Maybe it’s because the Scottish Summer is all but over and there’s a definite cooling in the air as autumn looms, that all has not been fair recently in love and war. There’s been a serious spate of break-ups around me in the past few weeks, including my very own – collective awwww. Instead of lying around in a pool of my own tears watching Patrick Swayze whisk Baby off into a dancing frenzy – that joy is still to come – I’ve decided that the best way forward is to compile a list of songs to get myself and all you broken hearted sops through each stage of the break-up process.
So wherever you are in your break-up at the moment – be it right at the gates of stage one and full force denial, or being well on the way to dancing all over the memories of your ex – this is for you. Let me know if you have a better mix tape – this is, after all, a list that has been compiled from my personal perspective. I’d love to hear your alternative choices.
Stage 1 – Denial
Songs of choice – Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye
Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
Somewhere between Marvin Gaye singing,
I know that a man ain’t supposed to cry/ but these tears I can’t hold inside./ Losin’ you would end my life you see,/ cause you mean that much to me.
and the Goo Goo Dolls going on about, giving up forever to touch you… there’s a person – i.e. me! – having what may seem like the nervous breakdown to end all others. Denial ain’t no river in Egypt. It’s a full force slap to your face trying to convince you that your Romeo or Juliet hasn’t flew the coup forever. Hunker down, stay away from your phone and the temptation of texting, tweeting, facebook-ing or phoning your ex and put your playlist on LOUD.
Stage 2 – Heartbreak
Songs of choice – It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
Black, Pearl Jam
The heartbreak phase comes hot on the heels to denial, sometimes these stages act in tandem, forcing you into a lovelorn meltdown. Heartbreak is good though because it means you’re past the first stage and well on your way to recovery. Roxette’s 1990 hit will have you reaching for the Kleenex all over again whilst the rock/alternate version to this – Pearl Jam’s Black – will have similar effects. Whether it be singing,
‘It must have been love, but it’s over now,’
into your hairbrush or strumming your guitar along to the final third of Black with Eddie and the lines,
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, can’t it be mine?/
give it your all, because your mood is about to shift dramatically.
Stage 3 – Anger
Songs of choice – Song for the Dumped, Ben Folds Five
You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette
It doesn’t matter if it was the most amicable break-up on the planet or if you’re taking it like Taylor Swift with a sledgehammer would. The anger phase is coming. Two of the best songs for flexing those short fuses are Ben Folds Five, Song for the Dumped and Alanis Morissette’s 1995 track, You Oughta Know. Whilst the former opts for the gentler lyrics of,
So you wanted to take a break,/ Slow it down some and have some space/ Well fuck you too. Give me my money back/ Give me my money back you bitch/ I want my money back/ (And don’t forget to give me back my black t-shirt)
Morissette pitches in with a subtler bargaining chip,
It was a slap in the face/ how quickly I was replaced/ are you thinking of me when you fuck her?
Classy to the end, I think you’ll agree.
Stage 4 – Depression
Songs of choice – Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye feat Kimbra
A Case of You, Joni Mitchell
Just when you thought the Kleenex were gone for good, a heavy bout of depression may come along to knock you right back off your feet and into the arms of Patrick Swayze wooing Jennifer Grey all over again (men must be particularly cautious of this happening!) Gotye’s recent chart hit will lull you back into a sense of bereavement as he sings,
‘Now and then I think of when we were together/ Like when you said you felt so happy you could die/ Told myself that you were right for me/ But felt so lonely in your company/ But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember.’
Bringing the house down on this final act of grief has to be Joni’s sublime track from her classic album, Blue. Reminiscing over a couple of bottles of Rose never done any harm to anyone, isn’t that right Joni?
‘Just before our love got lost you said/ “I am as constant as a northern star”/ And I said “Constantly in the darkness/ Where’s that at?/ If you want me I’ll be in the bar”’
Get the drinks in, the next stage is coming.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
Songs of choice – It’ll All Work Out, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Someone Like You, Adele
The grieving is over – hurrah! It’s time to accept the time you had with your ex-partner, flaws and all, and move on. Tom Petty has some wise words to say on the matter,
‘It’ll all work out eventually/ Better off with him than here with me/ It’ll all work out eventually/ Maybe better off with him than here with me’
But even if you aren’t quite thinking that the love you lost can happily walk into the distance with that beautiful or handsome stranger Adele is right on cue to tell you it’ll all be fine.
‘Never mind, I’ll find someone like you/ I wish nothing but the best for you too.’
Stage 6 – Empowerment
Songs of choice – Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
If any band knows a thing or two about rocky romance, lust, cheating and the fall out that comes after it all, it’s Fleetwood Mac. The revolving door of break ups and make ups was relentless at one point for the band so if anyone is going to sing you through this stage, it’s only right that it should be them.
Then of course there’s Ms Gaynor and her disco classic. Strewn across many a wrecked dance floor, heartbroken men and women across the world have chanted this song like the mantra it is. Unite! Stand alone… together! And sing!
‘It took all the strength I had/ not to fall apart/ kept trying hard to mend/ the pieces of my broken heart/ and I spent oh so many nights/ just feeling sorry for myself/ I used to cry/ But now I hold my head up high.’
Stage 7 – Finding Love Again
Songs of choice – Is This Love, Whitesnake
Love Walked In, Thunder
You’ve been through the wringer and you’re out the other end. Whether you’re tearing up the dance floor or charming the pants off the ladies with you witty one liner’s you’re in for a surprise. Boom! – Someone walks through the door to knock you right back off your feet and into your old, smitten ways. There’s no greater feeling than those initial stages of lust and longing. So it’s only right that the two songs of choice should be from two great classic rock bands. Firstly, the legend that is Mr David Coverdale – a man who has men and women swooning over his haircut alone –
‘Is this love that I’m feeling/ Is this the love that I’ve been searching for/ Is this love or am I dreaming/ This must be love/ ‘Cos it’s really got a hold on me.’
Then of course there’s Thunder with Love Walked In, a straight up, rock song about falling madly in love just when you thought despair was your only friend,
‘That’s when love walked in through my door/ That familiar feeling I had once before./ love walked in through my door/ And it felt so strange.’
Wherever you are in the process – from love’s young dream to crying your eyes out over a tub of Ben & Jerry’s – I hope you find the soundtrack to ease your pain and get you back in your dancing shoes. Special mention has to go to the following tracks also…
The Tracks of my Tears, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division
I Want You Back, Jackson 5
Love is a Losing Game, Amy Winehouse
Don’t Look Back, She & Him
These Boots are Made for Walking, Nancy Sinatra
It’s a real possibility that there will also be repetition of certain stages. This can be fun, depending on the stage – especially if it’s anger as it’s the most fun to sing along to. Be warned though, for every classic break-up track there’s a pop track that’s a step too far – see James Blunt/Daniel Bedingfield/Shania Twain and their entire back catalogues. I mean, c’mon, I want you to get over the break up not wallow in a pit of despair over it for the rest of your lives.