Misogyny in Music: One Good Reason Will Do, Asshole

Today’s star of Misogyny in Music is Thirsty Merc, with a song that plagued Australia’s airwaves several years ago. I’m pleased to say I haven’t heard it since, but as it bears the dubious honour of being the only song that drives me to ranting every time I do hear it, let’s record that rant right here.

The song is 20 Good Reasons. Even if it didn’t belong in the Misogyny in Music series, it would still belong in the Jet’s Picks for Most Annoying Songs list for it sheer whininess.

20 Good Reasons is that staple of music, a breakup song. I will spare you the somewhat tortured attempts to rhyme in the verses, because they’re your usual inoffensive breakup fare. (They said love hurts / I wrote that book / I climbed that wall [what?] / I had one look [ouch.]). Etc.

The chorus, however. The chorus is all about our singer’s serious entitlement issues, and it drives me up the bloody wall.

He whines thus:
So tell me why-y-y-y
Should I let you go
Give me 20 good reasons
I need to know

Give me 20 good reasons
Give me 20 good reasons
Give me 20 good reasons
To let you go

And I always yell back at the radio that he needs one good reason, asshole, and that is that she* doesn’t want to see you any more. The end, no further discussion.

Let’s be clear. Mr Singer is not asking his ex lover to help him understand what went wrong with their relationship. He is not saying goodbye. He is not even expressing anger at the unexpected end of a relationship. He is demanding that his ex lover explain herself to him, so that he can decide if her reasons – all 20 of them – are in fact “good” enough, and he can then decide if he will deign to “let her go”. Because she is, you know, his to let go or otherwise.

At the end of the second verse, the lyric runs, “And I lost everything / When I lost you“. This is put up as justification for why (y-y-y) he gets to decide if he’s going to “let” her go. Guys like this, they’re the guilt tripping controlling ones. The vibe on this song is start-to-finish creepy. You don’t get to break up with this guy, you get to submit your 20 – no less – essay questions on why he ought to let you go. You’re a captive and all. He’ll decide.

Love songs. Breakup songs. Listen to where the agency is in the lyrics, and how prevalent that sentiment is the world. Normalised.

Thirsty Merc, I Am Not Cake says you can get stuffed with your reasons, and furthermore, that sentiments like this in a relationship ought to get you slapped with a restraining order.


* I’m assuming that this is a song about a heterosexual relationship, as I’ve not seen anything to suggest otherwise. I’m open to correction if you know different.


Other posts in the Misogyny in Music  series: one


2 responses to “Misogyny in Music: One Good Reason Will Do, Asshole

  1. Ahh, beautiful. I love the smell of entitlement in the evening!
    I have the same reaction to Scouting For Girls’ song, I’m Not Over You – it was mostly, as the title suggests, fairly honest, but then part of the chorus was “she said it was over/ But I’m not so sure” and every. single. time I hear it I end up shouting “what do you mean, you’re not sure?! She bloody left you, you pillock!”

  2. there are women who have the same feelings toward men and want to hang on, so I’m not sure this deserves an exclusive one way ticket on the misogyny express. It’s definitely an unhealthy view and a lack of acceptance that someone said it’s over so let it the fuck go.

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