I had an epiphany recently. There are only three ways to feel after a break-up: sad and wistful, angry and vengeful, or really fucking happy. There are a few songs that fit in each of those categories and make perfect music to listen to while you wallow in bed with a bowl of ice cream/key your ex's car/go out on a bunch of rebound dates.
When it comes to sad and poignant songs about relationships, Bob Dylan is king. Nearly all of Blood on the Tracks fits in this category, really, but especially Tangled Up in Blue.
"we always did feel the same/we just saw it from a different point of view"
the sentiment everyone feels after a relationship ends but you can't really put your finger on exactly what went wrong.
And then of course, there's Don't Think Twice It's Alright. This is the definition of a sad and wistful breakup song.
"Still I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say/To try and make me change my mind and stay/We never did too much talkin’ anyway/So don’t think twice, it’s all right"
Thank you, Bob Dylan, for summing up exactly the way I feel ten thousand times more poetically than I ever could have.
When you feel scorned and vengeful, though, there's no better person to turn to than good ol' Alanis Morissette. Nothing says "I plan on hating you forever" like You Oughta Know.
"Well i'm here to remind you/of the mess you left when you went away/it's not fair to deny me/of the cross I bear that you gave to me"
That's music to burn an effigy to, right there.
Lest we think only women get angry and mean after a breakup, Ben Folds's aptly named "Song for the Dumped" proves that hell hath no fury like a PERSON scorned.
"So you wanted to take a break/Slow it down some and/have some space/Well fuck you too" yeah, that's about right.
But let's face it: not every breakup leaves you feeling remorseful or full of blind rage. Sometimes a breakup leaves you feeling pretty fucking fantastic. That person that was holding you back is out of your life now! You're free to do the crossword puzzle without your SO hovering over you, blurting out the answers that you were going to get to if he just gave you a second. You can finally try the restaurant that your girlfriend called you a 'food snob' for suggesting. It feels really good knowing you dodged a bullet and don't have to deal with your clingy/stingy/insensitive boyfriend or girlfriend anymore.
Erykah Badu's got your back post-breakup: Call Tyrone is all about finally kicking that no-good lover to the curb. "I just want it to be you and me like It used to be, Baby/But ya don't know how to act, so matter of fact/I think ya better call Tyrone and tell him come on, help you get your shit"
I love this song. I love the take-no-prisoners attitude. I love that it's about realizing your lover can't make you happy and that you deserve better.
And finally, if you feel ready to get back on the horse after a breakup, On to the Next One by Jay-Z is your anthem. Brevity is the soul of wit, and those five words are all you need for perspective after a breakup, right? I don't think you can listen to this song and not feel ready to take on the world.