A Bad Sport Breakup Song

One of my favorite genre of song is what I call the “Bad Sport” breakup song. Songs about breakups that are not sad and regretful, mournful and longing, but pissed, a little bit petty, and childish. Being a bad sport is just as honest as saying, “boo-hoo, I miss so-and-so, my heart hurts.” I love the songs that are like, “EFF YOU. YOU SUCK.” (This song may be the farthest that one could go in that direction.)

Currently, my favorite is Waylon Jennings’ hilarious (to me) “You Can Have Her.” Every time that huge angelic chorus comes in, it makes me laugh. Like, he’s not just singing this song alone. He’s calling in the big guns, the many many voices, the gigantic chorus, to back him up in his Kiss Off.

So satisfying.

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44 Responses to A Bad Sport Breakup Song

  1. Helena says:

    ‘Caught out there’ by Kelis. Just love her shrieking I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW, GRRRUGHH

    • sheila says:

      That’s it! Time enough to be a good sport about it later when you cool off. Way too much pressure to be a “good sport” in the immediate aftermath of a breakup. I say, eff that!!

  2. Helena says:

    Admittedly it’s not so much a bad sport breakup, more ripping his ‘nads off and stamping on them.

    • sheila says:

      That’s definitely in the category of “being a bad sport.”

      Perhaps the most bluntly worded song in this category is the Eurythmics: “You hurt me and I hate you.”

      You know, because what else is there to say.

  3. Anne says:

    I always notice the bitter end of the May-December romance subcategory of breakup song, whether it’s from the May side (Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”), or the December side (Rod Stewart’s “Baby Jane”), or both (that classic of the genre, the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”). I don’t know why, but I love those songs. There’s a special kind of resentment, the younger person saying “you thought you owned me but you don’t, screw you,” and the older person often totally losing their shit trying to hold on to the younger person, usually being manipulative as hell. The songs just ooze with melodrama, I guess. Love them!

    • sheila says:

      Anne – I love this sub-set of the “genre” that you have pointed out!! Probably most of Rod Stewart’s songs could qualify, I’m thinking.

  4. Dan says:

    See also, the Shop Assistants ‘I Don’t Want To Be Friends With You.’ Scathing and catchy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sv_0bzzYPw

  5. sheila says:

    Another good one is Pink’s “Why Did I Ever Like You?” That one got a lot of play in my wee household in December, 2012.

    Soooo bitter and so petty: “I can’t believe I laughed at anything you said. Your jokes aren’t funny.”


    The song opens with:

    “There was a 5.8 earthquake today and it kind of got me thinking.
    I’d still have my hate for you intact even if I lost everything.”


  6. bybee says:

    I like ‘bad sport’ songs, too. For many years, I wrongly categorized “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away” as a wimpy boo-hoo song, then last summer I listened to the lyrics and found that it’s actually more of an F.U.

  7. mutecypher says:

    Pink has more than one bad sport breakup song, my favorite is So What. I guess it depends on whether you want “F U” or “What Was I Thinking?”

    “I’m just fine and you’re a tool.”

    What more needs to be said?

    You and Anne are right about Rod Stewart. “Maggie May,” anyone?

    “The morning sun when it’s in your face really shows your age.” No farewell bj for you, dude.

  8. I think the best of these songs tend to have it both ways (“Maggie May” would certainly qualify). I actually think this one’s stronger for being a touch mournful (even more so on Waylon’s live version–I think bringing that chorus on the road might have been a tad expensive!)…This might be a country thing because, after a long night of thinkin’, I’ve decided my other favorites are out of Nashville, too…



    (Also kind of like that, in the second case, the writer and the singer both have “love” in their names!…Sorta cosmic.)

    • sheila says:

      The Bad Sport breakup song is more powerful without the mournful subtext. Mourning can come later. Rage can exist on its own. Obviously rage can come from sadness, or sadness is a part of it – but rage is expression all its own. The more childish and petty the better.

      I like the childish-ness of this one, including the music video which includes a huge group of people screaming the lyrics through megaphones at the bitch’s house. THAT’S what I’m talking about.


      When you’ve been dumped, and you’re PISSED and don’t FEEL like being sad yet, a song like that is an anthem!

  9. Comment awaiting moderation..not sure why (Sheila, set me free!)

  10. sheila says:

    Multiple links automatically put you into moderation.

  11. Helena says:

    Probably the most puerile is ‘Jilted John’ by Jilted John – it just descends into a barrage of playground insults. Not even sure it ever got airplay outside the UK.

  12. sheila says:

    Someone on FB brought up this song – a song I’ve always found somewhat terrifying. Love it. There are a couple of sadsack “why me, I’m so sad” lyrics but in general, it’s pretty brutal.


  13. Helena says:

    // I don’t know Jilted John though!//

    It’s on spotify and youtube. It was kind of faux punk.

    (All of the recordings of Top of the Pops from the 60s to the 90s are kind of peculiar territory now – more than one of the presenters have since been revealed to be horrible sex criminals.)

  14. Fiddlin Bill says:

    Dylan specialized in this genre in the mid-’60s. Like a Rolling Stone, Baby Blue, really countless of his songs from his greatest period. More in the country vein, ever heard Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone. It is artfully crafted to seem like yet another weepy you left me lament, until finally you get to the chorus and the tempo changes, and the left guy starts dancing as the bus leaves the terminal. And may I dare reference my own contribution to the genre or at least one corner of it: You Were Only Fucking While I Was Making Love.

    • sheila says:

      Even Don’t Think Twice could be considered one of these, if you put aside the bittersweet melody and listen to the lyrics. You just wasted my precious time.

      I’ll look up those other songs you mentioned. Is You Were Only Fucking available to listen to? Sounds right up my alley.

  15. sheila says:

    “Think I dodged a bullet. I’m so over you.”

    Go, Beyonce.


  16. Fiddlin Bill says:

    A folk singer named Debby McClatchy covered my masterpiece in the 1976 recording “Debby McClatchy with the Red Clay Ramblers,” which was originally on the Green Linnet label (the label mostly featured Irish fiddle music I think) and is now probably available through her, since she’s still working the music stage. An acapella women’s group recorded the song in the ’80s. They were from Boston. If you’d like my very own live recording, from a bar in Chapel Hill, NC circa 2008 or so, I’ll send you a link via email if you like. I put the piece up on my little patch of GoogleDrive.

  17. Fiddlin Bill says:

    I just sent you the link–what the heck. Enjoy!

  18. Oops. Sorry. I figured I screwed up, just didn’t know how.

    • sheila says:

      No, you didn’t screw up! :) My site just protects me from spammers that way – so if there’s more than one link it goes into moderation. Thanks for your patience!

  19. The slow burn is powerful….You’re right, though. There’s something to be said for megaphones!

  20. Regina Bartkoff says:

    Sheila How about Gloria Gaynor’s I will Survive. Someone told me after being dumped she sat in her car with her best friend and he let her play that like 30 times over and over, with her screaming along with it and banging on the dashboard, that’s a good friend!

    • sheila says:

      A very good friend.

      One of the best anthems ever for getting over a jerk-face! “Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?”

  21. Natalie says:

    Much as I adore Pink and pretty much her entire catalog, my absolute favorite song in this category is Ben Folds Five’s Song for the Dumped:


    On the album it is immediately followed by Selfless, Cold, and Composed, which follows the theme and is also great, but more mournful. Song for the Dumped is just pure unfiltered spite.

  22. mutecypher says:

    Christina also has some great bad sport breakup/empowerment songs: “Army of Me”


    I see a glimpse of recognition,
    But it’s too little, it’s too late,
    What you thought was your best decision
    Just became your worst mistake

    and “Stronger” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBOJpIwF47Y

    Cause if it wasn’t for all your torture
    I wouldn’t know how to be this way now
    and never back down

    And we have the oft-abused Miss Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together” – http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=90950#comment-2328942

    Of course, lyrics like “some indy record that’s much cooler than mine” make the song a bit less universal. But I’ve seen middle school girls sing the chorus as if entry to heaven depended upon loud-and-proper diction.

  23. mutecypher says:

    Should have mentioned… I hadn’t heard Waylon’s song before, I really liked it.

    I hope there’s no recent proximate cause for you to be listening to such things.

    • sheila says:

      Isn’t it great? I’m a little bit obsessed with it right now. He’s so awesome anyway, but love this one.

      and thanks for asking – no, I’m fine, all is well. :) I just find these songs strangely validating and cathartic. To be able to just say, “Y’know what? I hate that person. What that person did to me sucks.”

      Not to live in bitterness for 50 years about it, but Jeez Louise, to at least feel free to declare your hatred for 2 or 3 days before you get all balanced and lovely and Oprah about it.

  24. Natalie says:

    Sheila, have you heard Pink’s duet with Eminem on her newest album, Revenge? I think it is my new favorite in this category, and I can’t stop listening to it. It’s not just spiteful, it’s gleefully spiteful, and it’s such a fun song.

    • sheila says:

      Natalie – yes!! I am so loving her latest album, are you?

      I think this is their 4th collaboration – maybe even 5th?

      “Gleefully spiteful” is perfect – she and MM are so in sync in that sensibility!! It’s why her “Eff You I hate You” songs are so cathartic. She doesn’t try to be grown-up, and understanding – she barely sheds a tear. Instead she keys your car. and laughs in your face. and there’s something satisfying about that.

      I mean, in Revenge they basically sound like the same person. Doppelgangers.

      “Lady … Friends. … Whores.”

      I’m sorry, it makes me laugh. His line reading! I’m driving on the highway singing along, “You’re a whore, you’re a whore, this is war” and I’m just giggling. It’s so wrong. But so funny.

      • sheila says:

        They’re both such beautiful brats. Or they get off on and don’t judge each other’s brattiness.

      • Natalie says:

        Oh, his line readings are amazing, and yes, I giggle at it too. And I adore the entire album. I love how basically everything she writes is so HONEST. Even when it’s raw and ugly (the topic, not the songs themselves), it’s still real. I could not love her more if I tried.

        • sheila says:

          So true – her honesty is just right out there. I’m not sure I quite saw that coming initially – although I loved God is a DJ and Just like a Pill. And her voice is clearly a great voice. No auto-tune there.

          But once I dug into her albums – the songs that weren’t the hit singles – I was like, wow, she is just telling it like it is. Songs to her mother, her dad – her “song to her 13 year old self” always kills me.

          I also love her Bratty side. The “nyah nyah I’m a rock star” side – why should it only be Mick Jagger and the Eagles who gets to prance around bragging about their gold records on the wall?

          I think she’s a great role model – even though that’s not why I love her. I love her because of her songs and her voice – but she’s just a great role model because of her authenticity, and her willingness to admit she’s not perfect and to always tell the truth.

          also, she’s funny! She doesn’t take herself too seriously!

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