Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. Even if you’re in a happy relationship, its focus on love as the ultimate soul’s fulfilment can feel cloying and overwhelming. It also masks the messy truth of humanity: that being heartbroken, happily alone, unconventionally involved, bitterly regretful or simply uninterested in matters of the heart on 14 February are just as common as being moonstruck. If that sounds like you, then read on: these anti-Valentine’s Day songs are just what you need.
The songs in this list all do something different with love’s pull. Here you’ll find songs that recognise that love can turn to a far stronger hate; songs that celebrate independence and fight against expectations (particularly for women) to get partnered-up; surreal takes on the enigma of love; and menacing inversions of tenderness.
This Valentine’s Day, shoot cupid’s poison arrow back at him with this countdown of the best anti-Valentine’s Day songs.
Anti-Valentine’s Day Songs: 20 Tracks For Falling Out Of Love
20: Betty Davis: Anti Love Song (1973)
Betty Davis, the queen of psychedelic funk, celebrated strident and difficult women. On her self-penned 1973 debut album, she roared with confident sexuality on songs such as If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up and Game Is My Middle Name. Anti Love Song, from that same album, has Davis adamant in avoiding the oppressive dynamics of love. “I know you like to be in charge,” she growls, “and with me, you know you couldn’t control me, don’t you?”