Caroline Richards ’22
The traditional hero is boring. Saving the world. Doing the right thing. Making sacrifices willy-nilly. In my opinion this is wholly unrealistic. Our culture’s fascination with heroes and chosen-one tropes is based on our desire to simplify life into black and white terms. We want our heroes to be inherently good and incapable of evil, and we want our villians to be inherently evil and incapable of good. Which is nonsense, no one is inherently good and no one is inherently evil. No one exists in a vaccum. That’s why tragic villains are always the best characters. They’re the most authentic. They have context for the character’s actions. They’ve been driven to this point by some unseen force they’re grappling with. Therefore: I am a firm believer that every “hero” (in this case you) needs a villain era. Because then when they overcome it their actions are authentic; you know they’ve chosen this direction towards goodness even after knowing they are capable of evil. So! Embrace your inner villain (for the character arc) if not to emerge into true goodness afterwards then at least because the villain music mood is so f*cking good.
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin (I recommend the 1990 Remaster)
Abruptly abandon your lover in the summertime to pursue your own freedom and self-interests which are torturing you from a the past? Villain. Era.
“On That Time” by Playboi Carti
This whole album is villainous. And angry. At one point in this song he goes: “B*tch, I’m a king, but I’m tryna put on my crown”. Tortured villain. Bad*ss.
“Hollywood” by Car Seat Headrest
Anyone who listens to Car Seat Headrest is their own villain. You tell me what that means.
“Just” by Radiohead
From their album the bends. The first 17 seconds of this song will single-handedly set off your villain era. The lyrics deal with some deep sh*t. Philosophical villain.
“Nice Guys Finish Last” by Green Day
For when you’ve just been ghosted (again). Time to embrace the villain era. Green Day knew it, now so do you. I’ll pray for whoever’s next in your line…
“50k Remix” by Waka Flocka Flame
Honestly I just love this song and I listen to it whenever I’ve been wronged. Makes me feel heartless and reckless for all of three minutes.
“Hash Pipe” by Weezer
Weezer on the villain list? Yes. Rivers Cuomo wrote this song off a bunch of Ritalin and tequila shots. It is cutthroat. Talk about being kicked when you’re down.
“Cold Hard Bitch” by Jet
Weaponizing romantic attraction and doing it so well. This’ll have you becoming a heartless wench in no time. Ruin someone’s life today why don’t you.
“Scope Set” by $uicideboy$
Contemporary rage rap. Abrasive. Harsh. Damaged villain?
“Before You Forget” by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
As you may know, I love BJM. Consequently, I love this song. Anton Newcomb may be the most prolific tragic villain to ever do it.
“Yonkers” by Tyler, The Creator
Goblin is Tyler’s best album and you cannot change my mind. It’s unrestrained in a way his later albums aren’t. This has unlocked countless anger miles on the treadmill.
“Feel No Guilt” (feat. Demastas) by Nine
90s rap was deep in a way rap might never be again. This is an incredible song.
“R.I.C.O.” (feat. Drake) by Meek Mill
I tried to keep Drake off the list but alas. Meek Mill cancels him out? And this song had to be on the villain train. For obvious reasons.
“No Church In The Wild” by JAY-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, The-Dream
What a collab. This is an objectively perfect song. They get into deep sh*t in this song. Exudes a dark, anxious, borderline delirious madness.
“Valentine” by DIIV
DIIV is like alien villain music. Ghostly. Eerie. Bound to unlock some demons you didn’t even know you had.
“Territorial Pissings” by Nirvana
Couldn’t leave Nirvana off the list. “Never met a wise man, if so it’s a woman”. Kurt Cobain really said that. In this song. Men, does that make you mad?
“Spiderhead” by Cage The Elephant
“Spiders in my head, spiders in my mind, you may take my eyes but baby I’m not blind.” MELOPHOBIA was foundational.
“Fuck With Myself” by BANKS
Ladies, thank me later.
“Trust Nobody” by Hippie Sabotage
For a duo who got famous for their remix of “Habits” by Tove Lo… this is a pretty harrowing song. Who wronged them?