It’s been quite a long time since I’ve broken up with someone. I’ve been with The Daver for many years (five? six? I can’t remember anymore because it seems like forever. Um, yeah. I mean that IN A GOOD WAY, of course) and before that I was with Nat, whom I dumped (and therefore didn’t feel badly about). But I’ll never forget just how full of The Awesome it is to crank up a good break-up song, cry–or scream wickedly–along with the lyrics, and generally sit and wallow in self pity.
Okay, so it wasn’t full of The Awesome back then, but looking back on how mournfully I treated some of my break-ups that were really more of a blessing than a curse. I guess that it’s a maturity/hind-sight thing.
But here, here I have compiled a list of songs so awesome to listen to while breaking up–and mourning–that they make me a bit nostalgic for long gone (thankfully) days.
1) James Blunt- Goodbye My Lover. He’s best known for that other song You’re Beautiful, a song which I also adore, but I happen to love this song. It came out after I was married, so I obviously don’t associate it with any particular break-up, but it doesn’t matter. When he sings, “Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend, you have been The One, you have been The One for me,” I get some massive chills.
2) G’n’R’s November Rain. Now, I went back and forth here between this song and Use Your Illusion I and II’s Don’t Cry (also I and II) and I think I made the right call here. I mean, think of the video! Stephanie Seymour and a wedding and a death AT a wedding! What more can you ask for? Besides, it IS hard to hold a candle in the cold November Rain.
This song encompasses everything that a quintessential break-up song needs:
*Sung by a sensitive man who really cares about the chick he’s dumping
*He also really regrets the shit out of having to dump her in the first place
*But he’s “letting her go” to “be free” and when she’s ready, he’ll be waiting
*A sexy guitar rift
*An even hotter video
Internet, I know that you can love me, when there’s no one left to blame. Right? RIGHT??
Sorry, I’ll stop now.
3) Bob Dylan- Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine). Did you appreciate the segue from G’n’R to Bob Dylan? Because I totally did.
This song is from a different sort of genre of break-up songs: the ones in which someone is fucking pissed. Bob Dylan has a whole catalogue of these sorts of snarky and mean break-up songs, and it’s something I adore him for. But this has to be one of my favorites. I mean, you can’t mess with lyrics like this:
“You say you’re shakin’
And you’re always achin’,
But you know how hard you try.”
Because you totally know that person, whether or not you dated him or her, you know someone who behaves like this and you’re all “wow, that’s annoying. But shit, wouldn’t it be more annoying to DATE him/her?” And Bob Dylan DID date him/her and wrote a song about it so you could nod your head and say “Abso-fucking-lutely, I know who you’re talking about.”
Or maybe it’s just me.
4) Christina Aguilera- Walk Away/Fighter. These are actually two back to back songs on her Stripped album, but I’d be sure to guarantee that these are designed to listen to one after the other. Walk Away is the typical sad break-up song with lyrics like “Your love was like candy, artificially sweet, I was deceived by the wrapping” that remind me completely of all of the dudes I dated that weren’t exactly who they said they were. What can I say, I had bad taste in dudes.
Fighter is the song that happens after you stop marinading yourself in self-pity and loathing and are done crying over the dude that pulled the rug over your eyes. If you’re like me, anger is preferable to sitting around and moping especially about a dude, so Fighter is honestly up there in my list of Best Songs Ever. This song is an angry person’s anthem, but it’s not specifically something you have to listen to when you’ve broken up with someone, just when you’re fucking pissed because you have totally been wronged.
5) Rolling Stones- Angie. The Stones have always held a really special place in my heart, especially after my friend Stef died last January as The Stones were her favorite band. I cannot think of one without the other, so there’s no separation between the two.
But either way, this is one of the saddest, most mournful break-up songs that I can think of off the top of my head. You can tell that Mick Jagger REALLY MEANS what he says when he croons things like:
“But Angie, I still love you baby, ev’rywhere I look I see your eyes,
There ain’t a woman that comes close to you, come on baby, dry your eyes.”
And there’s a secret part of you that wishes that any one of your miserable ex’s ever thought something so sweet, poetic and romantic about you instead of something more realistic like, “Man, that chick gave some GOOD head.”
YOUR turn, Internet. Gimmie some good break-up songs that I’ve forgotten to include here. Lord knows my mind ain’t what she used to be and I’m damn certain I’ve forgotten some pretty key songs here.