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7 Great Breakup Songs

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7 Great Breakup Songs

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Human LeagueI recently stumbled upon a post on Shine asking for breakup songs. I realized I had quite a few to suggest, so here's my reply. Breakup songs fall into different categories:

  • Wallowing in sadness
  • Vengeful bitterness
  • Confusion/disbelief
  • Longing/lamenting
  • Recovery

I like "recovery" songs, offering hope and encouraging moving on. Whatever type works the best for you, break out the wine, light some candles and try out my favorites (titles link to songs for free- remove popup blocker, first line of lyrics link to full lyrics below):

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by Stars

A duet between two people who have moved on, putting the relationship in perspective. This song should empower you to see better things on the horizon.


"The scar is a fleck on my porcelein skin,

You tried to reach deep, but you never got in.

Now you're outside me, you see all the beauty,

Repent all your sin.

...Live through this, and you won't look back."

Heart by Stars

An agonizing tale of a man getting lonelier and older while the woman sarcastically sings that she'll pretend she loves him. The man is missing her, and it is clear the woman has moved on.


(Guy) "You get back on the latest flight to paradise.

I found out from a note taped to the door.

I think I saw you airplane in the sky somewhere,

Through a window, lying on the kitchen floor."

(Woman) "Alright, I can say what you want me to,

Alright I can do all the things you do,

Alright, I'll make it all up for you: I'm still in love with you."


By The Time It Gets Dark by Yo La Tengo

This cover by Yo La Tengo is sung from the point of view of a friend comforting a friend in pain. Instead of sulking, the friend encourages getting out and about. If there was only one song I could suggest, it would be this one.

"Yesterday's gone and will be forgotten.

And today is where every new day starts.

Got to be free like the leaves in Autumn.

You may be sad, but it never lasts."

Don't You Want Me? by The Human League

The female in the song has become successful, and she's outgrown the guy, despite his his assertion that she made it big because of him. I hope none of you have ever been with this big of a d-bag.


"The five years we've had have been such good times.

I still love you.

But now I think it's time I lived my life on my own.

I guess it's just what I must do. "

Halah by Mazzy Star

In "Halah", the singer is stuck in that middle state of telling herself she's over the guy, but still wanting/missing him.

"But just before I see that you leave,

I want you to hold on to things that you've said.

Baby, I wish I was dead.

Surely don't stay long I'm missing you now.

It's like I told you, I'm over you somehow.

Before I close the door,

I need to hear you say goodbye.

Baby, won't you change your mind?"

Already Lost by Rainer Maria

This song picks up at that terrible point of no return: still together, but breakup is inevitable. And, Rainer Maria's writing is so true with the "waited up all night" in the chorus. We've all been there before. Brutal.


"Lay down all your instruments of navigation, because we're already lost.

And maybe we will fall apart at the seams?

Am I through with you?

Have you had enough of me?

Are you losing me?

I waited up all night, and my thoughts were all of desolation.

But the best part of waiting up all night was in the morning when I didn't feel a thing."

Ruby Tuesday by Rolling Stones

My first breakup song ever. I was "going out" with a girl in 8th grade while I was in 7th grade. She was out of my league, more experienced, confident. One day, her and her friends (romantic decisions were made "by committee" in those days) decided to dump their boyfriends. Ruby Tuesday is about being befuddled and wrapped up in the mystery and flightiness of that girl who is always one step ahead. Guys love that girl.

"Don't question why she needs to be so free.

She'll tell you it's the only way to be...

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.

Who could hang a name on you?

When you change with every new day,

Still I'm going to miss you."

What do you think of these songs, and what are your favorite breakup songs?

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens

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