Saturday, July 09, 2005

Break Up Songs

While it’s easy to pay attention to love songs when you’re not in love (isn't that what being 12 is about?), you don’t necessarily care about break up songs unless you’re broken up. So what follows is a list of break up songs I have direct experience with. Thank goodness the last one was in 1991!

The first person I ever broke up with freshman year in high school listened to Purple Rain non-stop afterwards on his walkman. I guess that line “It’s such a shame our friendship had to end” was what got him. My friends called him a drowned puppy. I felt a little bad. I still love that song.

I don’t really remember any song from my next break up, but I do remember that he gave me Chicago XVII for Christmas. Was “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” on that one?

The next one was a guy who communicated through notes, which consisted solely of song quotes, and tapes he made me. When we broke up, I got a blistering tape of Marillion. Harsh! I immediately threw it away, despite the fact that I did like “Lavender” and “Kayleigh”. I just didn’t want to listen to them if they were supposed to be about me!

For that guy, I guess “Careless Whisper” was my guilty feeling song. Oh, and in his yearbook I did write quotes from two songs (anonymously!):

Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember,
We simply choose to forget.
But it’s the laughter we will remember
When we remember
The way we were.

Don’t let the past remind us
Of what we are not now

Do you think he knew it was me? ;)

Then was the guy who couldn’t tell the Beatles apart. Good riddance!

Then, let’s see, I ended going out with Purple Rain guy again between high school and college. We did the long distance thing until he broke up with me over Easter weekend when I was home from freshman year in college. Guess things evened out in the end. The only thing that saved me was Melissa Etheridge’s self-titled first album, which had just come out. For those of you who only know her from her recent adult contemporary work, her first few albums are quite bitter and rocking. Just what the doctor ordered! In my more generous days, I also played Chicago’s “Feeling Stronger Everyday”, but that was more for me than for him.

Finally, we have the soundtrack for the “friends with benefits”. I guess you can’t really call those breakup songs if you were never really together. Two of my favorites for that were Suzanne Vega’s “Knight Moves” (Do you love any, do you love none, can you love 20, can you love one, do you love me?) and the Cowboy Junkies’ “Cause Cheap is How I Feel”. Both are excellent for sitting in the dark and crying in your beer.

Billy Bragg’s “Greetings to the New Brunette” is a great “moving on” song. And Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” (forget Whitney’s version exists!) is heartbreaking – it makes me cry whenever I hear it, especially when she sings “and most of all I wish you love.” And Phil Collins doing “Against All Odds” is still an amazing song. If that’s just too un-hip for you, you can listen to the Postal Service’s cover of it. Great song, either way.

A friend of mine got divorced right when that Alanis Morrissette album came out, you know the one with “You Oughtta Know” on it. I guess it was very cathartic for my friend.

I can’t wait to hear your favorite break up song stories! C’mon, relive your exquisite pain!


aimara said...

I like Dido's White Flag.
It's the perfect I'm-stubbornly-loving-you-
even-though-it's-clearly-over and I-won't-come-down-from-my-cross-I-won't! break up song.

Bill Wither's Lovely Day is great for when you have a new special someone. Or a really great cat.

Fatstuff, R.I.P. *sniffles*

Anonymous said...

It's not really just a break up song as much as a realization of the need to break up. Here's the link about it from my blog (

Chris Hartman said...

"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," Bob Dylan. "Still I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say / To try and make me change my mind and stay / We never did too much talkin’ anyway / So don't think twice, it's all right."

"Think for Yourself," The Beatles.

"Brilliant Disguise," Bruce Springsteen. "So when you look at me / you better look hard and look twice / Is that me baby / or just a brilliant disguise?"

Anonymous said...

OK.your fans are looking for a new blog entry. . .

dirk said...

Break-ups (sad songs):
Olivia Newton-John - Hopelessly Devoted to you
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
The Who – The Song is Over
ELO - Telephone Line
Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time (this happens to be one of my all time favorite songs. It's even better if you play the LP version at 80% speed (can't do that with CDs))

Anonymous said...

I don't care what anyone says- The Cure rock, and they write the most beautiful heartbreak songs

"Pictures of You"
You standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
You running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and wider than snow
And screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage
To let it all go
Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

there's no-one left in the world
that i can hold onto
there is really no-one left at all
there is only you
and if you leave me now
you leave all that we were
there is really no-one left
you are the only one
and still the hardest part for you
to put your trust in me
i love you more than i can say
why won't you just believe?

and "Letter to Elise"

Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you say
I just can't stay here every yesterday
Like keep on acting out the same
The way we act out
Every way to smile
And make-believe we never needed
Any more than this
Any more than this

Elise believe I never wanted this
I thought this time I'd keep all of my promises
I thought you were the girl I always dreamed about
But I let the dream go
And the promises broke
And the make-believe ran out...

I think i've reached that point
Where all the things you have to say
And hopes for something more from me
Are just games to pass the time away

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

-all from The Cure

"Sleep" by The Smiths
Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don't try to wake me in the morning
'Cause I will be gone
Don't feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go
Sing to me
Sing to me
I don't want to wake up
On my own anymore

Anonymous said...

Cigarettes and Coffee- Otis Redding

Unforgiven- Iron Horse

Set You Free- The Black Keys

Time is on My Side- Irma Thomas

Paint it Black- Rolling Stones

Inflammatory Writ- Joanna Newsom

Bridges and Balloons- Joanna Newsom

The Way it Was- Brian Jonestown Massacre

Those Memories- Brian Jonestown Massacre

I'm Sorry I Love You- Magnetic Fields

I Got Life- Nina Simone

Winners and Losers- Social Distortion

Fuck and Run- Liz Phair

No Regrets- Aesop Rock

Promises- Fugazi

Dirt- The Stooges

Anonymous said...

oh i got some for ya... some literal, some feelin

shit what was i thinking
- Nick Drake, Time Has Told Me
- Ani DiFranco, So What

please don't do this
- Nina Simone,Ne Me Quitte Pas

now i really fucking miss you
- Sinead or Prince, Nothing Compares 2U
- Elvis Costello, Almost Blue
- Jeff Buckley,Hallelujah
- Martin Sexton,Can't Stop Thinkin Bout You
- REM, Pale Blue Eyes

what went wrong went wrong what went...
- Ani DiFranco, Reckoning
- David Murray,Sarah's Lament

lonely as hell
- Cowboy Junkies, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
- Ben Harper, Another Lonely Day
- Buddy Guy, Black Night

i suck, my fault
- Nina Simone,Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
- Sinead O'Connor,All Apologies

i'll never find love again
- Rolling Stones, Losing My Touch

depressed, dissolving, dying
- McLaughlin.Di Meola. De Lucia,Manha De Carnaval
- Cocteau Twins, Throughout The Dark Months Of April And May
- Ani D, Come Away From Them

deepest depths of depressed
- David Murray, Cruxifiction

bitter, fuck you
- Ani D (who else?), Dilate
- Ani, Untouchable Face
- Portishead, Wandering Star

ok fine it wasn't meant to be
- David Gray, Say Hello Wave Goodbye
- Ben Harper,Walk Away

- Ani, Your Next Bold Move


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