Angry Songs

So eventually, you stop convulsing  that unused storage closet with sobs and feeling sort of crumbly and bruised, and, if it was a certain kind of thing that may you cry, your tears slowly become tears of rage. Now you’re ready to throw some furniture around, confront some bad guys, maybe go a little berserk in your room. Well, no fear. I have you covered.

Here is your angry playlist. DS, if you are reading, do not listen to any of these songs. They will make you cry.

Ok, I know there are vast unexplored wastes of Fiona Apple and Le Tigre left out, but we have to stop somewhere.


1. Yes, I have a lot of experience with angry music, but this is fine, because Simcha Fisher tells us that emotions are neither a lady thing nor a bad thing (not that there’s any difference for some people), and she’s like, the Catholic Oprah or something.

2. Yes, this list does  reveal an inordinate 70s punk and riot grrrl influence. Duly noted. Now go away.

3. Related: during senior year Latin I was so struck by the Dido-Aeneas debacle that I felt compelled to make a soundtrack for the wronged queen and share it with the class (as I said, it was a Latin class, so this was considered a really cool thing to do). My delight in that mix CD with DIDO LIVE FOREVER scrawled across it in purple marker has only slightly diminished with the discovery that Henry Purcell already wrote a whole opera on the theme.

Lovers, the Basis of Laughter.

Like most people, I find the greater part of love poetry, love songs, love jargon best suited to a good laugh. Oops, wait, maybe not like most people, because most people aren’t smirking lumps of granite.

But seriously, I can’t be the only one who feels this way? Surely we’ve all had some hitherto desirable young swain feelingly strum something by the Beatles or quote a sonnet at us, only to watch us dissolve into or choke back helpless laughter?

Lest I anger some goddess and get stuck with an actual pair of fangs, here are two  love songs and two love poems that I actually like.



Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbābimus illa, ne sciāmus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.




When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

-W.B. Yeats


Honorable  mentions.


Sad Songs

Because sometimes you just need a good cry, right?  I am a firm believer in the time-honored ritual of locking yourself in your favorite unused storage closet, thrashing out several good hard sobs, and emerging ready to freshen up and resume necessary ass-kicking. So here is a soundtrack for the next time you do that. You’re welcome.

NB: I know my taste leans heavily towards the grey, grizzled, and acoustic. Christine, William Randolph, anyone else–please feel free to supply my deficiencies.

How To Ward Off the Nice Catholic Boy

We’ve all been there. You’re nomming on after-Mass donuts in your parish hall, or answering phones at your local crisis pregnancy center, or in the library researching your thesis on Medieval art. Suddenly Ted–I can call him Ted, can’t I? saunters up and engages you in conversation. Nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary, just two good friends shooting the…..wait. Oh no. OhNoOhnoOhno. There it is again in his eye, that sickening spark, that marrow-freezing gleam. The love light.

You’re not repulsed or creeped out–you’re actually quite flattered, because on paper Ted is a catch. A steal. A nice Catholic Ken-doll dreamboat. But for personal reasons, because of your thesis, or your crush on the latte guy, or your inward conviction that you’d rather eat cicadas for breakfast than ever enter into matrimony, you really, really don’t want to be courted. You want to blow whistles and wave octagonal red signs. Halt! No wooing! No courting! No feeeeelings! (because ew feelings, right?) And since simply waiting to freak out till he actually asks you out and then politely turning him down is way too mature and commonsensical (because ew common sense, right?), I have compiled some helpful tactics.

1. Expose him to your violent feminist streak. Mention Gloria Steinem often and fondly. Tell him he is the bicycle to your fish. Bring up your sympathies with the Slutwalkers, and muse aloud on the unfairly neglected merits of the Vagina Monologues.  *

2. Casually read Sylvia Plath in front of him. Ten points for The Bell Jar, one hundred points for “Daddy.” *

4. While out for drinks after work, challenge him to a chug off. *

3. Bring along your best friend to your informal coffee are-these-dates?. Wear flannel, and snuggle over your cappucinos.

4. Take out a garlic clove and bless yourself when you see small children.

5. Tell him you could only marry a man who shares your love of Bjork.*

4. Tell him you could only marry a man whose Christian name is Earnest.

6. Talk constantly about your career plans, hopes, and dreams, making sure none of them include–how you say?–settling down? I have found aspirations to foreign correspondency particularly helpful in this respect.*

7. If he does ask you out and you really can’t fool yourself or anyone else that it’s not a date, and couldn’t bring yourself to say no because you’re such a non-confrontational weasel or kind of like the attention or whatever, make sure you wear don’t-mess-with-me-boots. These are like the younger sister of fuck me boots, except she went to Bryn Mawr and is now a community organizer. By no means wear the take-me-home-to-Mom floral print dress and ballet flats.

8. Tell him you are a sedevacantist. Wear mantilla with said don’t-mess-with-me boots.

8. Tell him you are a liberation theologian. If he says “I think you’re a contra,” marry him.

9. Be unable to properly number your posts?

10. Tell him you are on a raw food diet, are revisiting veganism, and don’t shave your legs.

*Denotes personal experience.