Thankfully, I’m in a stable, happy relationship and have been for almost 25 years, but I still enjoy a great breakup song now and then. So with that in mind, here are five that have resonated for me over the years. There are so many break-up songs of course, because we all go through it eventually, but since I’m limiting myself to five, I’m omitting some classics…. but so be it. These five have meant something to me along the way. And the lyrics still grab me by the throat now and then. Enjoy – or if you prefer, cry in your beer, and remember that this too shall pass!
Black, by Pearl Jam
This one got me at the right time and has never let go. This live version from MTV Unplugged remains – in my opinion – the greatest version of the song ever sung. My gosh they were young then, and so was I…
“I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life
I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky, but why
Why, why can’t it be, oh can’t it be mine?”
All I Want, Toad the Wet Sprocket
This song was big at a time when these lyrics meant something to me. The air spoke, and I was the better for it.
“And it won’t matter now
Whatever happens will be
Though the air speaks of all we’ll never be
It won’t trouble me”
If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon’s best song, which is saying something. This one is tragic relationship magic.
“And if you read between the lines
You’ll know that I’m just tryin’ to understand
The feelings that you lack
I never thought I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back”
Rolling in the Deep, Adele
Classic sound, great lyrics. I love the attitude in this song; yeah you screwed up, and it’s gonna hurt you a lot more than it hurt me.
“The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinkin’ that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all”
Two versions of this song, and I love them both. If Gaynor’s version is an anthem for women screwed over by men the world over, the Cake version turns the tables, and offers the jilted men of the world an anthem of their own. We’ve all been on both sides of this coin, haven’t we? This song, like Rolling in the Deep, is saying you may have punched me in the gut, but screw you I’m moving on.
“Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now, ’cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?”