When it comes to pop star, revenge is often a dish best served … with a beat. Justin Bieber recently told a gathering of British journalists that he’s written a song for his upcoming Believe album about Mariah Yeater, the woman who claimed that she was carrying the teen star’s baby.
We haven’t heard any of the lyrics yet, but if Bieber’s tune is anything like classic retribution tracks by the likes of Pink, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Michael Jackson, the other Mariah probably isn’t going to be excited about the shout-out.
Some other great vengeance songs:
In the wake of her assault by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, Rihanna has jumped on-and-off the revenge wagon over the past few years, always keeping things vague, but biting. In her song, “Man Down” , and the accompanying video, a vengeful Rihanna shoots down her assailant after he sexually assaults her, singing, “What started out as a simple altercation/ Turned into a real sticky situation.”
Carrie Underwood had payback on her mind too in her breakout hit, “Before He Cheats,” in which she hits out at an unidentified philanderer by singing, “I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive/ Carved my name into his leather seats. I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights/ Slashed a hole in all four tires.” Pink was not so delicate in her hit “So What,” in which she snarled, “And I don’t need you/ And guess what/ I’m having more fun/ And now that we’re done/ I’m gonna show you tonight.” That, of course, was written before she reunited with her target, ex- and now-current husband Carey Hart.
Speaking of exes, Kid Rock was much less delicate in “Half Your Age,” which is a clear slag of ex-wife pin-up Pamela Anderson, in which he informs the former “Baywatch” babe that, “I found someone new who treats me better/ She don’t bitch about things we ain’t got/ When I sing this tune it don’t upset her/ She’s half your age and twice as hot.”
Justin Timberlake wasn’t as explicit, but he definitely left little doubt that he was busted up over his split with Britney Spears when he wrote the scathing, “Cry Me a River,” which features the classic lines, “Your bridges were burned, and now it’s your turn/ To cry me a river.” Though you never really see her out on a date with anyone, Kelly Clarkson has more romantic drama than most pop stars, which she’s chronicled in a series of scathing tunes, including “Low,” “Never Again” and “Wash, Rinse, Repeat,” which breaks new ground by not going after a lover, but a songwriter who did her wrong .
The ladies don’t have a lockdown on songs seeking payback, but two of the all-time greats are Carly Simon’s biting “You’re So Vain,” which has kept listeners guessing for decades about the subject of the line, “You’re so vain/ I bet you think this song is about you.” The other is Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” which strikes out bitterly at an ex (allegedly “Full House” actor Dave Coulier) with the lines, “I’m here to remind you/ Of the mess you left when you went away/ It’s not fair to deny me/ Of the cross I bear that you gave to me.” Taylor Swift has also made a career out of (almost) naming names, writing derisive songs about her former loves and then sometimes letting it slip in interviews who she was aiming at.
And then there’s Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” a sparkling pop tune so catchy it almost makes you forget that he’s dissing the groupies who’d hounded him for years during his time in the Jackson 5. Though he later said there wasn’t a real Billie Jean, the song’s refrain is a model for getting the last word with the lines, “Billie Jean is not my lover/ She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one/ But the kid is not my son.”
What’s your favorite pop revenge song? Let us know in comments below.