FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.
Hell Is Not Just a Place to Burn In
Depending on your outlook, hell might be a literal place where lost souls forever fry like bacon or instead an unpleasant state of mind, like waiting at the DMV or working a bad job for low pay. But it's also a mild expletive that is flexible and widely used, both in everyday conversation and popular music.
That's right. Hell is not just a place to burn in. Folks throw the word around for emphasis as if it were glitter ("one helluva," "hella") or utter it as an interjection ("Oh, hell!"). They use it to convey varying degrees of emotion, including:
- frustration or annoyance ("what the hell")
- surprise ("bloody hell")
- anger ("all hell broke loose," "hell's bells")
- uncertainty ("the hell if I know"), and
- disagreement ("like hell").
Additionally, it's a useful term for communicating encouragement ("give 'em hell"), irony ("it'll be a cold day in hell,") and threats ("there'll be hell to pay"). Use it to help paint the picture of miserable conditions ("hell on earth," "hellish," "a hellhole") or describe temperature ("hot as hell") or distance ("through hell and half of Georgia," "all over hell's half acre"). There are so many potential contexts! Like the duct tape of bad language, this is a word that fits nearly anywhere—except polite conversation.
When necessary, use it to tell someone where to go or perhaps where you've been ("to hell and back"). Describe the trip ("to hell in a handbasket," "straight to hell") and maybe even tell them you'll see them there. Employ the foul, flexible expression to offer instructions on a person's vocal volume ("shut the hell up"). Alternatively, invite them to party if that's more your style ("let's raise hell"). Like duct tape, applications of the word may not be classy but they can work across a variety of situations. You'll probably want to keep it handy, but that's none of my business.
While you're thinking of other uses of the term, make yourself a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs with hell in the title.
1. "Good as Hell" by Lizzo
We all need a friend like the one in this 2016 hip-hop crossover song. In Lizzo's self-love anthem, the narrator confidently supports her friend who is recovering from being dissed and done wrong by a boyfriend. Lizzo models how the attitude is pulled off:
I do my hair toss
Check my nails
Baby how you feelin'?
Feeling good as hell.
The singer has set aside a bottle of tequila and encourages her friend to dry her eyes, dust herself off, and focus on putting herself first by leaving her no-good partner. The song was a sleeper hit, becoming a worldwide hit three years after Lizzo performing it at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, wowing the audience.
2. "In Hell I'll Be Good Company" by The Dead South
This deliciously dark murder ballad 2014 is offered up by a Canadian bluegrass and folk band that is sometimes referred to as “Mumford and Sons’ evil twins.” The whistling and finger snapping invoke an eerie vibe as the song narrator relates his evil account. The abusive husband catches his wife cheating, and she stabs him with a knife. In response, the man shoots her three times then expresses eagerness regarding spending eternity with her in hell.
3. "Give Heaven Some Hell" by Hardy
The guy in this emotionally stirring 2020 country song says goodbye to a recently deceased friend on the day of the friend's funeral. He describes the packed church of family and friends who have gathered to say farewell. Recalling his buddy's religious commitment and the good times they share, the narrator wishes him well in the everafter until they can see one another again.
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4. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC
Constant touring and life on the road felt like pure punishment for Australian band AC/DC, as recounted in this classic hard rock song from 1979. Indeed, guitarist Angus Young used to refer to touring America as being on the "highway to hell." Rolling Stone magazine recognized this enduring single by naming the tune to its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time," and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included "Highway to Hell" in its list of "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll."
5. "Hell on Heels" by Pistol Annies
In this sassy 2011 country ditty, the narrators are gorgeous gals in heels who relish taking full advantage of the men in their path. They use their sex appeal to break men's hearts then walk away from the relationships with expensive trophies like cars, jewelry, and real estate. Hey, whatever it takes.
Having made a deal with the devil, these irresistible ladies are comfortable with their lifestyle. They shout out a caution to the guys who are looking their way, "I'm hell on heels, sugar daddy, I'm comin' for you." Don't say you weren't warned.
6. "Hell No" by Ingrid Michaelson
This is a fun one! When the narrator in this 2016 pop tune spots another girl wearing her boyfriend's sweater, she doesn't attempt to lie to herself by pretending he isn't cheating. Instead, she breaks up with the unfaithful guy and gives him the what-for.
In the aftermath of the breakup, her girlfriends hit her up with some questions. Will the snarky gal be lonely as a single woman? Will she miss that jerk of a cheating boyfriend or, like, ever take him back? Leaving no room for guesswork, she emphatically answers, "Hell no."
7. "Gives You Hell" by The All-American Rejects
Poetic justice is making this guy sing. There's a part in all of us that can identify with him. In this 2008 alt-rock song, a man who was poorly treated by a woman in a previous relationship gets the last laugh.
His ex-lover rejected him because she didn't believe that he could provide a financially secure future. A white picket fence and shiny new car were important to her. Whereas she never found the happiness she was looking for, the narrator is now successful, and he takes this chance to rub it in her face. He wants his ex to ruminate over what she could have had with him.
8. "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" by Rodney Atkins
This 2006 country tune provides helpful advice on facing difficult times, and it's based on two sayings. The first is a famous quote by Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: "If you're going through hell, keep going." The second is an Irish blessing: "May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."
In the hit song, the narrator offers helpful direction to anyone enduring difficult circumstances. Particularly when faced with a downward spiraling situation or a series of neverending problems, resist the urge to give up or show that you're scared. You may naturally feel vulnerable and want to quit, but redouble your efforts and keep on going! There are everyday angels to help you in your struggle, and eventually you'll triumph.
9. "Hell or High Water" by Passenger
When a love relationship ends, people often engage in their own private, retrospective sensemaking as they analyze what went wrong. That's where the guy in this 2018 indie folk rock song is emotionally—grieving the loss of a love affair that didn't work out. For all of his life he searched for a loving partner. When he finally thought he found his better half, he lost them. The narrator still wonders why and whether this is truly the end or just a temporary turn.
Passenger is the stage name for English singer-songwriter Michael Rosenberg who had a #1 hit in 2012 with "Let Her Go." Thus far, however, he has not been able to repeat his US Billboard Top 40 chart success, thereby making him a one-hit-wonder.
10. "Hotter Than Hell" by Dua Lipa
The vixen in this 2018 electropop tune teases and taunts a former boyfriend with steamy memories of their toxic affair. The devilish woman is both alluring and dangerous ("You probably still adore me / With my hands around your neck"). Whoa!
The song was inspired by an unhealthy romance that the singer endured which left her suffering with low self-esteem. Dua Lipa didn't want to write a song from the perspective of weakness. As a result, she decided to flip her own situation so that the song's narrator is the manipulative partner who uses her sexuality to control her lover.
11. "The Hell Song" by Sum 41
Canadian pop punk band Sum 41 wrote and released this 2003 single after discovering that a friend of the band had contracted HIV from a cheating boyfriend. The band help to pay for their friend's meducal expenses.
The song narrator expresses shock and denial, although he never references the specific nature of the bad news. He is grateful for what he has in his own life because he has seen how circumstances can change quickly:
I feel I've come to realize
How fast life can be compromised
Step back to see what's going on
I can't believe this happened to you
This happened to you.
12. "Looks Like Hell" by A Day to Remember
As people grow and change they acquire new friends while others fall away and are left behind in the past. This 2021 single is a pop-punk-metalcore amalgamation that speaks to the growing distance between the narrator and a friend. The companions used to be very close. The have been been through a lot together, hit low points, and are now headed in two different directions. This leaves the narrator feeling disconnected and riddled with angst.
13. "Hell and High Water" by Major Lazer (Featuring Alessia Cara)
Bring on the hell and high water because this woman can make it through anything life throws her way. She has proven her bravery and perseverance already, as the world has tried to chew her up and she's still flourishing. It's called paying your dues. The gal in this 2021 electro dancepop number is glad to be still breathing after having both triumphed and hit some valleys in life.
14. "Hell Wit Ya" by Pink
You'd think that the guy at the center of this 2000 rock song would have the decency to wait a little while after breaking up with the narrator before dating again. But oh, no.
This tune's narrator is a woman who sees her ex-boyfriend out on a date with a new gal, and to her surprise, he's behaving like the perfect gentleman. Where did he learn to be this affectionate and even open doors? Frustrated that the she didn't get the same treatment, the narrator tells him "hell wit ya."
15. "All the Good Girls Go to Hell Song" by Billie Eilish
As the hills of California burn, flood waters rise, and millions of animals find themselves in crisis, everyone knows who is ultimately to blame. This dark alt rock song from 2019 tells the twisted tale of the havoc that humans have wrought on the planet due to our lack of empathy and compassion.
Conveyed from the perspective of God and the Devil, this message about global warming and climate change is a rebuke of humans for destroying the planet. As a result of not prioritizing the environment, none of us will be worth saving.
16. "Hell No, I Ain't Happy" by Drive-By Truckers
Life on the road touring with a band sure ain't easy. In fact, it can feel like hell at times.
The narrator laments in this 2003 Southern rock number that he and his fellow bandmates are crammed in a tour bus as they bump around city to city. With the constant traveling, it doesn't feel like he has a home, and he misses his family whom he seldom gets to see. Although he's not exactly happy, he's not feeling awful either. Thankfully, his situation is getting better every day.
17. "Take You to Hell" by Ava Max
People will reveal who they really are if you just listen to them. The woman in this seductive 2020 pop track cautions her would-be lover that she can be either an attentive angel or a vicious, vengeful diva who will make him wish they had never met. The part she plays—naughty or nice—depends on how he treats her.
18. "Hell" by Foo Fighters
When things aren't going well in life, it's often satisfying to commiserate with others who are plagued by similar problems. Because misery loves company, the guy in this 2005 hard rock ditty is eager to share his unhappiness. He teases that he is "dying to meet you here" and that he will "see you in hell." This dude is not great friend material if you ask me.
19. "Hell of a View" by Eric Church
On one hand there's safe 9-to-5 living and on the other then there's the reckless life of living on the edge. The man in this 2021 country song celebrates a lifestyle of chasing his dreams out on the road with his guitar. He and his hometown honey left their comfort zone and took risks. While not everything has been easy, it's been an amazing adventure.
20. "Hell Froze Over" by Kodaline
This 2018 alt rock ditty speaks to the conflicted feelings that often accompany the end of a love affair. Although the man in the song accepts that the romance needed to end, he also looks back with regret. He feels bitter and wants to be free. At the same time, he knows that many years from now he'll likely look back and recall only good memories. Mulling over the what-ifs, he considers whether it's too late:
Maybe if hell froze over
We could be in love again.
Even More Songs with Hell in the Title
21. Hells Bells
22. Bat Out of Hell
23. Heaven and Hell
24. Hell Right
Blake Shelton (Featuring Trace Adkins)
25. Hell Yeah
26. Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound
Hank Williams Jr.
27. Run Like Hell
28. Hell and High Water
T. Graham Brown
29. Cowboys from Hell
30. Hell Is for Children
31. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
32. What the Hell
33. All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose
34, Hell on the Heart
35. Hell on an Angel
36. Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
37. Hell or High Water
38. Hotter Than Hell
39. Heaven or Hell
40. Hell Just Froze Over
41. Hell on Wheels
42. Hell Yes
43. Hellbent on Saving Me
44. Hell on Wheels
45. Hell No
46. Hell, I Can Do That!
47. Hell and Back
48. Hell of a Year
49. Hell of a Night
50. Hell Raisin' Heat Of The Summer
Florida Georgia Line
Tegan and Sara
52. Hell Yeah Damn Right (Ole Miss Tribute)
53. Helluva Life
54. Hell Is Chrome
55. You Gotta Go Through Hell to Get to Heaven
56. Hell Yeah
57. One Hell of an Amen
58. Raising Hell
Kesha (Featuring Big Freedia)
59. Good Day in Hell
60. Burn in Hell
61. I'll Fight Hell to Hold You
62. Hell or Hallelujah
63. War Is Hell (On the Homefront, Too)
64. Hell to the Naw Naw
65. Give 'Em Hell, Kid
My Chemical Romance
66. To Hell & Back
67. Hell n Back
68. Hell Ain't Half Full
69. Hell If I Know
70. Hella Good
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