Screengrab from Hole "Doll Parts" music video.

8 Albums and Artists That Help Me Vent My Anger

Take everything. I dare you to.

Originally, I planned to publish this article the week after Roe v. Wade was overturned, after being slammed with a double whammy of getting my period AND losing my congressional rights to abort a hypothetical fetus. I’d spent the weekend prior yelling belligerently in my car, and it did help. But then the news just kept getting worse, and worse, and as the week went on, I found myself trying not to think about my anger, since it was always right there, bubbling at the surface, with nowhere to go.

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Thankfully, though, I still had my music to let it all out. Music is one of the most profound ways we can express our feelings and beliefs, and in recognizing this, I thought I’d share some of my favorite catharsis tunes with all of you. Perhaps they can help you vent, too.

Pretty much all of it is rock, because angry hip-hop doesn’t help me vent; it just makes me want to work out and hit things. But regardless of whether or not these artists strike a chord with you, I hope you’ll share your vent tunes in the comments. We can get a playlist going, for when the times inevitably get darker.

Hole – Live Through This

Hole’s Live Through This is an album that transcends age. It helped my mother, and now it’s helping me. Courtney Love has always been someone who speaks truth when nobody else wants to hear it, and the rage that she expresses in this album is some kinda magic. I’ve cried so much to this album, and I’ve also been inspired to get back up, with fists swinging, because of it.

There is nothing quite like listening to a woman saying all the things you wish you could say. To this day, I can’t listen to “Doll Parts” unless I’m fully prepared for it, because it will just wreck me otherwise. But any day in this dumbass country is a good day for “Violet.”

Bikini Kill

The riot grrrl movement left a lot to be desired in hindsight, but for a teen girl seeking some sort of community that felt the way I felt, they really provided a musical home for me. And at the head of the movement was Bikini Kill, kicking balls left and right.

Kathleen Hanna’s voice was an unmistakable thing, this strained, “don’t-fuck-with-me” kind of voice that belonged to only the toughest girls around. Even on a bad day, I could count on what she had to say in order to remind me that I have power, too.

Nirvana

I mean, yeah, duh. Might seem typical and cliche, but Nirvana became one of the most iconic punk bands for a reason (even if the PNW scene didn’t agree at the time).

In particular, “Negative Creep” was on repeat over that awful weekend for me. Kurt lets out this absolutely chilling scream, which frightened pretty much everyone in the room at the time of recording. The scream came from a place of physical pain, as he was dealing with Crohn’s disease, but it’s the sort of pain that I think a lot of people can viscerally feel and understand when he lets it be known.

Pearl Jam

Regarding the sausage-fest that was the PNW dude-rock crowd, I always had a softer spot for Pearl Jam, if only because I really like Eddie Vedder as a person. That said, just because he’s a sweet guy, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right set of pipes for situations like this.

“Do The Evolution,” in particular, knocks my socks off. It makes me feel like I’m losing my mind, even more so than I usually do with the country being the way it is. It helps that the music video kicks absolute ass (seen above).

Heavens to Betsy

Before Corin Tucker became a lead in Sleater-Kinney, she fronted Heavens to Betsy, which, in my opinion, had songs that were more raw and intense. Don’t get me wrong, Sleater-Kinney has some hard-hitters, but they don’t exactly make me feel the same way that songs like “Terrorist” and “Complicated” do. Whereas Sleater-Kinney makes me want to dance, Heavens to Betsy makes me feel like my skin is peeling off.

Corin is a really fascinating musician, with a truly unique voice that levels you, and a lyrical style that’s evocative and delightfully malicious. Nobody really does it like her.

Beck (Mellow Gold)

I unabashedly love Beck. He’s my favorite funky white guy in music and one my top ten favorite artists of all time. But “Mellow Gold” is probably (probably) my favorite album of his, since it carries all the feelings that burnt-out youths harbor deep down: the malaise, the frustration, the rawness of anything and everything.

“Loser” became my anthem for the GOP. Fucking losers.

Violent Femmes

Oh, we all know “Blister in the Sun,” but the whole album, while retroactively problematic, is an absolute killer when you’re in a mood. There’s nothing pretentious about the way the Violent Femmes sound; it’s all twang and slang. I can practically feel the steel strings on my fingers as they smack up and down the fretboard.

“Kiss Off” and “Add It Up” should be the anthems for every American who’s been jilted by the government. Wait a minute honey, gonna add it up … yep, you’re definitely in the red, guys. You owe us some goddamn money.

The Garden

So, to be perfectly honest, I can listen to The Garden in pretty much any mood, since they have that sort of pretty-boy SoCal malaise that fits most moods. But when I’m mad, and I just want to get a little weird with it, they really hit the spot.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with musicians who have middling opinions of them, saying that they only got to where they are because they’re conventionally attractive. And maybe there’s something to that. But as far as I’m concerned, they’re still anti-establishment and do the most when it comes to letting it all out, and that’s really what I need the most right now.

What are some of your favorites?

(featured image: screengrab)


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Author
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).