Top 10 Breakup Songs

Valentine's Day...a time for love and a time for breaking up! Here's a list of songs to help you through any relationship crisis.

 

 

10. Bob Marley & The Wailers - No Woman, No Cry. Bob Marley's anthemic reggae single from 1974 was actually (allegedly) written by a guy who worked at a local soup kitchen. Either that or Marley wanted to ensure the guy received enough in royalties to keep his charitable organization alive. In any case, it's impossible to not be uplifted by this chorus-- although many have often tried to interpret it. "Does it mean because he has a woman, he isn't crying or what?" Choice lyrics: "My feet is my only carriage/So I've got to push on through/But while I'm gone, I mean: Everything's gonna be all right!" Mood: Ready to embrace life again.

 

9. Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way. From 1977's smash Rumours album, this is the only song on our list written as a breakup song from one band member to another-- in this case, from Buckingham to Nicks. Strangely enough, Nicks knew the song was about her and agreed to sing it... although she asked Lindsay to remove the choice line "Packing up, shacking up is all you want to do" because she never cheated on him. He disagreed or at least didn't want to remove it and the song stands as is. Mood: Venting, prone to leaving epic voice mails.

 

 

8. Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel. The biggest song of 1956 is still a great breakup song more than four decades later. It's combo of somber lyrics and an infectuous melody is the perfect combination when you're in the mood for a sympathetic soul and inspiration to go forward. And, of course, it's always worth a listen in any situation. Choice lyrics: All of them, but particularly the opening: "Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell/Its down at the end of lonely street/At heartbreak hotel." Mood: Lonely, in need of a lift.

 

7. Alanis Morrisette - You Ought Know. "You Oughta Know" is about that douche from that awful Full House show, but you can't argue with the anger here. Or those choice lyrics: "Would she go down on you in a theater?" Sadly, she will not. Mood: If you're the breaker-upper and you're not sure the switch was the best move.

 

 

6. Ani DiFranco - Untouchable Face. Maybe it's because of who we hung out with and where we grew up, but it seemed like every girl we went to high school with popped this in their CD player and hit repeat when they got dumped. Those choice lyrics "f" you in your untouchable face/f" you for existing in the first place" may have had something to do with it. Mood: Angry, wishing you weren't still in love.

 

5. Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now. Mitchell's classic folk tune from the late sixties is often interpreted as reflections by a narrator who has seen the two viewpoints of everything in life, but particularly love. At first, she sees love as a fairytale and isn't prepared for the reality, that not everything will be perfect. Once she's reconciled to this, the narrator is finally able to take on a relationship full prepared. Choice lyrics: "I've looked at love from both sides now/From give and take, and still somehow/It's loves illusions I recall/I really don't know love at all." Also: "Tears and fears and feeling proud/To say I love you right out loud." Mood: Reflective and ready.

 

 

4. Paul Simon - 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Not all breakup songs have to be from the point-of-view of a lover. Remember, your friends can hate your ex's, too. Choice lyrics: "Just slip out the back, Jack/Make a new plan, Stan/Don't need to be coy, Roy/Just get yourself free." Mood: Glad you listened to your friends in getting out of that one by the skin of your teeth.

 

3. Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue. During the mid-seventies, while undergoing a rough period in the relationship with his wife, Dylan lived in New York City and began studying painting. His new-found love of art and his relationship weigh in equally on his 1974 album Blood on the Tracks, which depicts a series of breakups in its songs, all with nonlinear narratives and unfinished portraits of the characters. The obvious example is, of course, Tangled Up In Blue, which shifts back and forth through time, ending with the immortal final stanza and its memorable lyric "Now I'm going back to her again/I got to get to her somehow" and the last lines "We always did feel the same/We just saw it from a different point of view/Tangled up in blue." Thanks to these pleas, he was able to get his relationship going for three more years until he blew it for the last time. Choice lyrics: "And when finally the bottom fell out/I became withdrawn/The only thing I knew how to do/Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew/Tangled up in blue." Mood: Devastated.

 

2. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - The Tracks of My Tears. This is the "I don't care about you" song that lets them know that, deep down, you really do care. If you see him with another girl, just remember that she's just his rebound babe and that the one he really wants is you... whenever you're ready to come back around. As Oliver Stone says over a scene featuring this tune on the Platoon DVD commentary: "Humanity is engraved in this music." Choice lyrics: "So take a good look at my face/You'll see my smile looks out of place/If you look closer it's easy to trace/The tracks of my tears." Mood: Not over you, leaving that door open, but on the rebound.

 

 

1. Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive. It's hard to imagine that people have made breakup song lists that not only haven't placed this at #1, but have left them off entirely. At least they could've included that funkified Cake cover. Anyway, what can we say about this song that isn't obvious: it's a disco classic, it's a breakup song, and it's sappy and motivational. Choice lyrics: "Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive/I've got all my life to live/I've got all my love to give and I'll survive/I will survive." Mood: Tony Cliftonesque.

 

Honorable Mention: Hurt - Johnny Cash; The One I Love - r.e.m.; Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles; Always on My Mind - Elvis Presley / Willie Nelson. What songs have gotten you through a bad breakup?