There are few circumstances under which a break-up doesn’t completely suck. You might be getting a divorce with ugly legal proceedings. You might have been in a steady relationship for a long time, but mutually decided that you didn’t belong together romantically. Or, maybe you’ve been casually dating someone new and found out they’ve been seeing other people on the side without your knowing about it. The situations are endless, and no matter what, it isn’t particularly fun to pull the plug.
Of course, the moods vary while you’re dealing with a break-up. You can be angry, hurt, vengeful, sad, and ultimately, accepting. So here are a few songs across various genres with words that could help you through a break-up.
Pink – “So What” (Funhouse, 2008)
As far as I know, this song was written, comically, after Alicia Moore (aka Pink) separated from her husband, motocross racer Corey Hart. It couldn’t have been too bad of a split, considering he’s in the video, but the song nevertheless expresses a funny take on a childish response to a break-up – “So what! I’m still a rock star!” She doesn’t need him, she has her rock life, which is made out to be completely unsatisfying. If you’re hurting from a break-up, this song might help make you smile.
Garth Brooks – “Friends in Low Places” (No Fences, 1990)
If you want music for break-ups, look no further than country music, considering a solid 75% of the genre’s lyrical content relates to misery and break-ups. This song, in particular, regales the tale of a dumped man showing up at an ex’s classy party, making her new boyfriend uncomfortable, and expressing that he doesn’t need her anymore because he has “friends in low places” – likely those friends include Mr. Jim Beam and Mr. Jack Daniel, among others. Drinking and crashing parties aren’t really healthy ways to deal with break-ups, but at least you might get a chuckle out of the story in this song.
Strapping Young Lad – “AAA” (City, 1997)
Okay, not everyone deals with a break-up by means of smiling sarcasm. Some people get genuinely angry about being hurt, and one of the most therapeutic things you can do is listen to a song that’s as angry as you, and constantly screams, “No one fucks with me!” Angry music has the power to release energy and let feelings out, and even if this song might be a little hardcore, listening to it when you’re in a rage does feel really good. In the end, someone did fuck with you, but at least you’re getting some empowerment from this song’s energy.
Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” (Some Hearts, 2005)
We’re back to country music again, and for good reason! If you’re feeling vengeful after a break-up, “Before He Cheats” offers a totally different kind of wish-fulfillment – massive destruction of property! Word to the wise – don’t do this. But if you do, probably don’t carve your name into the seats, unless you want the police to immediately know who did it. But I digress, this tale of vengeance for being cheated on is a different sort of empowering from “AAA”, but has a similar effect in the long run. You can imagine yourself in Underwood’s shoes, smashing the ever-loving shit out of something dear to the person who hurt you, and it might just make you feel a little bit better.
Bruce Dickinson – “Broken” (The Best of Bruce Dickinson, 2001)
There comes the time when you do need a pick-me-up, even when you’re not sure you have the energy for it. If ever you need to supplement some strength, this Bruce Dickinson song might do the trick: “I stand alone but I can see / You won’t bring me down / For all this pain and misery / I’m not broken…” While this song is good for many circumstances beyond break-ups, it offers a different kind of strength. It doesn’t let your anger out, or give you wish-fulfillment; rather, this song reminds you of your own strength, something that may be sorely needed when things don’t work out and you might feel like giving up.
Sarah Bareilles – “Get Over You” (Kaleidoscope Heart, 2010)
In the end, this is the place where every newly-single or heartbroken person should end up. Whether or not you believe in “the one” or “soulmates”, this song has a deeper truth in it. In the words of Louis CK, no break-up is a bad thing, because even though it sucks, it means someone wasn’t happy. Time heals all wounds, and that’s why this is perhaps the best break-up song of all time. Why, you may ask? Seven simple words: “I’ll be all right, just not tonight.”