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Not in Love? Learn English with Anti-Valentine's Day Songs!

Not in Love? Learn English with Anti-Valentine's Day Songs!

Unlike Christmas songs, there is not much popular music about Valentine's Day. However, while Christmas songs are usually only heard in the fall and winter seasons, songs about love and romance are popular all year long.

But not everyone enjoys Valentine's Day. For a variety of reasons, some people dislike the hearts, roses and romance associated with the 14th of February.

In fact, many musicians have made songs that are all about the negative sides of love that we often don’t see on Valentine's Day. Some of these anti-love songs have even become major hits around the world!

Let’s take a closer look at the lyrics to these songs to see ways to express heartbreak or other feelings about the darker side of romance.

Anti-Valentine’s Day songs

A broken heart hanging from a piece of string on Valentine's Day

“Caught Out There” - Kelis 

Have you ever been so angry with someone that you just wanted to scream? Kelis has!

This song, released in 1999, is about a woman who has caught her partner cheating with someone else. 

Although she sounds calm during the verses, during the famous chorus, she simply yells to let out her anger.

Last year, Valentine’s Day

You would spoil me and say

“Babe, I love you, love you”

(Yo, he’s lying)

“Babe, I swear”

“Spoiling” a person means giving gifts or doing nice things for them until it is too much! Although its original meaning is negative, it’s usually positive when talking about close relationships.

His grandparents always spoil him with birthday gifts every year.

“Tainted Love” - Soft Cell

"Tainted Love" was originally a soul song by Gloria Jones released in 1964. In 1981, the UK group Soft Cell released their version, which became one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s.

Here, the singer has decided to end a relationship that is unhealthy.

The love we share

Seems to go nowhere

And I’ve lost my light

For I toss and turn

I can’t sleep at night


I love you though you hurt me so

Now I’m gonna pack my things and go

When it was released, the term “toxic relationship” was not as common as it is today, but this song is a great example of one. “Toxic” means “harmful or dangerous” and is often related to poison and deadly materials.

The chemicals in this product are toxic. Keep them away from small children.

In everyday conversations, however, it is often used to describe relationships, personalities and even environments that are abusive or mentally unhealthy. 

Many workers left the company because of its toxic work environment.
I don't play that video game because it has a really toxic community of fans.

“Tainted” - Slum Village featuring Dwele

Slum Village is an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan, and they released this song in 2002.

Like "Tainted Love," parts of this song are about a bad relationship. To "taint" something is to make it dirty or to add something that reduces its quality or strength.

The scandal tainted the company's reputation.

Here, the rapper is telling a woman that the relationship she is in does not seem healthy, and perhaps she would be happier with someone else.

Yeah, your man is doin’ things I can’t really see

Don’t sound too good

It sounds tainted to me

“Don’t Speak” - No Doubt

No Doubt is a band from Anaheim, California, whose music includes pop, punk and reggae styles. 

“Don’t Speak" was released in 1995 and is about a romantic relationship that is ending. Even though the singer understands the situation, it is painful to accept. Instead of saying it directly, she would prefer her partner not to say anything at all. 

It looks as though you’re letting go

And if it’s real, well, I don’t want to know

“Trying” - Nuspirit Helsinki 

Nuspirit Helsinki is a group from Finland that makes music incorporating jazz, house and soul. 

In "Trying," released in 2002, a woman ends a relationship with a partner who has been lying to her. She does not sound angry or depressed. Instead, she sounds confident and ready to move on with her life.

Now you want me to forgive

Start over, then we can begin to live

No way I can trust you now

Find a way, get over me somehow

"Get over" is a phrasal verb with several meanings. When talking about romantic relationships, getting over someone means being able to leave your feelings for them in the past. In other words, you can move into a new relationship — or choose to stay single — with a happy and healthy mind.

It took a long time for me to get over my ex-girlfriend, but I'm OK now.

Later in the song, we hear this line:

Why you try to get over on me

This time, the same phrasal verb plus "on" means "to trick or deceive" someone.

Many thieves try to get over on tourists who don't know the city well.

“Hey Ya!” - OutKast

“Hey Ya!” was a huge hit when it was released in 2003. It has a fast tempo and a bright, fun feeling (and music video). 

However, many people don’t realize that the song is about the failures of love and the problems relationships create. Do couples stay together because they are in love or simply because of tradition?

We get together

Oh, we get together

But separate’s always better when there’s feelings involved


So why oh, why oh, why oh, why oh, why oh

Are we so in denial

When we know we’re not happy here?

“Bad Blood” - Taylor Swift

When you have "bad blood" with someone, it means something bad happened in the past between you and them.

In this case, the singer is in pain because of something hurtful that her partner did to her.

Did you think we’d be fine?

Still got scars on my back from your knife

So don’t think it’s the past

These kinda wounds, they last and they last

The second line above comes from the expression "stab someone in the back," which means to be unfaithful or to lie to someone who trusts you.

Our colleague stabbed everyone in the back when he shared our company's secrets on social media.

“Secrets” - The Weeknd

As we've seen above, cheating is a big cause of many relationship problems. In "Secrets" by The Weeknd, the singer confronts his girlfriend about her unfaithfulness. Just like Taylor Swift in "Bad Blood," we can say that he also has been stabbed in the back.

You tell me not to worry ‘bout 

Those guys, those guys

You told me that you left it all

Behind, behind

It’s a lie, a lie

I catch you every time

Notice how both here and in Kelis' song, "catch" is used when someone is discovered doing something bad.

“Breaking Up” - Charli XCX

Sometimes a relationship ending is a reason for celebration, not sadness!

In "Breaking Up," released in 2014, the singer lists the reasons why she's happy to leave her boyfriend.

Everything was wrong with you

So breaking up was easy to do

Hated your friends and your family too

So breaking up was easy to do

“Can’t Stand Your Mother” - Lucy Pearl

As mentioned in the previous song, sometimes relationship issues come from a person's family. In this next song, released in 2000, the biggest problems a couple seems to have are their mothers!

When you "can't stand" something (or someone!), you can no longer accept or tolerate it. 

I didn’t really wanna go there

But your momma’s all in my hair

In the closets, in the bedrooms

Saying things that I can’t bear

Being "in someone's hair" means being too involved or interested in their life. It's definitely annoying, and in this case, it's bad enough to end the relationship!

“I’m Not in Love” - 10cc

Here is another song that is considered a classic. "I'm Not in Love" was released by British rock band 10cc in 1975. 

While the other songs we've mentioned are about bad relationships and the downsides of romance, the singer of this song keeps insisting that he is not in love at all.

But is that really true?

I like to see you

But then again

That doesn’t mean you mean that much to me

So if I call you

Don’t make a fuss

Don’t tell your friends about the two of us

If he's not in love, why does he keep saying so? Is he talking to someone else or to himself?

"Making a fuss" means treating something like it is important and special. When you make a fuss, you tell others about it instead of keeping it to yourself.

I celebrated my birthday at home with a few friends; I didn't want to make a fuss about it.


Over the years, Valentine's Day has grown from a day just for couples to a day that can be celebrated in a variety of ways.  

So even if you aren't in a relationship, don't let that stop you from enjoying the day however you like. And if you need a break from romance, listen to these songs to hear musicians who feel the same way!