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20 Songs About Cheating For Your Anti-Valentine’s Playlist

inglewood, california august 03 editorial use only no book covers taylor swift performs onstage during taylor swift  the eras tour at sofi stadium on august 03, 2023 in inglewood, california photo by emma mcintyretas23getty images for tas rights management
20 Best Songs About Cheating Emma McIntyre/TAS23

Valentine’s Day is nearing, but for the ever-betrayed among us, the hearts are black and Cupid has been found dead in a ditch. Cheating is the coward's way out of a relationship and infidelity yields a slap on the nasty little wrist, but the silver lining of such malignancy is some damn good music. We’re not saying we want our songwriters to be cheated on, we’re just saying a little betrayal can add a lot to the soundtrack of the public square.

Whether you’re the betrayed or the betrayer, you are welcome here. No matter which camp you fall into, we’ve rounded up 20 of the best cheater anthems to either serve as remedy or penance. Proceed to recover in harmony, or think about what you’ve done.

“Billie Bossa Nova,” by Billie Eilish

A sultry, stormy soundtrack to the early thrill of the cheat—that’s what Billie gave us with “Billie Bossa Nova.” Just remember, the rush won’t last, and we’ve got 19 more songs to prove it. The strongest lyric? “Love when it makes you lose your bearings / Some information's not for sharing / Use different names at hotel check-ins / It's hard to stop it once it starts.”

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“You Know I’m No Good,” by Amy Winehouse

And just like that, here’s the guilt. Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” is one of her best songs, which we acknowledge is no light moniker. The strongest lyric? “Then you notice little carpet burn / My stomach drop and my guts churn / You shrug and it's the worst / Who truly stuck the knife in first.”

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“Illicit Affairs,” by Taylor Swift

A great Taylor song, made all the better by that Eras Tour performance—“don’t call me kid” hive rise up—“Illicit Affairs” comes from the artist’s 2020 album Folklore and follows the path of, you guessed it, illicit lovers. The song is also a reminder that being “the other” is not without its pains. The strongest lyric? “Don't call me "kid" / Don't call me "baby" / Look at this idiotic fool that you made me / You taught me a secret language / I can't speak with anyone else.”

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“Gunpowder and Lead,” by Miranda Lambert

Does this firearm ballad hold up to modern day scrutiny? Not so much, but we simply could not exclude it. It’s not exactly about cheating, but it feeds the same rage. In the song, Lambert sings about exacting a violent revenge on an abusive ex-boyfriend. While we don’t condone violent threats against cheaters, we do approve of the therapeutic effects of blasting this song. The strongest lyric? “I'm going home, gonna load my shotgun / Wait by the door and light a cigarette / If he wants a fight, well, now he's got one / And he ain't seen me crazy yet.”

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“Muddy Feet,” by Miley Cyrus ft. Sia

The angriest tune from Miley Cyrus’ latest album Endless Summer Vacation is “Muddy Feet.” The strongest lyric? “And you smell like perfume that I didn't purchase / Now I know why you've been closing the curtains (Uh-uh) / Get the fuck out of my house.”

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“Unfaithful,” by Rihanna

We’re certain some graduate student has penned a dissertation on the value of this early Rihanna track, and the corresponding music video which stands as a landmark media moment in all of our childhoods—we figure. The strongest lyric? “I don't wanna do this anymore / I don't wanna be the reason why / Every time I walk out the door / I see him die a little more inside.”

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“Fuck You,” by CeeLo Green

It’s been 14 years since we first heard this song, and we’re still streaming it. The strongest lyric? “Yeah, I'm sorry / I can't afford a Ferrari / But that don't mean I can't get you there / I guess he's an Xbox and I'm more Atari / But the way you play your game ain't fair.”

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“Fade Into You,” by Mazzy Star

You’ll recognize this song from every movie or television show you’ve ever seen. It is, after all, one of the single most overused tunes in the modern discography, but we must admit, it’s really good. The strongest lyric? “You live your life, you go in shadows / You'll come apart, and you'll go black / Some kind of night into your darkness / Colors your eyes with what's not there.”

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“Lips of an Angel,” by Hinder

This cheating anthem can be categorized under “Divorced Dad Rock,” and it’s damn good. The strongest lyric? “It's really good to hear your voice saying my name / It sounds so sweet / Coming from the lips of an angel / Hearing those words, it makes me weak / And I never wanna say goodbye / But, girl, you make it hard to be faithful / With the lips of an angel.”

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“Before He Cheats,” by Carrie Underwood

Is there a more famous cheating-adjacent song in music history? We think not. It’s been almost 20 years since this song was released, but we’ll bet that you’ll hear it at least once this week. Be that in a Home Depot or at a karaoke bar. The strongest lyric? “Right now, he's probably buyin' her some fruity little drink / 'Cause she can't shoot whiskey / Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool stick / Showin' her how to shoot a combo.”

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“Confessions, Pt. II,” by Usher

This song is too good for us to stay angry at Usher, and he’s got the Vegas residency to prove it. The strongest lyric? “These are my confessions / Just when I thought I said all I can say / My chick on the side said she got one on the way.”

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“PSYCHO,” by Anne-Marie ft. Aitch

Prepare for this tune to be lodged so deeply into your brain that it never escapes—English accent and all. British artists Anne-Marie and Aitch collaborated on this song which slams the cheaters who hide their guilt under words like “crazy” and “psycho.” May you never know a moment of peace. The strongest lyric? “Oh no, and the girl you said who ain't your type / Is sendin' messages, messages, they never end / That's a whole lotta messages for just a friend.”

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“Supermodel,” by SZA

This track from SZA’s album CTRL explores the insecurity that can set in after being cheated on, or after being in a bad relationship—period. The strongest lyric? “Leave me lonely for prettier women / You know I need too much attention for shit like that / You know you wrong for shit like that / I could be your supermodel if you believe / If you see it.”

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“Tights on My Boat,” by The Chicks

The Chicks’ 2020 album Gaslighter gave us a handful of great tracks, but “Tights on My Boat” is by far the most satisfying. This is the song you sing when the initial pain of infidelity has passed, and you’re ready to move on. The strongest lyric? “And you can tell the girl who left her tights on my boat / That she can have you now.”

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“Don’t Hurt Yourself,” by Beyoncé

Choosing a favorite cheating anthem from Lemonade is truly an impossible task. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” is our choice, but is closely rivaled by “Hold Up,” “Pray You Catch Me,” “6 Inch,” “Sorry,” and literally the rest of the album. The strongest lyric? “Who the fuck do you think I am? / You ain't married to no average bitch, boy / You can watch my fat ass twist, boy / As I bounce to the next dick, boy / And keep your money, I got my own.”

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“Liar,” by Noah Cyrus

This song hurts so good, and it might just be the key to healing for a few tortured souls. Sung from the perspective of the cheater, Noah Cyrus’ “Liar” is an emotional expression of regret, which is really what every cheatee is looking for. The strongest lyric? “You asked a question and I lied / I think about it all the time / I was wrong to think I'm right / Playing God with you and I / But the truth always comes out /In the silence, it rings loud / Where there's smoke, there's a fire / Now I know what you see / When you look at me / I will always be a liar.”

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“Traitor,” by Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo has too many heartbreak ballads to choose from, with the theme of infidelity being strung through such tracks as “Favorite Crime” and “Deja Vu,” but her most on-point betrayal anthem is “Traitor” from her first album SOUR. The strongest lyric? “Brown guilty eyes and little white lies / Yeah, I played dumb but I always knew / That you'd talk to her, maybe did even worse / I kept quiet so I could keep you.”

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“Lover, You Should’ve Come Over,” by Jeff Buckley

One of the most haunting songs from the angelic songwriter that was Jeff Buckley, “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” is basically a guilt-ridden retrospective on a failed relationship. The strongest lyric? “Sometimes a man gets carried away / When he feels like he should be having his fun / And much too blind to see the damage he's done / Sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one / So I'll wait for you, and I'll burn / Will I ever see your sweet return / Oh, will I ever learn?”

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“The Call,” by Backstreet Boys

Men are trash and five of them are Backstreet Boys! Kidding, of course. “The Call” was the boy band’s second single from their fourth album Black & Blue and was produced by pop king Max Martin (no wonder it's good). The strongest lyric? “"Listen, baby, I'm sorry / Just wanna tell ya don't worry / I will be late, don't stay up and wait for me" / "Say again? You're dropping out, my battery is low / Just so you know, we're going to a place nearby / Gotta go!".”

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“It’s Not Right But It’s Okay,” by Whitney Houston

One of Whitney’s best tracks, “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” comes from her 1998 album My Love Is Your Love. Also, please don’t get mad at us if we say that the Glee version of this song is really good. Just try it. The strongest lyric? “If six of y'all went out, ah / Then four of you were really cheap, yeah / 'Cause only two of you had dinner / I found your credit card receipt.”

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