“Man, I was thinking about unrequited love. I figure it’s best to just walk that shit off. Find someone else to be excited about. It’s like if you love ice cream but your ice cream man friend won’t give you any. Maybe he’s got a good reason. It cuts into profits. Who knows? So don’t hang out with him. What, you ONLY like ice cream? It’s ice cream or nothing? Don’t be an asshole. Learn to love donuts”
Every time I have a friend going through a breakup, I remind them of these words. A few years ago as everyone around me inevitably began to get married, I felt old. Now I’m at the age where people around me are beginning to get divorced, and that makes me feel really old. A divorce is like a breakup x10, with a bunch of extra garbage thrown in; three weeks ago I quietly backed out a room while watching a friend and his soon-to-be-ex fight over a kitchen strainer. My usual form of advice comes in the form of music, so I’m taking this weeks Music Monday as an opportunity to share with you my most favorite breakup songs.
These tunes are not for the faint of heart, these aren’t salve for the deep cuts. These are for the rough seas, the time when you need to know that someone else made it out the other side. Songs are only as sad as the listener, but consider yourself warned if you’re currently going through a separation. Everyone knows the classic breakup songs, the ‘With or Without you by U2 or ‘I’ll never get over you’ by The Smiths, but these here are the lesser-known songs to put on when you’re going through that terrible heartbreak we’ve all had a taste of. Breaking up is hard to do, but I hope that these songs make it a little easier on you. Without further adieu:
Your Winter- Sister Hazel
I once put this song on a breakup mix for a friend and he called me and said ‘This CD is amazing, but after hearing track 10 I changed the title to ‘Songs to slit your wrists in a motel bathroom to’. (Disclaimer, don’t do that)
Won’t come back- Donovan Woods
I love Donovans music for so many reasons, but his raw honesty is the main one. He says things that people just don’t ever say, like my favorite line in this song ‘F*ck you too, I deserved you more‘.
Lovin’s for Fools-Sarah Siskind
No explanation needed on this one. There’s a million covers of this song, but I’m gonna hit you with the original. Go forth and seek others when you realize the lyrics are perfect.
Day is Gone- Noah Gundersen
Easily the saddest song on the list, this one is best for the ‘I’m going to be mean to myself and blame this entire situation on me cause I am the ugliest, smelliest, stupidest person in the world‘ day of a breakup.
Fail for you- Luke Sital-Singh
The lullaby of breakup songs, it has one of the simplest, prettiest videos to accompany its sad song.
Song for Zula- Phosphorescent
“I will not open myself up this way again………” Such a beautiful, haunting tune for aimlessly cruising around while you’re out driving past your former lovers house. (Disclaimer, don’t do that either)
I can’t make you love me (cover)- Justin Vernon
I just love the idea of JV jammin’ out in his house to Bonnie Riatt and deciding to cover these songs. This is my favorite cover of this classic breakup song, the title itself is such a simple truth we’ve all grappled with. He ends this incredible performance with a snippet of ‘Nick of Time’, another Riatt classic that is more uplifting, and that’s how I’m going to end this list. Enjoy it, use it when you need it and for my dear friend M, if you’re reading this: Hold on, darling, brighter days will be here in the nick of time.