We’re going to be running Top 5 lists of different types of country songs. Today, we present to you, the Top 5 Country Songs about revenge, as ranked by Charlie Mitchell.
From the time Cain and Abel went out in the field, and Cain came back alone, revenge has been a part of real life. And since the best country music is all about real life, there have been some great songs about revenge.
Here are my Top 5, served really cold:
5) Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene” (2006, Columbia)
Vengeful lyric: “Light ’em up and watch them burn, teach them what they need to learn. HA!”
Ok, so she doesn’t really drown her cheating man in kerosene and set him afire in the video. After all, this is the PC 2000’s. But if looks could kill… Blake, you payin’ attention?
By the way, Miranda is the new Loretta Lynn. Go dig up a copy of “Fist City” or “You Ain’t Woman Enough” (To Take My Man) if you don’t agree. And “The House That Built Me” is “Coal Miner’s Daughter” 2010. Country music is blessed to have her.
4) Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” (2006, Arista)
Vengeful lyric: “I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up 4-wheel drive.”
As a classic car enthusiast, I get shivers every time Carrie hits that hook! Any idea what it would cost to fix the Dodge Ram 1500 she trashes in the video? Call the gecko, it’s totaled!
Oh, one other thing, ever seen a bathroom polo machine? It’s 25 cents a shot…so putting on 3 dollars worth of the stuff would be enough to make a skunk puke!
Any concerns that Carrie Underwood would be pigeonholed as the “Jesus, Take The Wheel” girl were forever laid to rest with this song.
3) Miranda Lambert – “Gunpowder & Lead” (2008, Columbia)
Vengeful lyric: “His fist is big but my gun’s bigger. He’ll find out when I pull the trigger!!”
Let’s recap: Your spouse is an abusive dirt bag. The system’s let you down, he’s being released from the local pokey and all that’s standing between his fist and your safety are two gentlemen named Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.
The original album track ends with Miranda using the aforementioned firearm, and her abusive spouse moaning as he takes his last breath.
Dirty, gritty– this is Country Music at its best.
2) Dixie Chicks – “Goodbye Earl” (2000, Monument)
Vengeful lyric: “It didn’t take ’em long to decide…that Earl had to die!”
Revenge was never so delicious – or hilarious. Poisoned black-eyed peas? Rolling Earl up in a rug? Stuffing him in the trunk of a ’72 Charger? This is trailer-trash cheese played for maximum laughs. Seeing the kid crush the milk carton with missing person Earl on the side is a roll-on-the-floor moment. And Dennis Franz as Earl? Genius. Pure genius.
Before they committed careericide in 2003, the Dixie Chicks were more popular than even Kenny Chesney and George Strait. The Fly and Home CD’s weren’t just hit albums; they were pop culture events that sold millions and brought new fans to country music. “Goodbye Earl” is a 4-minute capsule of everything we loved about the Chicks: fresh, funny, and irreverent. And always country.
1) Garth Brooks – “The Thunder Rolls” (1991, 1992, Capitol Nashville)
Vengeful lyric: “She reaches for the pistol, kept in the dresser drawer. Tells the lady in the mirror, he won’t do this again.”
Just as Garth Brooks reinvented the drinkin’ song with “Friends In Low Places”, “The Thunder Rolls” reinvented the cheatin’ song.
It’s true, the original “No Fences” track didn’t feature the above lyric (the third verse was cut to make it more radio-friendly), but the video told the story of violence and vengeance that followed the philandering husband’s (played by a bearded Garth) realization, “she knows that he knows”.
Predictably, TNN (remember The Nashville Network?) and CMT both banned the video. The controversy only created more buzz for an artist who already was on his way to becoming bigger than Elvis and the Beatles.
Meanwhile, Garth was singing “The Thunder Rolls” – with the third verse – night after night in concert. One of those performances was captured for NBC-TV’s historic 1992 concert special, “This Is Garth Brooks.” The audio of that version is the one featured above.
Good luck finding the video – original or “This Is Garth Brooks” version, although a YouTube or Last.fm search brings up a ton of entertaining homemade tributes.
Martina McBride – “Independence Day” (1994, RCA)
Vengeful lyric – “Let the guilty pay, it’s Independence Day”
Mom commits murder/suicide by burning down the house with herself and abusive husband in it. On the 4th of July, no less. Radio consultants and program directors tore their garments at this one. Back in the day listener reaction was mixed, and the song only made it to #11. Today it’s an all-time favorite, and Martina’s signature song.
God only knows – literally – how many lives “Independence Day” has saved, encouraging and empowering women to break free of their abusive situations. The world is a better place because of this song and video. For that, it deserves an Honorable Mention.
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