sum 41 was a Canadian early 2000s pop punk band that was predominantly known for their for their edgy lyrics and fast-paced instrumentals. These are both on full display in “The Hell Song”, which was released in 2002 at the height of their popularity. This track brings a different feel to the bad guy theme, taking a look at the sorts of thoughts that serve as nefarious motivations, particularly with its angst-ridden chorus.
Being bad can feel so good. That’s the message Demi Lovato wants to get across in her song “Sorry Not Sorry”. She promoted the song by performing it at house parties leading up to its release in 2017. Don’t let its upbeat, poppy sound fool you into thinking that it is anything less than completely savage. Lovato’s lyrics convey nothing but disdain for their target. The title alone should tell you that this one is a must for any villainous playlist.
Any collection of musical bad guys would be incomplete without Eminem. “Without Me” features the rapper at the height of his success in 2002, when he often used his fame and platform to dish out insults and irreverence. A young and raw Eminem, untarnished by maturity, mocks the music industry, other artists, his fans, and even his own popularity as he holds nothing back in this lyrical assault.
When it comes to a hard sound, gritty vocals, and the general gritty feel that is beloved by all evildoers, it’s hard to find anybody that does it better than the heavy metal band Pantera. A single on the band’s breakthrough 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power, “Walk” is an uncompromising demand for respect and has become one of their most widely known songs. It’s just the track to listen to when you need to amp yourself up before your next nefarious scheme.
Paramore burst onto the scenes in the mid 2000s behind their honest, no holds barred lyrics, alternative punk sound, and teenage front woman, Hayley Williams. Released in 2008, “Misery Business” has arguable become the bands most popular song, popping up on the radio, television, films, and video games more than a decade later. It has Williams flaunting her success over an adversary in a decidedly ungraceful and unapologetic way. Villains everywhere should know this one.
Korean Pop, or K-Pop, is known for the happy-go-lucky, every day is sunshine mentality that characterizes nearly every group in the genre, so it may seem like there is be nothing dark or brooding to speak of. However, “Monster” by the boy band EXO shows that this first appearance is deceptive. In this track, each band member brags about their heartbreaking ways without a drop of remorse to speak of.
If that’s not enough, the catchy chorus finishes up with villainous refrain of “You can call me monster!” in English.