Anthems of Anger

This might shock some of you reading this, but the Gouda is very much in touch with her... um... let's just call them "internal nettles." I know, I know. Hard to believe, isn't it? I mean, someone who can come up with all sorts of vile synonyms to describe Sweetheart candies can't seriously be surviving on a steady diet of rancor and hatred. Right?

The thing is, that's nothing. Most of the things I write here that give off that "more chafed than a pair of thighs in tight, wet jeans" affect are constructed that way intentionally. I do it to create irony. Do I REALLY get that pissed off over stupid candies? Not really. The only trivial object that dredges up in me the urge to actually commit murder are those Styrofoam packing peanuts, which you can read about here. But that's beside the point.

When I'm seriously, legitimately angry about something, when I feel affronted, annoyed, or just downright rife with fury, I tend to turn it inward, letting it out in little spurts that my household doors do not really appreciate, but that my unbroken dishes do. You get the point.

My cure for a case of conniption rests mainly in music, particularly that of the raw, screeching, nerve-pounding variety, voiced by someone I know has to be more pissed off and miserable than I could ever hope to be. Someone who can "out-scream" me, and create something of an emotional release akin to the arterial spray that occurs when you slit someone's throat. Stop squirming.

The music that fits this bill comes courtesy of a few particular bands (Nine Inch Nails, for one), but the one I'm going to focus on today is the most potent in my arsenal: Nirvana. There were few people as miserable as Kurt Cobain, and to prove it, he killed himself, so I'm more inclined to believe him. My favorite album: In Utero. Although not nearly as commercially successful as the ubiquitous Nevermind, I think this particular album showcased the raw, unaltered sound for which the band was originally aiming. The most well-known songs from In Utero are "Heart-Shaped Box" and "All Apologies", but I tend to zip right past those to the gems the radio wisely decided to not overplay (or play at all in most cases).

My favorite, the one that I automatically tune to if I find my teakettle of rage on the verge of spilling forth, is "Scentless Apprentice". When it starts out with Dave Grohl's virtuoso, pulsing, slightly off-kilter percussion, and then clashes mercilessly with Cobain's grating riffs, it is already a thing of enraged beauty, but it's after the first verse that it begins to show its cathartic colors, with Cobain screaming his throat bloody. It is then that my soul screams with him, and for the three minutes or so that song is swirling like an aural F-5 tornado through my consciousness, I strangely find some sort of an equilibrium, so that by the time the track reaches it's smoking, feedback-resonant end, my world has come back into focus.

Other songs from this album that achieve the same feat:

"Radio-Friendly Unit Shifter" (if you can endure the feedback)
"Milk It" (more awesome screaming)
"Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" (the guitar solo in the middle of the song is the best part, and the lyric "I miss the comfort in being sad" is just fucking heartbreaking)
"Pennyroyal Tea" (love the intense guitar in this one as well)
"Very Ape" (love the tempo)

Basically, the whole album is amazing, but those particular songs bring about a particular mental purification that can be achieved by little else.

What about you? Do you have any songs that have saved your sanity?


  1. Allie when I was a teen, I used to do my home work (on the old IBM Selectric) to the Sex Pistols. I also had a good thing going with L7 (thier tribute to Shirley Muldowny is too corny and cool). Now I don't get angry anymore. I just don't have the evergy for a good rage.

  2. I like to think my rage is a lot like a match. It flares briefly and then dissolves into a state of ambivalence. LOL

    Good pick on the Sex Pistols though! You rock, girl!

  3. My biggest issue is that, though I try, I can't stay angry for more than 5-10 minutes. So if I'm lucky I will get through 1 song while the anger still applies. There is just something in me that won't allow my energy to be wasted on that... Although I'm not sure what's worse, to not feel the anger for long.. or to just feel hurt overall for a while..

    Of course there are times when I feel that very same thing about eating. If it takes me more than 5-10 min to eat, I lose interest. This is why dinner dates are never a good idea for me.

    But anyway, back to the topic..I found that I listened to was "She Fucking Hates Me" by Puddle of Mudd. Of course, from me it's more directed at the guy...lol

  4. Oh, I forgot, I loved (still do) a band called the Stranglers. They have a nasty song called Peaches, dirty baseline, too yummy. I can't find any of thier albums. They're probably all dead.

  5. Indeed I do have a favorite song for those occasions...

    "The Grouch" By Green Day

    I was a young boy that had big plans
    Now I'm just another shitty old man
    I don't have fun and I hate everything
    The world owes me, so fuck you

    Glory days don't mean shit to me
    I drank a six pack of apathy
    Life's a bitch and so am I
    The world owes me, so fuck you

    Wasted youth and a fistful of ideals
    I had a young and optimisitic point of view
    Wasted youth and a fistful of ideals
    I had a young and optimisitic point of view

    I've decomposed, and my gut's getting fat
    Oh my god I'm turning out like my dad
    I'm always rude, I've got a bad attitude
    The world owes me, so fuck you

    The wife's a nag and the kid's fucking up
    I don't have sex 'cause i can't get it up
    I'm just a grouch sitting on the couch
    The world owes me, so fuck you

  6. Trinity -- I can relate. My anger doesn't really last that long either, but the music really helps get me through it. :)

    Matt -- Oh Green Day is a major savior for me too. And that's an awesome song!! One of my favorites of theirs is Brain Stew, although it doesn't last nearly long enough.

  7. I find that if I'm extremely upset or angry, I'll kick on some Slipknot, Hatebreed, or Lamb of God. Nothing says "Fuck-You" like Slipknot's "People = Shit". LOL.

    On the other hand, Blue October or James Blunt will sometimes be a good choice so that I may calm down before I end up killing someone. :)

  8. I used to listen to this song every morning on the way to work
    to a job I hated at a Fundamentalist Chistian Ice cream factory:

    It's heavy guitars backed by bagpipes, Very cool.


    "Horror is a face, and you must make a friend of horror horror
    and moral terror are your friends and they are not.
    then they are your enemies."
    [from "Apocalypse Now"]
    I saw Yig. Yig saw me.
    We're together in dark concavity.
    I saw Yig. He's so big. He smokes cigs.
    Eats just like a pig.
    Ooooohhhhhh! I saw Yig. I saw Yig. I saw, I saw Yig!
    Yig now is shifting his gibbering mass.
    He hides boils with maggots.
    The pus-sac extrudes.
    The horror that is Yig...
    When he rapes your mind, your mind will snap like a twig.
    Shaping and raping, his conscience is clear.
    Infest - black death.
    Spreads hate and foul cheer.
    The horror, The HORROR!
    Where Yig doth tread no man tread tomorrow.
    Reeking death harvest of humans in hatred.
    Suck on the shitbag of what you created,
    What we created. Yig now in coming, Yig now is here.
    Yig now he makes things impossibly queer.
    Piles of maggots
    Clouds of flies
    Putrid breath
    And bulging eyes.
    Yig comes and you die, you all die.

  9. Allie -- The stuff that struck the strongest chords with me weren't songs of anger, but songs of self-loathing and despair. (You wouldn't suspect that I was once an untreated manic-depressive, would you?)
    The song I'd play over and over was Leonard Cohen's 'Dress Rehearsal Rag'. It's a long one; here are my favourite bits:

    Just take a look at your body now,
    There's nothing much to save
    And a bitter voice in the mirror cries,
    "Hey, prince, you need a shave."

    Now if you can manage to get
    Your trembling fingers to behave,
    Why don't you try unwrapping
    A stainless steel razor blade?

    Cover up your face with soap, there,
    Now you're Santa Claus.
    And you've got a gift for anyone
    Who will give you his applause.

    I thought you were a racing man,
    Ah, but you couldn't take the pace.
    That's a funeral in the mirror
    And it's stopping at your face.

    But you've used up all your coupons
    Except the one that seems
    To be written on your wrist
    Along with several thousand dreams.

    Now Santa Claus comes forward,
    That's a razor in his mitt;
    And he puts on his dark glasses
    And he shows you where to hit;

    And then the cameras pan,
    The stand in stunt man,
    Dress rehearsal rag,
    It's just the dress rehearsal rag,
    You know this dress rehearsal rag,
    It's just a dress rehearsal rag.

  10. Like the good doctor, I tend to go for misery and despair over anger. But, one song that I sing in my head a lot is Big Mouth Strikes Again by the Smiths. You know:
    Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
    When I said I'd like to smash every tooth
    In your head

    Oh ... sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
    When I said by rights you should be
    Bludgeoned in your bed

    I like how musically its upbeat and happy sounding, but the lyrics are just so...wrong. Great for helping diffuse anger.

    I just had to say to Hammer re: Fundamentalist Christian Ice cream factory - WTF? Tell me what this ice cream is so I can avoid it, please!

  11. There are certain songs I'll scream along with to vent the old pressure cooker.

    Allie, remember "Raspberry Swirl" by Tori Amos? When we were in the car and I was busting it out, veins punching through skin? LOL

    Also, my other faves:
    - "Dragula" by Rob Zombie
    - "Without You I'm Nothing" by Placebo
    - "Halloween" by Dave Matthews Band

    Not quite as intense as Kurt, but they usually do the trick.

  12. One of my all time favorites is Kiss Off by the Violent Femmes.

    When I was younger I used to make whole tapes of what I would call grinding grace songs just for the purpose you described in you post.

  13. Hammer - I need to hear about this job! That song has some pretty intense lyrics!!

    Doc - No, I never would have guessed that about you, but I actually also do go for the self-loathing and despair songs as well, but it's typically after the flash of anger has died and has left me feeling more on the empty/apathetic side.

    Laura -- I LOVE that song. Big Smiths fan here.

    Army -- I love all of the songs you listed. Also "Precious Things" by Tori Amos is a good song to vent to. "Without You I'm Nothing" is an amazing song. They have a few that I like to listen to when I'm needing some release. "Infra-Red" and "Meds" are two other ones. As well as "Every You, Every Me."

    "Dragula" effing rocks!

    Adav -- Long time no see!! Hope all is well! I have an "Intense" mix on my iPod. :)

  14. Things are fine. I have been busy with some projects and work. I did stop by a while ago and saw a photo of you with a glass that was worthy of Dionysus himself. You go....

  15. Allie did you say IPod? I come from the generation that prided itself on a well mixed cassette tape. Now THAT was an art. I have tapes from 20 years ago, filled with angst and despair.
    IPod Shmi-Pod.

  16. It's rare I get angry enough for a song, and when I do, it is usually in a situation where music would be mute...

    I never got into any of the angry stuff.

    Give me Norman Greenbaum...

  17. Oh yeah...I talk about this in class with my students. We all have ways to deal with those feelings. And it's funny because music sometimes gets blamed for acts being committed. Think about M. Manson and Columbine. But no one ever talks about how raw music lets us work out our demons without hitting the people we really want to hit.


  18. "Eat It" by Wierd Al

    "Tub Thumping" Chumbawumba

    "Pop Goes the Weasel" but only when Raffi sings it.

    Wait, did you say "save my sanity?"