So it’s over. You’ve had the long ‘it’s not working anymore’ conversation, that packet of Kleenex is constantly on display and Facebook serves as a painful reminder that sometimes telling the virtual world “SHAME LOSERS, I GOTS A BOYFRIEND!!” inevitably results in “…is now single.” Break-ups are never easy. If they are, Joe Bloggs wasn’t worth the ride and your new found freedom was a long time coming. Sadly - more often than not - you will be upset, the end was unforeseen and Joe Bloggs deserves a good shin-kicking.
Regardless of the circumstance, we all have emotions and we all like to feel emotions; some more powerfully and frequently than others. As much as you want to (and for a short time should) indulge yourself in the likes of James Blunt and Snow Patrol, I hereby order you to intersperse these choices with songs that remind you that actually, you don’t need anybody to look after you. Delete that couples album from your pictures folder, wear your hair how he didn’t like it and tell Phil Collins that to take a look at you now, as you’re finally free.
Mary J Blige - Just Fine.
Okay I cheated a little. This song could make me feel good at any stage in my life but it’s message is particularly effective to those who felt imprisoned before he got the boot. Listen to Mary’s confession that she can walk past the mirror and like what she sees - her life’s just fine - and emulate her pride. She’s happy to be her and you should be happy with you. “Get the best out of life and treat yourself to something new”, be it a replacement for ‘Bloggs, a new pair of shoes or a night out to drink and dance and drink some more. The reigns have gone and you can do whatever you please.
Alanis Morissette - You Oughtta Know.
…and Avril Lavigne thought she had angst. She does actually, and we‘ll explore that another day. But first, Alanis. A song that was absolutely essential on this compilation for it’s unforgiving undercurrent of “fuck you” that serves as a warning to any future man that you should never hurt a girl with a guitar. Listening to this song when he’s gone off with that-random-whore will make you feel ten times better and that’s a guarantee. Nobody deserves to be immediately replaced/practically cheated on and if that’s the case you should sing this at the top of your lungs and rejoice in the anger. You deserve to feel vexed and he needs to know he hurt you, and that isn’t right.
Jessie J - Nobody’s Perfect.
In this scenario, he’s not quite the one to blame and maybe you’ve made a mistake that ended in this mess. Jessie’s here to tell you that whilst karma might’ve come back around, nobody’s perfect and you’ve learnt your lesson. If you’re passionately sorry you can empathise with her as the girl can sing with feeling and hopefully her carefully written lyrics will inspire you to not torture yourself too much. There’s a rumour going around that if somebody really does love you, they’ll forgive your mistakes. If they don’t, you deserve somebody with a little more understanding… Nobody’s perfect.
Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.
An unconventional choice sung by a man. What can I say; I’m just that edgy. Lazy irony aside, this is a heartfelt song that contains some biting snaps at an ex-lover. Love in this case grew stale quicker than beside table-bound biscuits and you’d rather forget the whole thing happened. “I’ll find someone who’s not going cheap in the sales” and “take your hands off me, I don’t belong to you, you see” though cold and direct, are effective in affirming your desire to be rid of this emotional burden. It’s implied that he/she wasn’t quite what was expected and Marc sings your right to be free. So don’t feel guilty and remember that time is precious when spent with the right people.
Shane Mack - Hurt You Like Me.
I absolutely adore this song! Clever innuendo and bitter vocal delivery combine to leave you feeling like Joan of Arc before the stake incident. Shane is cross and he’s inviting you to join him. It’s a fun song but you can almost taste the sour rejection in your mouth as he punches his way through those feisty 3 minutes.
George Michael - Faith.
The hook says it all; you’ve got to have faith. Whilst this shouldn’t strictly qualify as a ‘break-up’ song I think you can take solace in the title. You have got to have faith that one day you’ll find Mr Right and if you’re anything like George you’ve got to shake your backside in levi’s before you get there.
Stacie Orrico - I’m Not Missing You.
A cheery song with a clear message: you’re not back on the market because you’d rather not be. Going from relationship to relationship doesn’t do much good in the long run and if you’re a girl who knows this from experience, you’ve got a friend in Stacie. This is your time to shine and yet another break-up has resulted in you realising that at the moment “I guess love would be nice for someone else’s life.” You’ve got life to do, so don your best smile and hold your head up high.
Madonna - The Power Of Goodbye.
Less up-tempo and more the mature voice of a woman scorned. You’ve learnt your lesson and you realise sometimes it‘s going nowhere and it‘d be best if you just left. Madonna’s gothic phase (which suited her, personally) was full of wisdom and poise. It’s not particularly pro-feminist or trying to instil a false sense of euphoria but instead the slow rhythms leave you feeling relaxed, content and ‘correct’. There’s no greater power than the power of goodbye and you were the strong lady that recognised this.
I could go on and on because I imagine love has been the most predominant theme in music since the dawn of time. The largely female bias has an obvious explanation and I purposefully varied the idea conveyed in each track chosen. No two relationships are the same, no two break-ups are the same and more importantly, no two people are the same. You’re unique and you should love yourself because you’re all you’ve got. Remember that it’ll be okay in the end, as if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.