Omg I thought this would be one of the easiest posts that I get to upload on my blog. And I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not that I was running outta stuff to write or music to involve in the list, but solely cuz there was SO much stuff to choose from, it almost took me a month to meticulously browse through my music collection to come up with this list. Conclusion? Nothing creates better music than the experience of your heart being dragged up a mountain and then being shoved mercilessly off the edge. There’s nothing more fulfilling than writing a song about mutilating your ex with red-hot barbed wire or about letting loose a rabid mutt on them while you dance gleefully on his/her grave shrieking like a banshee in heat! Don’t we all LOVE break up music?
Whether it’s inevitable or unexpected, a clean-cut or a messy affair, a short fling or an era, y’all know that when it comes to a break up, there’s no escaping a severely molested brain. Love, life, meaning, joy..all over? It’s a familiar feeling for a whole lotta us, the numbness, the moping, the comfort eating, the meaningless anger, the hyper-active lacrimal glands, the uncanny ability to suddenly break stuff, the addiction of repeatedly looking at pics where you two were sickeningly happy, thinking about that blissful first kiss that now makes you wanna claw your intestines out etc.
Whoever said anything about a break-up being easy? Maybe it’s something to do with the weather, but recently a surprisingly high number of my friends have broken up with their loved ones. Although I’ve been a hermit most of my life as far as relationships are concerned, I can very well identify the feeling that’s screwing up their minds right now. Solely cuz I’ve experienced that gut-wrenching puke inducing helpless numbness myself in the past, thanks to a few worthless pieces of crap that I’ve wasted my time on (yeah, now that I have my own blog, this is where I’ll rant and rave against you morons who’ve made the colossal mistake of being conceived..so why don’t you suck it up and just go curl up and die in a corner you losers!).
When you choke on your own words while you defiantly try to justify reality after being dumped, especially if there’s an announcement of someone new in your (ex) lover’s life, words fail you. Every break-up deserves a soundtrack, a particular song for a particular moment, that should define the very essence of one of the many overwhelming emotions going on in one’s head. By the time you’re done listening to these songs over a gazillion times, you’ve probably moved on and have learned to forgive your ex, as well as forgiven yourself. The same goes for snitches, back-stabbers, nay-sayers as well as dimwits who are products of a majorly blotched up upbringing and whose sole aim in their sorry lives are to prove they’re a step ahead of you. Indifference certainly goes a long way in avoiding such creeps. For me, along with indifference, a really close set of old friends, and of course music have helped me walk all over these windbags. And it’s amazing how certain songs can actually help you ease your mind when you see your world collapsing around you.
I’ve picked out 15 songs out of an over-sized playlist that I have, that might just help you feel a little better during your own personal storms. I’ve tried incorporating a bit of everything, from a coupla angry head-banging numbers to a few songs you can howl your eyes out to. And then I had to include a few inspirational/feel-good songs as well, especially after a friend, who’s going through a break up, lamented about the playlist depressing him even more. I left out most of the regular classics that you might have already over-played, like Dido’s ‘White Flag‘, Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since You Been Gone‘, R.E.M’s ‘Everybody Hurts‘, Beyoncé’s ‘Irreplaceable‘, a whole lotta stuff by Amy Winehouse, Adele, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Leann Rimes, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Leona Lewis, etc cuz you’ve listened to most of them already, but then I also ended up including a few that I just couldn’t leave out at all! So here you go..listen, enjoy, cry, get royally pissed, destroy stuff, howl, face the pain, get over it, forgive and forget.
1. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
Is there any music lover out there who has NOT listened to Alanis Morissette’s genre defining 1995 album ‘Jagged Little Pill‘? You peeps need to get your act together and buy/download the album and give it a listen. This is one song that you need to break stuff to, get all the frustration out and scream at. The lyrics of the song are as raw and real as they get, ‘It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced, Are you thinking of me when you f*** her?’. It’s perfect to listen to when all you wanna do is strangle your ex.
Alanis went on to win 5 Grammy’s that year including the Album Of The Year, while ‘Jagged Little Pill‘ went on to spend a staggering 12 weeks at # 1 on the Billboard Charts, selling a jaw-dropping 33 million copies till date, making it one of the biggest selling albums of all time. Proof enough that you’re not the only one listening to Alanis while licking your wounds!
2. Nothing Compares To You – Sinead O’Connor
Get your tissue-box out for this one, and howl away. Let it all out. Nothing soothes you more than a good cry after you face the pain. And there’s nothing wrong with shedding a few tears, just look at Sinead in the video for this brilliant number that was originally sung by Prince. Sinead’s rendition won her a Grammy, and both the song and parent album ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got‘ topped the Billboard Charts in 1990. Have to admit this, watching the video and Sinead shedding some of those genuine tears got me all misty eyed myself. Tsk tsk.
3. Jealousy – Will Young
The inevitable feeling, picture your ex happy again with someone new, while you’re still stuck in the past. Hits you real bad where it hurts right? Will’s new single is probably his best, and most of my friends, including one who’s been royally pestering me to upload the playlist asap, and I been addicted to this song lately. The video couldn’t have been better!
4. Tyrone – Erykah Badu
This one is for all y’all ladies out there. This is the song for you if you’ve been the one opening your purses and taking care of your men,who refuse to leave the bar and their homeboys. They deserve a well placed kick in the rear. The first lady of neo-soul Erykah Badu’s hilarious 1997 Grammy nominated R’nB # 1 single ‘Tyrone‘ is as raw as it gets, with lyrics like ‘Now every time I ask you for a little cash, you say no and turn right around and ask me for some ass!‘ Have a good laugh listening to this one while you move on with your lives!
5. Not Ready To Make Nice – The Dixie Chicks
‘Forgive..sounds good. Forget..I don’t think I could‘. This pretty much sums up the mood the song sets. The Chicks wrote this song after the group was boycotted due to lead vocalist Natalie Maines’ comment against the then president of the United States, George Bush. The result? The single and the parent album 2006’s ‘Taking The Long Way‘ made a clean sweep at the Grammy’s, winning Record, Song and Album Of The Year at the 2007 Grammy Awards and repositioned them as one of the best-selling bands of all time.
6. F*** It (I Don’t Want You Back) – Eamon
Err…sometimes it helps to speak your mind eh? So here you go! Presenting the Guinness Record holder for the most number of expletives in a # 1 song (33 to be precise), American R’n’B singer Eamon’s ‘F*** It (I Don’t Want You Back)’! By the time you’re through with the song, you’ll probably attain Nirvana! And considering the fact that song was a global smash back in 2004, peaking at # 1 in multiple countries worldwide, one should find solace in the fact that there is a world full of frustrated earthlings who share your pain! Curse away!
7. Over It – Katharine McPhee
Few people remember Katharine McPhee, and I don’t blame them cuz she’s disappeared from the scene lately. Before you start google-ing her, she was the runner-up of Season 5 of American Idol, where she was trumped by Taylor Hicks (who is almost as oblivious as Katharine). Post her Idol success in 2006, Katharine had released her self titled début album which went on to become a moderate success, debuting at # 2 on the Billboard Charts. The first single of the album was the gold certified hit ‘Over It‘, and this was a staple on my personal break-up playlist that I had drawn up a few years ago. Not too many people have heard this one, but this song’s pretty amazing. And the video deals brilliantly with that confusion inside of you when your head says you’re over it and your heart tends to have a mind of its own. Whatever you do, just don’t do what Katharine does at the end of the video. Trust me, it’s not worth it!
8. Why – Annie Lennox
What do I write about this legendary song? Just thinking about the video gives me the chills. Annie Lennox’s début solo single from her 1992 album ‘Diva‘ brilliantly chronicles the pain of a break-up, especially the frustration of words unspoken, as well as words you cannot take back, that you wished you had never said. ‘Why‘ went on to become one of her biggest hits worldwide and won the MTV VMA for the Best Female Video in 1992.
9. Closer – Joshua Radin
Tissues out again peeps, you might just need them. This song’s one of those melodies you might just wanna howl away to for no reason at all. Well except for the fact that your heart’s been slaughtered , pissed on and raped recently. Joshua’s voice has that comforting feeling, and yet it exudes a melancholy that’ll break your heart. And fans of Grey’s Anatomy like me, y’all know where you heard this one before!
10. Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J Blige
Now here’s an Icon who has created an entire career spanning 2 decades out of break-up songs. Mary J Blige is the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul, and she’s the real deal. Her songs hit you where it hurts. When I had to choose from her extensive discography that included some of the biggest hits of all time including ‘Be Without You‘ and ‘No More Drama‘, I had to go with ‘Not Gon’ Cry‘.The anthem was included in Mary’s 1997 multi-platinum Billboard # 1 album ‘Share My World‘, as well as the soundtrack of the iconic movie ‘Waiting To Exhale‘, where the song had become the theme of one of the lead characters Bernadine, played by the feisty Angela Basset, who gets dumped by her two-timing husband for another woman. The song’s powerful, raw and it hits you hard. And Mary’s personal pain on this song is palpable, as she’s no stranger to abuse herself. ‘Not Gon’ Cry‘ went on to become one of Mary’s biggest hits of her career, peaking at # 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and # 1 on the R’n’B Charts, and selling a whopping 1.5 million singles in the US.
11. Deuces – Chris Brown feat. Tyga and Kevin McCall
Many had thought Chris Brown’s career would end after he bashed up his then girlfriend Rihanna. After the incident, Chris was arrested, while Rihanna’s career went from strength to strength as the young diva returned back to the scene stronger than ever before, and churned out albums and # 1 singles at an alarming rate, some of which like ‘Russian Roulette‘ were aimed directly at the incident involving her and Chris.
After a few years of being boycotted from the music scene, ‘Deuces‘ became the single that proved many wrong and marked Chris’s rise back to the top. The song was directed at a girl Chris dumps after a failed attempt at a relationship, and many thought this was Chris’s way of getting back at Rihanna, who had unleashed an edgier and sassy image of a guy-basher post the incident. The lyrics are as direct as it gets – ‘All that bullshit’s for the birds, you ain’t nothin but a vulture. Always hopin’ for the worst, waiting for me to f** up!‘ Either way, ‘Deuces‘ sold over 1million downloads in the US alone, and got nominated for a Grammy. Enough proof of the acceptance doled out to Chris by his fans and the industry.
For all you guys who’ve been taken for a ride by their ex’s, this one’s the song for you. You need to know that it’s best to let go of all the anger, that’s precisely why Chris rightfully croons ‘You’ll regret the day when I find another girl, yeah!‘
12. Consider Me Gone – Reba McEntire
No other genre covers a heartbreak as beautifully as country music. And when the Queen of Country Music lends her voice to a song about the broken-hearted-blues, it’s bound to be a smash. ‘Consider Me Gone‘ became Reba’s 24th # 1 single on the Billboard Country Charts, while the parent album ‘Keep On Loving You‘,her 26th, released in 2009 became Reba’s 2nd Billboard # 1 album.
This song’s for all y’all facing the tail end of a fading relationship, and you’ve realized that it’s a waste of time to drag it on. Reba sounds and looks positively divine in the video, and these following lines were somewhat of an anthem for me not too long ago.
‘If i’m not the one thing you can’t stand to lose
If i’m not that arrow to the heart of you
If you don’t get drunk on my kiss
If you think you can do better than this, then i guess we’re done.
Let’s not drag this on
Consider me gone‘
13. Son Of A Gun – Janet Jackson feat. Carly Simon and Missy Elliott
The legendary Mizz Jackson created this iconic song and video after her divorce with her secret husband of 8 years Rene Elizondo, although Janet claims that the song’s pretty much about all the guys who’ve hurt her in the past. Works for me, as this is probably the most played break-up song of all time on my playlist! Check out the damn video y’all!! Zombies, spiders, pigs, Janet’s wash-board abs, and Missy Elliott doing her thang while Janet ferociously destroys the skank who’d had the gall to hurt her. Miss Jackson had never looked sexier, and the 2001 Grammy winning multi-platinum Billboard # 1 parent album ‘All For You‘ became a worldwide smash debuting at # 1 globally. And with lyrics like ‘Sweatin’ me but I’m not you’re type, you think you irk me, and you’re so right. I’d rather keep the trash and throw you out!‘, how can you NOT love the song??!!
Ps..try smashing stuff to this song. And then dance around and let out wild guffaws while you burn the smashed stuff to ashes. Works wonders!
14. Heartbreak Hotel – Whitney Houston feat. Faith Evans and Kelly Price
This one’s a classic, period. It’s the combination of 3 of the most powerful voices of all times, and what a song this was. Whitney Houston made a stunning transition to R’n’B/Soul with her 1998 album ‘My Love Is Your Love‘, and this Grammy winning quadruple platinum certified smash album boasted of some of the best songs of her career, coincidentally, most of them ideal for a break-up playlist. The feisty and sassy ‘It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay‘ and power ballad ‘I Learned From The Best‘ were both critical and commercial successes, but it was ‘Heartbreak Hotel‘ that was a masterpiece, especially since it involved Whitney collaborating with two of the biggest voices of the late 90’s, Faith Evans and Kelly Price. This one’s an anthem for people who’ve discovered they were being cheated on, taken for a ride and being made fools of . The concluding strains of the song describes that feeling appropriately when Whitney declares ‘I Ain’t Gonna Take It No More‘.
15. Never Forget You – Noisettes
And finally, the last song of the playlist! After a coupla friends vehemently complained about a few of the songs reminding them of their present situation and making them feel worse in the process, I decided to end the list with a happy break-up song (juxtaposition much?)! Break-ups are messy, and they literally leave you feeling like shit. But as time heals your scars/wounds/bank-accounts, you do end up thinking about the good times you’ve had more than the times when you felt like holding a gun to each other’s heads. Give each other some credit for making some fantastic memories worth cherishing for a lifetime! And London-based English Indie Rock Band Noisettes have the perfect song for the occasion!
‘Never Forget You‘ is a fun song that deals with two ex-lovers meeting up for a drink and acknowledging the past. It’s a funky light-hearted number, and it leaves you in a happy place after you listen to it!
The rage, the tears, the vulnerability, the pain, the betrayal, the emptiness..it all comes to an end eventually. Even when it seems impossible, time passes. And you resurface. That’s when the good memories remain. When you do reach your comfort zone, forgive each other. There’s a reason the two of you were together in the first place, and the reason was love. Cherish that reason as well as your past, accept it, and move on. You don’t have to hold on to the pain to hold on to the memory. Cuz there are many a new memory waiting to be created by you with someone new as you leave the older ones behind and eventually move on!