Almost everyone has fallen in love. And just about everyone, at one point or another, has been dumped. It’s the circle of life in dating – sometimes you are the dumper and sometimes you are the dumpee, but you pick yourself up and move on to the next person until you find your soul mate (or you hit 30 and just marry the first person who asks that you can stand. Just kidding – sort of). Unless you met your partner when you were thirteen and were never “on a break,” everyone has experienced the heartache associated with a breakup. It’s one of life’s little rites of passage. Breakups aren’t fun, but it is something that everyone can relate to.
Everyone has their own method of dealing with the end of a relationship; the more ambitious among us channel their heartbreak by hitting the gym (I am not one of those people). Some people like to watch sad movies; others drown their sorrows in a bottle of whiskey or a carton of ice cream (or maybe both). For my money, there is nothing better than listening to some great break up songs. While love songs get all the attention and praise, songs that focus on the termination of a love affair can be extremely therapeutic. There’s nothing like cranking up some tunes and singing along at the top of your lungs with someone who can identify with what you’re going through. Some people find solace in sappy songs about love lost and the pain that they are going through, but I generally tend to favor songs that strike a more defiant, f*&k you tone. That is somewhat surprising as that doesn’t really fit my personality, but I guess when I am done I am DONE. Plus those songs tend to have a better beat.
So when a relationship comes to its conclusion, regardless of who ended it, I’m likely to blare one or more of the songs below to make myself feel better. The irony is that though I should associate these songs with bad memories, these are songs that I generally like. I’ll listen to them even if I’m not trying to get over something. A good song is a good song, no matter what the context. Maybe that is part of the process. Whatever the reason, these songs seem to do the trick.
Heather’s Breakup Song Hall of Fame:
“What it Takes” – Aerosmith
This is my original go to breakup song to listen to; if you heard this coming out of my room in college, it wasn’t a good thing (and I played it a lot).
Tell me what it takes to let you go.
Tell me how the pain’s supposed to go.
Tell me how it is that you can sleep in the night without thinking you lost
Everything that was good in your life to the toss of the dice?
“Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
Grammatical issues in the title aside, this is a great anthem. When this is the first song you identify with in a relationship, it’s time to call it quits (sadly, that is a true story – be smarter than me).
But since you’ve been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I’m so moving on, oh, yeah, yeah
Thanks to you now I get, I get what I want
Honorable mention: “Stronger”
“Song for the Dumped” – Ben Folds Five
The song that gives this post its name may in fact be the greatest breakup song of all time.
Give me my money back
Give me my money back
I want my money back
And don’t forget to give me back my black T-Shirt
“I’ve Done Everything for You” – Rick Springfield
Everyone knows Springfield’s hit “Jessie’s Girl,” which is a great song, but I think this song is just as catchy. It’s a little bitter, but it is danceable.
This one way love affair ain’t fair, it ain’t no fair to me
It’s all give and take and you just take
I can’t take it you see
Well, I’m givin’ up on love this time
Me and my friends, we’ll do just fine
“Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye
It is one thing to end a relationship that wasn’t working, it is quite another when one of the people pretends that the relationship never meant anything. This song perfectly captures those emotions. It’s such a pretty song that you don’t even realize how sad it is.
But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make it like it never happened and that we were nothing
I don’t even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger
And that feels so rough
“What Goes Around Comes Around” – Justin Timberlake
The obvious choice here would have been “Cry Me a River,” but while I like that song I actually prefer this one. For whatever reason, the lyrics to this song speak to me more.
You know I gave you the world
You had me in the palm of your hand
So why your love went away
I just can’t seem to understand
Thought it was me and you, baby
Me and you until the end
But I guess I was wrong
“The Sign” – Ace of Base
You know, I never really paid attention to the lyrics of this song so I didn’t even realize it was a breakup song at first (even as I was singing along with it). Poppy and upbeat.
I got a new life
You would hardly recognize me I’m so glad
How could a person like me care for you?
(Why?)Why do I bother
When you’re not the one for me
“Don’t Speak” – No Doubt
Inspired by the real life breakup of band mates Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal, which must have been awkward for them to perform together (also see pretty much the whole Rumors album by Fleetwood Mac).
You and me
We used to be together
Everyday together always
I really feel
That I’m losing my best friend
I can’t believe
This could be the end
“You’ll Think of Me” – Keith Urban
I’m not really a country fan – though I find myself listening to it more lately – but this song is just really pretty.
And take your cap and leave my sweater
‘Cause we have nothing left to weather
In fact I’ll feel a whole lot better
But you’ll think of me, you’ll think of me
“I Will Survive” – Cake
This is kind of the ultimate moving on song, but most people like the Gloria Gaynor classic. I actually prefer this version by Cake. I always have to be different. Plus their version has cursing.
Oh now go, walk out the door
Just turn around now, you’re not welcome anymore.
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with desire?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?
“So What” – Pink
This is a great song for when you are in full on spite mode. Pink does not strike me as a pint of ice cream girl. Plus she’s right – I AM a rock star.
So what I’m still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don’t need you
And guess what
I’m havin more fun
And now that were done
I’m gonna show you tonight
“You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette
I don’t think any list of break up songs could really be complete with this song that I remember terrifying my male class mates in college. “She’s so mad” they would say. Exactly, dummies
And every time you speak her name
Does she know how you told me you’d hold me
Until you died, til you died
But you’re still alive
“Wide Awake” – Katy Perry
Katy Perry songs tend to be more upbeat as a rule, but this song written after her divorce is good medicine for the broken heart.
I’m wide awake
Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard
With an open heart
I’m wide awake
How did I read the stars so wrong?
“Goodbye to You” – Scandal
Yet another catchy song about being over a relationship that just isn’t working. Sometimes you just get tired of trying.
These last few weeks of holding on
The days are dull, the nights are long
Guess it’s better to say
Goodbye to you
Take your pick of Taylor Swift songs
Taylor Swift seems to have two speeds – falling in love and breaking up. She has mined her love life for material, making veiled references to past boyfriends (and not so veiled references in her liner notes). She’s good to listen to during a breakup because your love life is probably not the disaster that hers is.
I’m really gonna miss you picking fights
And me, falling for it screaming that I’m right
And you, would hide away and find your piece of mind
With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” – Bob Dylan
I love Bob Dylan and think he is an amazing songwriter. So it’s no surprise that he can write a great song about a breakup.
I ain’t saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.
Honorable mention: “It Ain’t Me Babe”
“The Dance” – Garth Brooks
This song is probably the healthiest on the list and the one that best surmises how I eventually feel after the end of a relationship – the pain of heartbreak is sometimes the price you pay for wonderful memories and experiences. What you choose to dwell on is up to you, but I eventually focus more on “the dance.”
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance
Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite breakup songs? What do you listen to in order to get through the end of the relationship? Sound off in the comments below.
*Disclaimer – I am not currently going through a breakup. I’ve had this idea for a post for a while and finally got around to doing it. I’m actually really happy at the moment.