Songs To Break Up To – Part One

Heartbreak – who doesn’t identify with it? Even though I’m approaching my thirties and I’m happily married, I still remember all the many times I had my heart smashed to pieces either by a boyfriend, or just by some jerk off I shouldn’t been expecting much from in the first place. Along with every heartache I ever experienced, there was typically a song, or many, that helped me through the pain. Sometimes the songs made me feel better, but more often than not, they just amplified the misery and allowed me to wallow. Those songs got me through some tough times and even now, as a happily married adult, I still hear them and get a little choked up, or angry, or both, thinking about how I felt during that time in my life. So here’s my list, in vaguely chronological order.  I’m know I’m forgetting some, so I may have to do a part two at some point.

Bikini Kill – Outta Me

What can I say? I was 14 and I’d had my heart stomped on by someone much too old for me who also had a girlfriend. At that time I was discovering girl rock and was in love with Kathleen Hanna. So angsty! Favorite lyrics: “No, I don’t remember you ever loving me/I think that’s your fucking fantasy/I think you want everything…”



The Cure – Untitled

Of course it’s hard to narrow it down to one favorite Cure “break up” song. I mean who hasn’t just listened to Disintegration on repeat after being dumped? This one really sticks for me and I have a very distinct memory of sitting in my darkened bedroom, chainsmoking, and swearing off love forever. Favorite lyrics: “Feeling the monster/Climb deeper inside of me/Feeling him gnawing my heart away/Hungrily…”


The Smiths – Unhappy Birthday

As with The Cure, it’s difficult to pick one Smiths‘ song. There are many, many Smiths songs I have cried and cursed stupid dudes to but this one is fun because it’s so mean-spirited and bitter. Favorite lyrics: “And if you should die/I may feel slightly sad/(But I won’t cry)…”


Depeche Mode – Shake the Disease

This song has helped me through many angry times. Sometimes when you break up with someone you don’t get the satisfaction of letting them know how much you will not miss them. This song really speaks to that desire, from the very first line, which is also my favorite lyrics: “I’m not going down on my knees/Begging you to adore me…”



The Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes

The number of times I’ve listened to this song and thought of the same person is embarrassing. Fifteen years after the heartbreak I still get a little choked up listening to this. Kind of pathetic. Favorite lyrics: “Thought of you as my mountain top/Thought of you as my peak/Thought of you as everything/I’ve had but couldn’t keep…”


Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Okay, so this song isn’t particularly sad or angry, but the lyrics are so perfect. I had broken up with someone that I knew wasn’t right for me and I wasn’t really too bummed out about it. This song captured my sentiments exactly. Plus, it’s on the soundtrack of my favorite love story of all time, Dogfight. If you haven’t seen it I order you to rent it immediately. Favorite lyric: “I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind/You coulda done better but I don’t mind/You just kinda wasted my precious time/But don’t think twice, it’s all right…”


Cat Stevens – Wild World

If you don’t like old Cat Stevens you might not have a heart. And if this song doesn’t tug on your heartstrings even a little bit, well then I just don’t know. You have problems. Favorite lyrics: “But if you wanna leave, take good care/I hope you make a lot of nice friends out there/But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware…”


Cat Power – Good Woman

Who hasn’t been with someone who was totally bad for them? And who hasn’t wanted to make it work so hard even though you know you’re both beating a dead horse and you’d be better off without each other? Cat Power certainly has, because that’s what this song is all about. This song is so beautiful and heartfelt my eyes well up every time I hear it! Yes, I am a sap. Sue me. Favorite lyrics: “And this is why I am leaving/And this is why I can’t see you no more/This is why I am lying when I say/That I don’t love you no more…”


Sebadoh – Soul and Fire

This song is so bitter and it really stings. When I was coming out of a really long relationship I felt like this one was being sung about me and it felt terrible. Sadly, I felt like I deserved it. Favorite lyrics: “As you walk away, think of all the joy we shared/If you decide you need me, I’ll be wondering if I care…”


Crooked Fingers – When You Were Mine (Prince cover)

I seriously love all versions of this song, but this my favorite. It  twings and twangs itself all over my little heart. I also love, love, love Eric Bachmann‘s voice. And who hasn’t completely identified with these lyrics at one time or another? Even when you know your ex is all kinds of bad for you, you can’t help missing them. Favorite lyrics: “When you were mine/You were all I ever wanted to do…”


Yo La Tengo – Damage

There aren’t that many lyrics in this song but they are all about running into your ex after you’ve gotten over the whole ordeal of breaking up, but it still hurts and it’s strange to see them. It’s sort of a long, ethereal song that gives way for lots of sad nostalgia. Favorite lyrics: “I used to think about you all the time/I would think about you all the time/Now it just feels weird, that there you are…”


…that’s all I got for now. I’m interested in hearing what other people like to break up to so please post some comments!