Sami Jankins provides a list of thirteen “not your typical done me wrong” songs to help get you through your latest break up – from angry to over it.
I remember the days of the mix-tape. OK, I vaguely remember those days. My sister, being twelve years older than me, would sit and record her favorite songs off of the radio while elementary school-aged me watched on. My generation had the mix CD. Nothing transports me back to very specific times in high school or college than listening to mixes I put together – songs that reminded me of time spent with friends, time spent crying over a crush that didn’t like me back, or even songs listened to on road trips with family. I guess we have playlists now. There is something that feels special about having a collection of songs placed together to transport you to a time and place or to even get you through challenging times. One of those times where a playlist or mix tape comes in handy is during a break up. Break ups have fueled many a songwriter, and a break up playlist can get you through the range of emotions you’re feeling. Here is my break-up playlist for those of you nursing a broken heart.
Okkervil River – For Real
I discovered this song on Pandora radio the day after a break up . It’s as if they knew I needed the unique vocals of Will Sheff to get me through because the entire Black Sheep Boy album, which this song is from; it’s an ongoing ode to deep heartache. This song is for when things are maybe over, or they probably definitely are over, but you’re in denial. The climactic end to this song is perfect to sing along to. Come on, get those feels out. It made me feel better.
Avett Brothers – If It’s the Beaches
This song is about not wanting a relationship to be over. At this point you are willing to give the other person anything they want to keep them in your life. However, if you are at this point, I thought adding in the Avett Brothers’ practice video of the song would be helpful to all of us. Things are already challenging – take a break to have a few laughs.
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s – Talking in Code
This song to me feels like a point where you’ve reached a complete communication break down. In the song, he’s sleeping alone and she’s singing sad songs. Things are dire. The lead singer, Richard Edwards, sings a line about being tired, and you definitely feel that right along with him.
The National – Terrible Love
This song slays me. It makes me think of the falling apart of a relationship, and how you may be hanging on for dear life to keep it going. Instead of some fairy tale though, it’s become a warped nightmare. “It takes an ocean not to break.” Sometimes, indeed it does.
The Airbourne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight
Some time has gone by, and then you see your ex. It’s startling. You wish you hadn’t seen them, but you desperately also want to see them. Emotions are confusing. We’ve all been there. This specific song was written just about that experience. As the story goes, Mikel Jollett, the lead singer, saw his ex in a bar and this song was the result. Writing this song became all consuming for him, and he locked himself in his room for three days working on it, proving heartache can lead to beautiful results.
Elliott Smith – Say Yes
Things didn’t go as planned and now you’re not longer with someone who you still maybe want to be with. You were happy, maybe in love, things went wrong, but maybe there is still that glimmer of hope it will work out. This song captures that perfectly, and I believe there’s always potential for things to work out if they are supposed to. Yes, I’m a romantic.
The Killers – For Reasons Unknown
I have an ex who strongly gravitated towards this song during our relationship. I don’t know what that says about the entire state of our relationship, but I think I should’ve been concerned that the end was near. It’s simply a song about falling out of love. Nothing that once thrilled you does anymore.
Ben Folds ft. Regina Spektor – You Don’t Know Me
What I find to be bizarre during the fall-out of a relationship is how little the other person knew you at all. Ben Folds gets this. You may have spent weeks, months, or years with the person to find that they only had this projected image of who they felt you were. Or vice versa, maybe you wanted them fit a certain mold that you may have conveniently forgotten about any bad times. Then it’s over, and then you remember. Interesting how that happens. How quickly someone you know so well can become a stranger.
Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
At one point I saw a comment remarking that this song may be the saddest song of 2013. It’s pure pain, and the lyrics remark on the confusion and disillusionment that both parties of a break up face. I may have learned to play this on ukulele to help me get through a break up of my own. The ukulele didn’t make it sound any happier.
Fiona Apple – Love Ridden
It was a challenge to pick just which Fiona Apple song to include. This song perfectly sums up that weird transition some people make between lovers to just being friends. The underlying familiarity is still present, but the other person is no longer with you. No more pet names and no more signs of affection.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Life is Hard
This may be an odd choice to throw in. It’s not directly about relationships, but they are throwing out there that life is hard. There’s something very comforting about that, and you can also sing really loudly “LIFE IS HARD” at the chorus. Because, right now, for you it is hard – and it’s completely relatable.
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
There is so much I love about this song. Mostly I love how Fleetwood Mac were placed in studios to record songs they had written about each other and their various stages of break ups and make ups. This is the song when you’ve realized there is nothing more you want from the other person. You tried your best and you’ve reached resolution. Can we discuss how Stevie and Lindsey just stare at each other? I know by now that it’s played up, but can you imagine singing this song immediately following a break up? Wow.
Noah And The Whale – Blue Skies
When I’ve reached resolution phase, I always put this song on play. It’s a good reminder that while things may feel challenging now, there are blue skies ahead. There are more fish in the sea. Let this be the last song on the playlist that allows you to reflect, and then close that chapter to your book.
Photo credit: Kristian Bjornard/Flickr
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