breakup songs for your wedding day


I’m thinking of you today as I sort through myPod. It’s in hideous disarray; you would not approve. "Clean this shite up, Stephanie!" you’d say shaking your head. Then you’d put in a request for a song they play every hour on the radio of your favorite top 40 station anyway. "We love to love that song," you’d say, speaking for me. And I’d let you because I like when people speak for me. So long as it doesn’t land me at a horrible restaurant or waiting behind a velvet rope. It lets me be lazy. The idea of making decisions is exhausting, and it just so happens that you thrive off control–though you’d call it "planning," and I’ll agree. "How do you not have…"

And I’d make sure to go home and download the song or the artist, so I’d have it for next time. I like pleasing you and seeing you happy. If I were a guy you were dating, in this scenario, I’d be chewed and spit out by now. No one likes a puppy dog, but somehow, with friends, we don’t quite see it that way. Sure, we have the friend who almost always gives us our way, but we believe it’s because she picks her battles, because she likes us just the way we are. But with men, with dating, we need more of a dance, a pull, a small fight to know we’re worth fighting for.

We do love to love our breakup songs, the songs that remind us we were perfectly fine before we ever had a run-in with him. That we might temporarily feel broken, but intellectually we know otherwise. We love the songs that give us strength, however silly, to remember that our worth isn’t defined by our romantic relationships and most certainly is independent of his friends, his family, and his existence.

Here’s to you, on your wedding day, of all days: a goodbye to all the goodbyes, to the ache, to the fetal position of cries. I dedicate these breakup songs to you, my dear friend, as they’ll always be a part of your past, of who you are, of where you’ve been, but they in no way reflect where you’re going. And you may still sing along and ask me to turn up the volume. I hope to always be around to play your radio bitch. If I’m missing any great ones, I’m sure you’ll let me know. You’re a bit busy, you know, getting married today, so maybe a few others will chime in with their favorite I-don’t-need-you "clit rock."



  1. I have a question. Why do you make the email addresses of those who criticise you viewable? Everyone else when you hover over their name, you get a webpage address or "M" or some such, but those who disagree with you inevitably have their email addresses made public. I've noticed it on more than one post now.

    I would name my favorite breakup songs, but it would date me horribly. Did you see on Project Runway last week when Tim Gunn made a pop culture reference that the designer was too young to get? God, that's me.

    FROM SK: Sallie, you read too much into it. Typepad doesn't allow you to disallow email addresses so I have to go in an manually change the url on each which is quite time consuming. When I approve comments from my phone it takes 5 times longer. Sometimes I just approve without going through the process to expedite. Either way people are either upset the comments aren't seen fast enough or their email addresses are visible. Truth be told if you're gonna be an asshole you deserve to not be anonymous about it but I do not purposely "out" the assholes.

  2. OMG, so many….I particulary love Dido's White Flag, anything by Chicago (Peter Cetera KILLS me) and Kelly Clarkson "Since Youve Been Gone."

  3. What timing!! I was just listening to Avril Lavigne's "When You're Gone" as I started to read your post. Great lyrics.

  4. Old School, but George Michael's Father Freedom – it sounds like it is more about unrequited love. I always fantasized some dude wanted me from afar but never had the nerve to approach. ya know, kinda like the cheesy video. I mean, I have blue eyes and they shine, right?
    Also, Waiting For That Day from his Listen w/out Prejudice album. Honestly, he is not one of my favorites but the soulful longing of that album was just what I needed when a relathionship went south.
    Oh and this is kinda embarrasing, but Wilson Phillips' Relaese Me from the early 90's. Total chick song about being stronger w/out him, blah,blah,blah. This was me in the early 90's in college and every break-up was the end of the world. Gah, so glad those years are over!

  5. Ahhh…one of the best pissed off chick songs ever has to be "You oughta know" by Alanis Morrisette. It is difficult to listen to it now and not think of Dave Coulier, the goofy guy from Full House. Who knew he could cause such female angst?

  6. Ah, break up songs, my favorite genre. Let's see… George Michaels' "Careless Whisper," Human League's "Don't you want me, baby," U2's "With or without you," John Waite's "Missing you," and The Bee Gees' "How can you mend a broken heart."

    What a lovely wedding day post. Here's hoping that your friend never cries into her beer while listening to break up songs ever again : )

  7. I had a whole mixtape that I made for myself in college that mixed the cheating and sadness….Sometimes when I get melancholy, I wish to hear those songs, but since I'm happily married, they never really measure up to what they meant when I had just been cheated on. I can't find that tape anywhere, but here are some that I remember from it and some that I've found since then!

    Untouchable Face – Ani Difranco
    Gravel – Ani Difranco
    Fear – Sarah McLachlan
    Worn Me Down – Rachel Yamagata
    You're the One – Paul Simon
    Warning Sign – Coldplay
    Shadowboxer – Fiona Apple
    Never is a Promise – Fiona Apple

    Hope you, Phil and the beebs are having a restful Sunday!!

  8. Hands down best tune to rock out to when you need a pick me up during those 'someone just shat on my life' moments:

    'King of Wishful Thinking' by Go West.

    I listen to that song on repeat and by the third or fourth time, I am dancing, smiling and belting it so loud that I forget why I started to listen to it in the first place — fucking life saver. This legendary tune is in my top five favorite songs of all time for this reason.

  9. I would have to say Limp or Sleep to Dream by Fiona Apple, depending on just how much you despise the person you are breaking up with. Also I would recommend My Skin by Natalie Merchant, or if you are in a little bit more melancholy nostalgic mood about the ex, there is always Janet Jackson's Again.

    Since I have only really had one "break up" and it was with my extremely abusive ex (baby's father) who I was with for almost 8 years, my songs are just a "bit" bitter.

  10. Right now I'm really in to Better In Time by Leona Lewis- I think it can really work for friendship break ups too…

  11. 1. "Rid of Me" by PJ Harvey
    2. "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure. My first year of college a stupid boy made me so mad that I cranked up this song and put it on repeat. My roommate (and floormates) were a little worried.
    3. "Precious Things" by Tori Amos (although if you have recently broken up with Tori, this one might not work for you).

  12. Wait – "you oughta know" is about David Coulier???

    Huh. Never knew.

    Anyway, I actually avoid the sad breakup songs, they just cut the knife deeper. I just got dumped 4 days ago by what very well may remain the man of my life, and can't bear to listen to any of that stuff. I'm not ready for the other breakup songs either, "strong enough" and "live after love" and all that Cher. I just stick to foreign music now, if they sing about love at least I won't understand what they say. It prevents me bawling in mid-traffic.

  13. my break up album was Lauryn Hill's "the miseducation of lauryn hill" i had it on non-stop repeat in my car, in my house, everywhere. "when it hurts so bad", l"ost one", "i used to love him", "nothing even matters", "tell him" those songs, that album. It's almost up there with The Cure's "Disintegration".. but high school love and young twenties love are really two different intensities.

  14. argh. stupid computer. apologies if I am posting twice. 'Cigarettes Will Kill You', by Ben Lee was a favourite of my 20 year old self, as well as 'Believe' by Cher, even if when I first heard the song I thought it was sung by a drag queen.

  15. I have to agree with U2's "With Or Without", but also Ben Harper's "Please Bleed" and his remake of "The Drugs Don't Work"

  16. I second "Untouchable Face." Man. That was always on a break-up mix. And Robbie Williams "Sexed Up." My roomie and I would sing it in an overly cheesy accent and end up spilling giggle tears into our too-strong drinks. Some others–
    Just Like a Pill – Pink
    Again I Go Unnoticed and So Long Sweet Summer – Dashboard Confessional
    Hands Clean – Alanis
    Least Complicated – Indigo Girls

  17. I'm not sure of the title, but it's a Bonnie Raitt Song. "I can't make you love me if you don't"

    I really felt like a grown up the first time I could relate to that song.

    The song makes me cry, but it also makes me feel strong.

  18. David Gray's "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" and Tori Amos' "Tear in Your Hand" during the initial days post-breakup. When they came off of repeat and were replaced with Ani DiFranco's "Untouchable Face" I knew I was starting to get over it.

  19. Over many decades, starting WAAAAY back around 18 years of age, I bought Bonnie Tyler's CD. And whenever I would meet someone new, that I felt was promising I'd toss it in the garbage. Only to re-buy it on the next break-up. I've bought 4 copies of the same CD. Now I have it, and won't throw it away. (I don't ever want to have to buy it again, if you get my meaning) The song? Total Eclipse of the Heart. Her voice is so strong, and singing along with her, made me feel strong. After a few weeks of tears, anyway.

  20. I hate to admit it, but rather than be inspired by songs of strength and independence I like wallow and commiserate. My all-time favorite song for wallowing would have to be the live at Sin-E version of "Lover You Should Have Come Over" by Jeff Buckley.

  21. "The Letting go" Melissa Etheridge makes me want to cry and scream and vomit all at the same time. Its a crushing tune. "Ashes and Wine" by A Fine Frenzy is pretty heartbreaking as well.

  22. I can't remember who sang it but I think it's called I Saw The Sign
    "I saw the sign
    and it opened up my mind
    and I am happy now
    living without you.
    I've left you.
    Oh. Oh-oh-oh!"

    And also Amy's pick: Kelly Clarkson "Since You Been Gone."

  23. I made a whole mix tape once after my marriage broke up and it was break-up songs.

    Here's most of the list:

    the Sign – Ace of Base
    I will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
    I'm Looking Through You – The Beatles
    It's Too Late – Carole King
    I'm Still Standing – Elton John
    Baby I Can't Please You – Sam Phillips
    Widow's Walk – Suzanne Vega
    I'm Alive – Jackson Browne
    Me Myself I – Joan Armatrading
    Ain't My Bitch – Metallica
    Get out of this House – Shawn Colvin
    Penitent – Suzanne Vega
    I'm Through with Love – Animal Logic
    All That you Have is Your Soul – Tracy Chapman

  24. I'm lucky I guess, because my only difficult break up was really more of a "break", but I listened to to Norah Jones' cover of "Cold cold heart" on repeat over and over again. The lyrics just seemed to fit so perfectly.

  25. fine frenzy's almost lover is really good, as is, dear i say, mariah's old school joint with bone thugs and harmony, 'breakdown' . . . nothing equals gladys knight's classic 'neither one of us' . . . but you only plays these when you're sad to see that m*therf*cker go.

    if you're not, then i agree with tracina on lauren hill's 'lost ones' and 'i used to love him'. how on earth no one mentioned beyonce's 'irreplaceable', i don't know . . . then there's atomic kitten, with 'it's ok', which is a guilty pleasure go-to-hell song. ooooh! floetry's 'mr. messed up' is appropriately kiss-my-ass as well . . .

    and if you're feeling hopeful about getting back together and, well, stalker-like, why not aretha franklin's until you come back to me . . .

    i'm sure i'm forgetting songs . . .

  26. Barenaked Ladies, Break Your Heart:

    What'd you think that I was gonna do,
    Curl up and die just because of you?
    I'm not that weak, you know
    What'd you think that I was gonna do,
    Try to make you love me as much as I love you?
    how could you be so low?
    You arrogant man,
    What do you think that I am?
    My heart will be fine
    Just stop wasting my time.

  27. So who's getting married? Here's my iPod playlist of breakup songs. I'll send you the CD.

    The Mixed Tape – Jack's Mannequin
    She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd
    Unbroken (Hotel Baby)- Monster Magnet
    Misery – Soul Asylum
    No Brains – Sum 41
    Hemmorhage – Fuel
    Splendid Isolation – Pete Yorn
    Rootless Tree – Damien Rice
    Look What You've Done – Jet
    Ruthless – Something Corporate
    Am I Wrong – Love Spit Love
    Never Again – Twintwelve
    My Immortal – Evanescence
    Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy
    Stupid – Sarah McLachlan
    Last Thing – Diana Anaid
    Everything I'm Not – The Veronicas
    My Happy Ending – Avril Lavigne

  28. When my first marriage broke up, I bought Faith Hill's "Cry". I was 8 months pregnant and he let me walk out without a word. Maybe if I'd picked a different anthem to heartbreak that included a nod to my own sense of self-preservation, the next couple of years wouldn't have been so rocky. On the other hand, my current husband, who is as different from me as I can imagine and still hold a relationship together, sang "Somebody" by Depeche Mode to me at our wedding (and did a good job of it too!). Maybe I needed to wallow and stay down for awhile so I would really be ready for the wonder that came next.

  29. Oh, we all forgot "Song for the dumped" by Ben Folds Five.

    Give me my money back, give me my money back you bitch!
    And don't forget –
    To bring me back my black t-shirt!

    Just funny :)

  30. The new song by Pink "So What" has got to be my new favorite song. I'm not going through a break-up but it still makes me want to rock out. I also used to have an "over it" CD as well as a "not so over it" CD. Some songs from those compilations:
    Nothing New- Ashlee Simpson (I know, I know)
    Bathwater & Spiderwebs – No Doubt
    Face to Face- Sevendust
    Bye, Bye – JoDee Messina
    Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood (grossly overplayed, but I still love it)
    So Happy – Theory of a Deadman
    Kiss This- Aaron Tippin
    How am I Doin' – Dierks Bentley

  31. the best break-up songs are any sad song elvis sang after his wife left him….hell, if elvis can be sad then anyone can.

  32. I agree that sometimes broken heart break up songs only make me feel worse. I tend to go for the angry; after my first break up, Broadway-loving, pop-song singing me listening to Papa Roach and Lincoln Park for a week, blasting it and singing at the top of my lungs. Funny, but I love that girl I become when I just let myself be angry.

    After my most recent breakup, I listened to Sarah Bareilles (Not Going to Write You a Love Song and FAIRYTALE!), Rilo Kiley, and Kanye West on constant repeat. I'm much more about songs that make me feel good versus only that help me dwell…dwelling is just dangerous for me!

  33. Well, if you want a really bitter one and want to dwell on it for a bit…here you go "I Don't Want You Back" by Eamon. A bit explicit, but it gets to the heart of it.

  34. B.B. King's "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now" – nothing like the perfect blues song for these sorts of occasions

  35. Anna Begins by the Counting Crows. Adam Duritz KNOWS from breakup songs, he is the king of those types of lyrics, heartbroken, lonely, drinking oneself comatose to forget, all that.

  36. Anna Begins by the Counting Crows. Adam Duritz KNOWS from breakup songs, he is the king of those types of lyrics, heartbroken, lonely, drinking oneself comatose to forget, all that.

  37. "Say hello, wave goodbye"-David Gray
    "Song for the dumped"-Ben Folds Five(yeah, that's an angry one, but I love it anyway)
    "Since I've been loving you"-Led Zepplin(there is just something to get lost in when I hear Page's guitar solo, very comforting in it's realization of insanity)
    "Love is Blindness"-U2
    "I will survive"-CAKE!!!!! Much more male-esque greiving.

    I had a whole CD of this stuff that I needed the last time that I was off with someone, and the songs are still great for getting that taste out of my mouth, even when my new wife and I have a fight. Unlike penecilin, some drugs will always work.

  38. I've been looking for more and more music to get me through a recent breakup. I've had on all the standards, the Smiths, Elvis Costello, Dylan, etc. Also a few newer bands like Iron and Wine, and Mercy by Saint John and the Revelations has been on constant rotation. Probably the best break up album I've heard actually. But these comments definitely have some gems that I'll be getting.

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