Produced by

Seven Sins: Wrath

Friday, March 13, 2009

As part of our weekly series "Seven Sins: The Deadly Medley," we look at how wrath is manifested in music and lyrics. Washington Post pop music critic J. Freedom du Lac and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang (creator of such sinful-sounding works like "Cheating, Lying, Stealing") join us to show how a variety of genres express anger. Plus, we take your calls and comments.

Soundcheck blog: John Schaefer gets a little angry

List: David Lang's deadly medley

List: Josh du Lac's deadly medley


David Lang

Comments [41]

Silvia-anna Goldsmith from Manhattan

How About "Rose's Turn" from "Gypsy". When she
cries out at the end,
"For Me!" For Me!" For Me!" she is addressing
the fates, the heavens and all the powers
that be. I saw Ethel Merman in the original and I am always haunted by her cries of anger, and the seeming injustice of its never being
for her, like a knife slashing the air, and
destiny itself.

Mar. 13 2009 03:08 PM
Silvia-anna Goldsmith from Manhattan

How about "Rose's Turn" in "Gypsy".
I saw the original with Merman, and I still remember her cries, "For Me!", so angry!!

Mar. 13 2009 03:01 PM
Mary Ellen Meehan from Next door to former governor Spitzer


Mar. 13 2009 02:42 PM
Margaret Pettit from Huntington New York

How about the song from the play "Chicago" - "He Had it Coming." As evident from the location of where the girls are singing the song, their wrath got the best of them.

Mar. 13 2009 02:39 PM
Paul from Bernardsville, New Jersey

These two songs are full of youthful, righteous anger.

We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister and Anthem 2000 by Silverchair

Mar. 13 2009 02:39 PM
Harris B. from Harlem

In Kina's song, "Girl From the Gutter", she is getting back at her mean ex-boyfriend through her success in life:

"...I hope your hell is filled with magazines
And on every page you see a big picture of me
And under every picture the caption should read
Not bad for a girl from the gutter like me..."

Mar. 13 2009 02:38 PM
Paul Oertel from Bernardsville, New Jersey

These two songs are full of youthful, righteous anger.

We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister and Anthem 2000 by Silverchair

Mar. 13 2009 02:37 PM
Phillip from Manhattan

john!!!! WHY IS NOONE MENTIONING ANY PUNK!!! Cmon....Minor Threat, Black Flag, the list goes on and on!!!

Mar. 13 2009 02:36 PM
Bob from Glen Rock, New Jersey

If you want to find wrath in Broadway musicals look to Chess by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song, Pity the Child is a 5 minute screaming rant angainst everyone - parents, former girlfriends, chess partners, etc. When Chess didn't do so well on Broadway, one critic said it was because the characters were angry all the time.

Mar. 13 2009 02:36 PM
Sarah Bennington from Chicagp

This is an old one: how about Eve of Destruction?
I agree with the Norwegian Wood comment.

Mar. 13 2009 02:35 PM
delmore from queens

i'm gonna burn your playhouse down--graham parker

Mar. 13 2009 02:35 PM
Jim from Brooklyn

How about the mother of all angry songs-- A Boy Named Sue?

Mar. 13 2009 02:34 PM
yves beauvais from saugerties ny

or else new orleans songster Glynn Styler

"You killed my Love
You committted romanticide
When you said you were not satisfied
With an asshole Like Me"

Mar. 13 2009 02:34 PM
Ted Shred from Atlanta

Screaming for vengeance, anyone? Metallica? Most of Nirvana. You can be wrathful in content, or in delivery. But guys, the Angry Dance? How in the scale of angry is that; maybe an angry kitten dance or something...

Mar. 13 2009 02:32 PM
TG from Bushwick

"Gaucho" by Steely Dan

Mar. 13 2009 02:32 PM
yves beauvais from saugerties ny



Revenge ain't so sweet but it'll have to do
revenge is just about as sweet as I feel about you"

Mar. 13 2009 02:32 PM
Mark from Edison, NJ

My favorite anger song is Don Henley Must Die by Mojo Nixon since it is so arbitrary. My favorite lyric:

Don't let him get back together
With Glenn Frey!
Don Henley must die!

Mar. 13 2009 02:31 PM
Stephanie from Brick, NJ

I think the whole genre of 'metal' (in all of it's ranges, from Death Metal to Black Metal) is the pure embodiment of wrath ranging from the epic to personal. Most can't be played on the air, but "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Metallica can be. Other artists include Megadeth, Cannibal Corpse or Slayer.

Mar. 13 2009 02:30 PM
yves beauvais from saugerties ny

do not forget the mekons' "revenge". hell the band even had an LP called "Revenge of the Mekons." Words for that song: "Revenge ain't so sweet, but it'll have to do, revenge is about as sweet as I feel about you."

Mar. 13 2009 02:30 PM
Ringo from UWS

What about James Horner's score to the movie "Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan"? Music to underscore an entire film about wrath and its consequences.

Mar. 13 2009 02:29 PM
John from brooklyn

what about the commendatore scene in Mozart's Don Giovanni? After refusing to repent Don Giovanni is dragged into hell by the ghost of the commander.

Mar. 13 2009 02:29 PM
Matthew K. from New Jersey

I'd have to say "Pluto" by Bjork - the lyrics reassure that "I'll be brand new tomorrow" but not until she "gets this body off me" The music is punky synth abuse and several reviews of the album (Homogenic) even called the track unlistenable, noise, etc. I used to think so, too - until I heard it at the right time!

Mar. 13 2009 02:28 PM
Jennie Livingston from Brooklyn

wrathful songs:

on romance, Bob Dylan's "Dirge"
("I hate myself for loving you")

on violence against women, including verbal biolence, Queen Latifah's U.N.I.T.Y. ("who you callin' a bitch?")

on injustice in particular on wrath and revenge, "They all deserve to die" from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd

Mar. 13 2009 02:27 PM
John from brooklyn

also the Commendatore scene in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni is brought to the underworld after refusing to repent.

Mar. 13 2009 02:26 PM
Kevin from Union City, NJ

you guys should check out "Puke" by Eminem. you feel how hurt and how angry he is... as long as your checking out Eminem might as well check "Kim", where Eminem kill his wife on the song....

Mar. 13 2009 02:26 PM
Niina from Brooklyn, NY

Oh, and "Professional Widow" by Tori Amos. Esp. some live recordings. Doesn't get much more wrathful than that.

Mar. 13 2009 02:25 PM
jessica from Colonia, NJ

I suggest the song "Caught Out There" by Kelis. I'm not even a fan but I remember hearing it once and the chorus states over and over "I hate you so much right now" and I thought how ridiculous. But it is so obviously and overtly wrathful I had to mention it.

Mar. 13 2009 02:25 PM
Stephen from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

We can't forget Blondie's "One Way or Another."

Mar. 13 2009 02:23 PM

'Norwegian Wood'

I think most people don't realize it ends with the girl's house being burned down.

Mar. 13 2009 02:22 PM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

I agree with NJTom

1 : strong vengeful anger or indignation
2 : retributory punishment for an offense or a crime : divine chastisement

Mar. 13 2009 02:22 PM
John from brooklyn

wow what about Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind"? pure wrath.

Mar. 13 2009 02:22 PM
Ian from Brooklyn, NY

From hip hop, what about Queen Latifah's "Wrath of my Madness" from her classic debut album, 'All Hail the Queen.'

Mar. 13 2009 02:18 PM
Ted Shred from Atlanta

Axe, Eugene - great one! There are so many punk and probably rap ones it is hard to begin, so I'll go a different direction... Hate, a song by Sting's son's band Fiction Plane, is a poppy but fun take on being superior and angrily indignant about it.

Mar. 13 2009 02:18 PM
Maria from Brooklyn, NY

Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet with Butterfly Wings".

Mar. 13 2009 02:17 PM
Rick from Manhattan

I Was Wrong by Social Distortion
Song about an angry abusive father and teenager angry at the world.

Mar. 13 2009 02:15 PM
Rick from Manhattan

Social Distortion - I Was Wrong
Song about an abusive father and angry teenager.

Mar. 13 2009 02:13 PM
NJTom from Bayonne, NJ

Wrath is quite a bit more than anger.

Mar. 13 2009 02:12 PM
Audrey from Manhattan

"I Hate You So Much Right Now" by Kelis. It was like a wrathful anthem a few years ago.

Mar. 13 2009 02:07 PM
Rich from Union City

Two you can't play, but certainly fit:
H-A-T-R-E-D - Tonio K.
You're Breaking my Heart - Harry Nilsson

Mar. 13 2009 02:04 PM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

I offer my personal faves "Doll Parts" by Courtney Love and "Goodbye Earl" by The Dixie Chicks.

Mar. 13 2009 02:03 PM
NJTom from Bayonne, NJ

"Careful with that Axe, Eugene" by Pink Floyd. The music slowly builds to a crescendo as the title words are the only one's spoken in the song. It is followed by screaming and a musical movement that seems to revel in the release of violence.

Mar. 13 2009 01:56 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.