Perhaps to counteract the general loveliness of my life, I tend to gravitate toward music that revels in the tragic. I spend way too much time making playlists (and forcing mix CDs onto people—sorry, everybody), and my most carefully cultivated mix is titled “Angst and Breakups.” I like songs where I can hear the singer’s voice break, and the chorus feels like it’s punching me in the guts. I don’t care if the song is literally about a failing relationship (bonus points if it is), but if it sounds like things are falling apart, I want to hear it.
With these criteria in mind, I’ve picked 5 breakup jams to “celebrate” the end of the week and to remind you that love’s labors are usually lost.
In no particular order, culled from a long, long, list:
1. Song: Jolene
Artist: Ray LaMontagne
Key Line: “It’s been so long since I’ve seen your face, or felt a part of the human race. I’ve been living out of this here suitcase for way too long.”
Notes: Even the happy songs on this album feel like breakup songs—this is probably why I love Trouble so much.
2. Song: Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Key Line: “I am armed with the past, and the will, and a brick. I might not want you back, but I want to kill him.”
Notes: This entire album, The Midnight Organ Fight, is breakup song GOLD. Try “Poke” if you really want to wallow.
3. Song: Come Pick Me Up
Artist: Ryan Adams
Key Line: “I wish you’d make up my bed so I can make up my mind.”
Notes: This is an obvious pick, but come on. If you looking for a real heart-shredding breakup jam, this is it.
4. Song: Cold Fame
Artist: Band of Skulls
Key Line: “Nothing hurts like an answered phone. Drinking some, waking up alone.”
Notes: Stick around for the turn at 4:53.
5. Song: 85
Artist: Rilo Kiley
Key Line: “I’m just of real sad folk. ’85 was our best year. And she says it gets much worse, before it gets any better.”
Notes: The saddest thing about this song is that I never got to see Rilo live before they broke up.