A bad relationship, your worse instincts, some aspect of fate’s inequality: songwriting often flourishes, when a little (or a lot) of darkness seeps in. There’s a reason so many pop hits are breakup songs, and nearly every K-pop boy group has a “bad boy” phase. Darkness is intriguing, not to mention relatable…and for some people in certain instances, it’s downright alluring.

The songs on this playlist flirt with the magnetism of our darkest emotions and most self-destructive tendencies. Musically, many of these tracks include elements that could be described as pretty, seductive, exciting, and even cheerful. These moods contrast with melancholy, bitter, or menacing lyrics, but there is also cohesion between the two sides. The Rose’s “Sour” isn’t musically uplifting in spite of being a mournful ode to lost romantic chances, but partially because of that exact subject matter. As SHINee put it, “I’m in sweet misery.” These tracks don’t just address darker ideas, they luxuriate in them, almost triumphantly highlighting how life’s most yearning, disheartening moments can also be the times we feel most alive.

(Lyrics via SM Entertaiment.)